**This post contains some graphic language and content**
“While Israel lived in Shittim, the people began to whore with the daughters of Moab. These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel. And the LORD said to Moses, “Take all the chiefs of the people and hang them in the sun before the LORD, that the fierce anger of the LORD may turn away from Israel.” And Moses said to the judges of Israel, “Each of you kill those of his men who have yoked themselves to Baal of Peor.” And behold, 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 of the people of Israel, while they were weeping in the entrance of the tent of meeting. When Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, 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. Thus the plague on the people of Israel was stopped. Nevertheless, those who died by the plague were twenty-four thousand. The LORD said to Moses, Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, has turned my anger away from the Israelites; for he was as zealous as I am for my honor among them, so that in my zeal I did not put an end to them.” Number 25:1-11
Ah, yes. What a beautiful passage to begin your day with. Perhaps I will make it into a beautiful graphic so that you can pin it on Pinterest!?
Here is the backstory. God has brought the Israelites out of their slavery in Egypt and they are wandering in the desert, waiting to inherit their Promised Land. Their unbelief in God kept them wandering for forty years. So, before the forty years was up, as the nation of Israel was about to be reconstituted in preparation for receiving its inheritance, the men start whoring with the Moabite women which eventually leads to them bowing down and worshipping, literally “yoking themselves,” to the god of these women, Baal of Peor. God becomes rightfully angry at their blatant disregard of the commandments that He gave the people and sends a plague on them, while telling Moses that the men in charge would need to be killed and their bodies put on display to remind Israel of the jealousy of their God. Meanwhile, people are dying of plague left and right. As Moses and the entire nation are weeping and mourning right at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting (where the presence of God resided as a pillar of cloud), some guy brings a Midianite woman back to the camp right in front of them all and takes her into his tent (Matthew Henry’s commentary says that the word alludes to the tent being a place actually set up for lewdness). Phinehas gets so angry, so zealous for the LORD’s honor, that he follows the man in and spears them both.
If you are a believer, as God’s chosen daughter, he has called you to holiness. But even though God’s love and provision is so obvious and evident in our lives, we have tendencies to wander and go “whoring” ourselves to things that we know we shouldn’t. Subtle flirtation with inappropriate living turns into outright sin, which in time turns our worship away from God and sees us bowing down toward false “idols.” Things get even more dangerous when the sin starts to include more and more believers, excusing each other’s behavior and joining right along, pretending like God’s standards of living don’t matter anymore. Then we can get so comfortable that we’ll begin to flaunt our sin, right out in the open for all to see. The sin becomes a cancer to us, a plague hindering us from receiving our inheritance, our Promised Land. Our faithful God will send us warnings and leave us with two choices: ignore His instruction and let the plague kill us off, or get some godly zeal and kill the source. Drive a spear through it’s belly. Defend His honor.
Do you recognize sin in your life and run toward it with a weapon? He’s provided you with the best one available, “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph 6:17). Or, do you sit back and let the stinky life that God doesn’t want for you yoke you to junk? Are you brave enough to be the one woman in the assembly who says, “not in my house!” Or are you cool with the status quo? Because of our good man Phin’s zeal for God, he was blessed, those around him were blessed, and his descendants were blessed with a “covenant of a lasting priesthood” (v. 13) which was made complete in Christ. In Psalm 106:31, we see that “This was credited to him (Phinehas) as righteousness for endless generations to come.”
So, Miss Spears, can you think of some areas of your life that could use a righteous mortal wound? Be brave in heart with these words from 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” You aren’t alone, girlfriend, you’ve got divine power at your fingertips. Put some sin to death as you delight in the knowledge that God has reconstituted you in preparation for your beautiful inheritance, your Promised Land.
O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be! Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee. Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love; here’s my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.