Today’s passage: Numbers 25
- On the heels of reading about God’s intervention to protect Israel from the cursing of her enemies, we read of Israel worshipping other gods and committing other sinful acts against the one true God.
- Because the Israelite who brought the Midianite princess home to marry was a tribal head, there is evidence of an attempt to merge the people groups (A politically uniting marriage). This was a full scale rebellion against God.
- That the man brought this woman home “in the sight of” Moses and all the people means it was sin done “with a high hand.” They knew exactly what they were doing and they wanted everyone to see it. They were making a statement.
- Phinehas quick action halted a plague that had already killed 24,000 people. Halting plagues of judgment ran in his family (Numbers 16:46-50). The priestly line existed to intercede for the people with God.
- What might have looked like a rash, hasty and even cruel action was in truth the very thing that prevented thousands more from perishing.
- God is holy and just. He hates sin. We greatly err when we take his grace and longsuffering for granted.
Questions to consider:
- What aspects of this narrative are truly shocking? What was Israel doing? How did God respond? What did it take to stop the rebellion and God’s judgment? How many people died?
- Had Phineas been scared to hurt that family’s feelings, what would have happened to the rest of Israel (In theory)? While we haven’t been told to throw a spear through the bodies of people who are in sin (Don’t do that!), what has God commanded us to do (Matthew 18:15-20, 1 Corinthians 5:1-2, Galatians 6:1, Ephesians 4:15-16)?
- The previous generation of Israel all died in the wilderness because of their unbelief and refusal to follow God. Was the generation who was about to enter the Promised Land superior to their parents? Why did they “get in” (Deuteronomy 9:5)? What inheritance has God promised to you once your “journey” is done? Upon whose goodness and faithfulness is that promised based (John 14:1-6)?