Numbers 25:1-18, vs. “10 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 11 “Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned back My wrath from the children of Israel, because he was zealous with My zeal among them, so that I did not consume the children of Israel in My zeal. 12 Therefore say, ‘Behold, I give to him My covenant of peace; 13 and it shall be to him and his descendants after him a covenant of an everlasting priesthood,because he was zealous for his God, and made atonement for the children of Israel.’”
Recently I penned a number of messages from the book of Numbers 21 dealing with the bronze serpent (Title: Killing Serpents, Delivering Savior), and Numbers 22-24 dealing with Balaam (Title: Who is standing on your way?) As I continued to read through Numbers 25, something struck me from this passage in line with a recent conference I will mention in the message.
After Balaak the king of Moab could not get Balaam to curse God’s people because God would not let him, the Moabites came up with a strategy to entice the Israelites to sin against God. The Midianites also bought into this strategy because of its effectiveness. Numbers 25:1, reads, “Now Israel remained in Acacia Grove, and the people began to commit harlotry with the women of Moab” and how did the Moabite and the Midianite women do this?, vs. “2 They invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. 3 So Israel was joined to Baal of Peor, and the anger of the LORD was aroused against Israel”. The biggest sin here was idolatry because it opened doors to other sins. The local Moabite and Midianite women enticed many of the men to join them in sexual rituals in worship of Canaanite god Baal. Not that they abandoned God, they mixed Him in with the other gods, something Elijah also had to deal with at a later time.
And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel; for no sin is more provoking to God than idolatry, that being so directly opposite to his nature, honor, and glory, as well as to His will and worship. In the midst of this perverse act of the Israelites, the Lord was fed up and at His command ordered Moses to execute all the leaders of those people who had taken part in the rituals. While the command was given, a man by the name of Zimri walked by with a Midianite woman past all the leaders including Moses, past those who were wailing perhaps in repentance and went in to a tent to sleep with her.
We must understand a little bit about Zimri, a man who defied all the leaders to do such acts in the presence of everybody. We are not told exactly of who he was until later in vs.“14 Now the name of the Israelite who was killed, who was killed with the Midianite woman, was Zimri the son of Salu, a leader of a father’s house among the Simeonites.” Zimri was a leader, and more than that as the Matthew Henry the commentator writes, he was a prince of some sought perhaps having been appointed by Moses to be captain over 100 or over a 1,000.
His act led another man to do something, Numbers 25:7-8, “7 Now when Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose from among the congregation and took a javelin in his hand; 8 and he went after the man of Israel into the tent and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her body. So the plague was stopped among the children of Israel”
What drives a man to take such drastic action that would be condemned by anyone but Phinehas the son Eleazer? Phineas was Aaron’s grandson a priest having come from the lineage of priests. What drove him to act the way he did?, simple the zeal for God. He saw the perversion, he received the command and with readiness, he acted because God’s great name was on the line. While others may have been slow to act including Moses, something was boiling inside Phinehas perhaps remembering what happened to his two uncles Nadab and Abihu who offered strange fire before God and God consumed them, (Leviticus 10) and realized God’s name, His doctrine, His worship will not be mocked. To continue, Blessings Ev