December 17th

 

Zeal of the Lord

6And indeed, one of the children of Israel came and presented to his brethren a Midianite woman in the sight of Moses and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. 7Now 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; 8and 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. 9And those who died in the plague were twenty-four thousand.  10Then 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. 12Therefore say, "Behold, I give to him My covenant of peace; 13and 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."'   Numbers 25:6-13 NKJV 

This story gives us a picture of true zeal for the Lord.  Phinehas surprised everyone when he thrust the fornicators through with a javelin during the assembly.  This happened in the middle of a major rebellion against God via idolatry and harlotry with the Moabite and Midianites.  God had unleashed a plague as judgment against the people, and Phinehasí actions made atonement for the peoplesí sin and stopped the plague. 

Phinehas was acting with pure motives, as his actions persuaded God to stop the punishment of the people.  God explained to Moses that Phinehas had ďMy zealĒ (11) and because of that God did not consume the people with the plague.  Phinehas acted as an agent of Godís judgment by administering the death penalty prescribed for fornication in the Law (Leviticus 18).   Not only did God stop the plague, but he also rewarded Phinehas with an everlasting covenant of peace. 

I think we can draw an application from this story to our own situations in the fight against sin.  I believe Phinehas had a glimpse of sin from Godís perspective.  He was repulsed by it and consumed by the zeal of the Lord, which called him to action.  While the people were sitting around weeping, Phinehas took decisive action to stop the sin.  We too can seek Godís perspective on the sin in our lives. We can seek his zeal and put our sinful desires to death.  Just as Phinehas thrust the fornicators through, so we can thrust the desires for sin through that plague us.  For example, during the years I have been free of sex addiction, Iíve had many reminders of the sinful things I used to look at and/or do.  Many times Iíve had to forcibly stop my mind from thinking about the memories and formerly-cherished sin.  I had to put them to death each time I was tempted to return to them.  My track record in quarantining the thoughts wasnít perfect, but by relying on the Holy Spiritís strength, repenting if I failed and not giving up, I was able to break the old patterns of evil thoughts.  I believe others can have the same success, as the Holy Spirit freely helps those who invite him to. 

No matter how enslaved to sin we may be, we still have the power to choose our actions.  After giving in repeatedly, deciding to stop may seem difficult, but with Godís help we can make the changes!  Some people may feel totally non-zealous for God right now, especially if theyíre feeling condemned and convinced by the devil that they canít approach God because of their sin.  Jesus paid the penalty for our sin so that we can approach God and receive forgiveness for our sin and power to live a new life.   We already have an everlasting covenant of peace with him through Jesus!

Romans 8:13 says that by the Holy Spirit we are able to put the sinful deeds of the flesh to death.  If we believe in Jesus Christ and believe that we have his power working in through us, we will have the power.  It is then up to us to step out in faith and close the open doors in our lives to the pet sins.   

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:

ďLord God in heaven, thank you for the promise of the Holy Spirit that is mine through my faith in Jesus.  Please forgive me for allowing sin in my life which may have dampened my zeal for you.   If there is any sin that I have not confessed, I confess it now to you and repent from it: ______________ .   Please cleanse my heart and mind with the blood of Jesus.  Please restore a pure heart and a right spirit within me.  I invite your Holy Spirit to fill me afresh with your zeal and restore my convictions toward sin, righteousness and judgment.  I yield myself to you today as a vessel for your purposes and not for sin.  I praise you now and forever, Amen.Ē