About Jesus    Steve Sweetman

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Chapter 25

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Moab Seduces Israel (ch. 25:1 - 18)


Chapter 25 shows once again the frailty of Israel , even in the midst of God's blessings.  God could have allowed Balaam to curse Israel, but He didn't. Now the men of Israel stray from obeying God again.  In verses 1 and 2 the Israeli men commit two sins.


The two sins that plague Israel over and over again throughout history are worshipping other gods and uniting themselves sexually with women from pagan nations.  We see this happening right here.  Just before the men of Israel are about to enter the land the God promised them, they commit adultery with Moabite women.  This adultery is a two fold sin.  First adultery is wrong, and then, adultery with pagan women is twice as wrong, if you can say it that way. 


Beyond the adultery, the women got these Israeli men to enter into pagan worship with them, a sin that is probably worse in the eyes of God than the adultery. 


One thing that we should note is that all pagan civilizations incorporated sex in their worship of their gods.  From the very beginning man has been  mixing religion with sex, and still do.  As a side note, anyone who has ever heard any of Leonard Cohen songs, will notice that he mixes sex and religion a lot in his lyrics.  He views sex as a spiritual experience, and in one sense of the word he is right. 


In verse 3 we note that these Israeli men worshipped the Canaanite god known as Baal when they were with these women.   This god was the supreme god of all the Canaanite gods.  He was the god of fertility, thus the sexuality that went along with Baal worship.  The name Baal means, "lord, possessor, owner, or husband.  Note the connection between the word "husband" and the word "owner".  In all these pagan civilizations, the wife was the possession of the husband.


In verse 4 God responds with "fierce" anger.  He tells Moses to have all the Israeli leaders killed in front of Him so His fierce anger will be turned away.  It appears that one way for God's anger to be soften is for Him to express anger, and that He certainly did here.  People often do not acknowledge that God can be angry, and for those who do acknowledge it, they don't understand why God gets so angry.  The simple answer is that God hates sin, and He does nothing in half-way measures.  When He expresses love it is to the fullest, and the same with anger.  If we could understand how God hates sin, we might sin less.   I do say "might", because you would think by now that Israel would understand how God feels about sin, but they keep straying from their God, time and time again.


In verse 5 we see that Moses had the judges of Israel find the men who committed the sin.  It was their job to kill these men.  This is a drastic measure, but this does show us how much God hates disobedience. 


In verses 6 to 10 we see a very disturbing incident.  This event is one of many events that critics of the Bible say the Bible is a very violent book, and in places it is.  If you made a movie out of the Bible and did not edit it, it would be a triple X and R rated movie.  The Bible does not hide sin and any disturbing events.


One Israeli man had the nerve to bring a Midianite woman, that's one of the races in Canaan , before Moses.  He seemed to be showing her off in front of everyone.  Aarons grandson, a priest, was so upset that he found a sword and stabbed both the man and the Midianite woman.  Verse 9 says that only then, was the plague stopped.  This is the first mention of a plague due to this incident.  Twenty four thousand Israelis died.  This was one bad plague.


We note that the plague ended with the death of this man and his adulterous woman.  In the very beginning, God told Adam that in the day he sinned, he would die.  The book of Romans, along with the rest of the Bible, clearly states that death and sin are link.  They are linked in many ways.  Sin produces death, but as in this case, death ended God's wrath, as also can be seen in the cross of Christ.


In verses 10 and 11 God commends Phinehas for killing this man and his adulterous woman.  God said that he had the same zeal for His honour as He does.   We learn a couple of things here.  One thing we learn is that God has zeal, and He commends us when we have the same zeal.  As Christians, we should share all the feelings of God.  If God is angry with sin, so should we be.  If He loves, so should we. 


The second thing we learn is that God places a high priority on "His honor", and so should we.  The adultery the Israeli men were committing was bad, but worshipping other gods does not show honor to the nations of the world.  This is what really bothers God, and I say that it still bothers Him today.  If as Christians, or the church, fail to honour God as we should, He is very displeased.   There are many ways in which we fail to show that we honour God to the world.  One way is promoting ourselves over Him.  Another way is to not share the way He feels.  When this happens our actions show that we do not honour Him.  I would dare say that one of the biggest problems the church has today is its lack of honour to the God we claim to serve. 


God relates zeal to honour in this passage.  The two are clearly linked.  If we share God's passion, we honour Him.  If we don't share His passion, we don't honour Him as we should.


Verses 13 and 14 are very interesting.  God was so pleased with Phinehas that He  made a "covenant of peace" with him and his descendents.  Note that this covenant was not just with Phinehas, but with those in his lineage that came after him.  This covenant concerned a "lasting priesthood" because he made atonement for Israel.  I believe this has strong prophetic meaning. 


First note the word "lasting".   This is not a temporary priesthood.  This is a lasting, or eternal priesthood.  I believe that when God uses the word "lasting" He means just that forever.  I see Phinehas as a type of Jesus, especially when Phinehas's act of violence is seen as an act of atonement in the mind of God. The most violent act of atonement was seen on the cross of Christ.  As Phinehas drove the spear through the body of the Israeli man and the Midianite woman, so God did the same to Jesus.  Once again, we see the association with death and sin, both in this incidence and the cross of Christ.  The supreme act of violence seen on the cross has turned God's anger away from those who have embraced the cross as their sacrifice for sin. 


Phinehas' stabbing the man and woman with his sword reminds me of the Roman soldier who stabbed Jesus with his sword while Jesus hung on the cross.  I really do believe this Old Testament incident is a type of Jesus, is prophetic of Jesus.  


In verses 15 and 16 we see the names of the Israeli man and the Midianite woman who were killed.  For all of human history this man is known for his sin. 


In verse 16 God told Moses to treat the Midianites as enemies.  God does have enemies.  Not everyone is a friend of God no matter how socially incorrect that is.


The reason for the Midianites should be seen as enemies is because the Israeli men were tricked by the Midianite women to commit adultery with them.  This was more than just a slip into temptation.  It was a means by the Midinaites to seduce Israel to turn from their God and join forces with them.  The whole idea is to intermarry, mix together, all become one big happy family.  We see this over and over again in Old Testament Jewish history. As a side note, the anti-christ will do the same to Israel at the end of this age.


The devil uses the same trick today with Christians.  He tries to trick us, deceive us,  infiltrate our ranks, in order to cause us to lose our zeal and join his ranks.  He can be very subtle at times, and many are deceived and following him without really knowing it. 

Next Section - Chapter  26

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