February 16, 2023
“The Lord spoke to Moses, 'Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the Israelites because he was zealous among them with My zeal...'”
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“The Lord spoke to Moses, ‘Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the Israelites because he was zealous among them with My zeal, so that I did not destroy the Israelites in My zeal. Therefore, I grant him My covenant of peace. It will be a covenant of perpetual priesthood for him and his descendants because he was zealous for his God and made atonement for the Israelites.’” Numbers 25:10-13
I find it interesting how the enemy of Israel summoned a foreign prophet to curse Israel, but they were unsuccessful because the Lord would not allow Israel to be cursed. The end of chapter 24 has Balaam and Balak going their own ways, frustrated over God’s blessing of Israel, despite their attempts.
Of course, all of this plotting was taking place outside of Israel’s awareness. Perhaps, more interesting is how (unaware of Balaam & Balak) the men of Israel were doing a fine job of cursing themselves! Their enemies were wondering where Israel’s weakness was, and Israel was engaging in open sexual sin with the women of Moab. In today’s chapter, the Bible exposes that Israel’s sexual sin was itself Baal worship.
Lesson: Israel’s enemy is not from among the Nations. The enemy of God’s children is Satan. This also applies to His children in Messiah, Jesus.
“For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.” Ephesians 6:12
Make no doubt: Spiritual forces affect human attitudes and actions. But where men will give up the fight, the “enemy” never relents. Balak & Balaam walk away confused and defeated, but Satan entices the men of Israel with the oldest trick in the book.
Were it not for the zealousness of Phinehas, grandson of Aaron, God’s wrath would have destroyed Israel.
Often, we compartmentalize our lives. We have individual compartments for work, family, religion, etc. When we say we give our lives completely to God, we often mean we give Him “all” of that particular compartment, which bears His label.
God is jealous to consume ALL of your life, and we should be zealous to drive sin out of our own lives. Whether our sin is hidden or openly flaunted, we should respond as Phinehas and purge that sin from our midst.
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©Steve Wiggins 2021