Numbers 25

Numbers 25 is a very strong story of God’s wrath.  “The people began to whore with the daughters of Moab”.  In other words, they were playing loose and free with God’s commandments.  Their personal desires and satisfaction became more important than their obedience to God.  “The people ate and bowed down to their gods….Israel yoked himself to Baal”.  By their willingness to shack up with women from a godless people, they were pulling themselves away from God.  Things do get in the way of our walk with God.  It matters who we hang out with and how we live.

The result of those very poor choices was severe.  “The anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel”.  That isn’t where you want to be – on the other side of the table from God.  He tells Moses to “Take all the chiefs of the people and hang them in the sun before the Lord”.  God is serious.  He is never willing to have us put anything else in His place.  Idols or foreign Gods are never ok.  Moses has the leaders kill every man who had yoked himself with a Midianite woman.  Not just confront and rebuke, but kill.  Then “the fierce anger of the Lord may turn away from Israel”.

Everyone was at the tent of meeting mourning what was happening when “one of the people of Israel came and brought a Midianite woman to his family, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of the whole congregation”.  Can you spell blatant disregard for God’s command here?  This guy is either oblivious to what is happening or so full of himself that he doesn’t really think any of it applies to him.  So he just brings the woman right into town in front of everyone.  “Phinehas the son of Eleazar….saw it, he rose and left the congregation and took a spear in his hand and went after the man of Israel into the chamber and pierced both of them, the man of Israel and the woman through her belly”.  Seems pretty bold, and some would say even cruel, doesn’t it?

But because of his actions, “the plague on the people of Israel was stopped”.  You see, this sin had set a plague free that was killing the Israelites.  And while Moses and Phineas and the other priests were at the temple interceding with all the people, this guy just ignores it all focused completely on himself.  The fact is “those who died by the plague were twenty-four thousand”.  By the time Phineas took action, God’s wrath had already spread.  God told Moses, and the people that Phineas “was jealous with my jealousy….he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the people of Israel”.  His actions saved the people, as extreme as they may seem.  Sin matters to God.  We need to be sure we are focused on on what we want, but what God demands.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: