“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. Therefore say, ‘Behold, I give to him My covenant of peace” Numbers 25:11-12
Phinehas emerges from the tent of meeting with the blood of two people on his hands. Sin had entered the camp of God’s people through foreign marriages that led the people to worship the false gods of the region. Their action, combined with the accompanying sexual sins brought severe judgment upon the fledgling nation. All who were involved had to be killed immediately. (The penalty for sin is terrible indeed.)
The unthinkable happened as the people mourned over their sin. A man from their own people presented a foreign woman before Moses in the great gathering. Details of the illicit union of the man and woman are not important because the divine reaction is obvious. A plague broke out and was speedily raking across the nation; killing the people.
The couple was taking part in the same sensual sins for which the entire country was already suffering, but they refused to stop.
As the religious leaders only sat and watched, Phinehas stood to his feet. His eyes were coldly fixed upon the perpetrators with a sharp javelin held in his white-knuckled fists. He had had enough. Theirs was the highest treason against God. Thousands of his own people were dying because of their sin and he would not allow it to continue. He would not let it destroy all of Israel. There would be no tolerance for the presence of their sin. It had to be removed immediately… even if it was not the approved behavior for a “priest.”
Phinehas charged at the couple responsible for the continued calamity. They fled in fear to the place of worship for shelter, but sin is sin no matter where it is hiding. It was there, while they trembled in the corner that Phinehas skewered them with his ready javelin.
The young priest ruthlessly dealt with the source of the problem. The result was the turning away of God’s judgment.
God dealt with Israel corporately. The guilt of one person was shared by all. But through Jesus, He now deals with us individually; “whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). Peace with God is only available through Jesus and each person is held accountable for their response to what God has provided through Him. The gift of peace is now personalized. The sins of one person may affect the lives of others, but no single person can be blamed for the decision or indecision of another. Each person must respond to their own sin and cry out for God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Phinehas saw that a plague was overtaking Israel because of their continued sin and he took action. God’s peace has always rested on those who have understood how to take action against sin.
I like what the American Evangelist Billy Sunday once said. “I’m against sin. I’ll kick it as long as I’ve got a foot, and I’ll fight it as long as I’ve got a fist. I’ll butt it as long as I’ve got a head. I’ll bite it as long as I’ve got a tooth. And when I’m old and fistless and footless and toothless, I’ll gum it till I go home to Glory and it goes home to perdition!” However, we have a priest who can assist us in the fight.
The God of the Bible is known as “the God of peace” because He is interested in every person having peace in their life. It is God’s desire for every person to be free from sin and to have peace with God in their heart. Only Jesus (the Prince of Peace) is able to pardon every sin and establish peace with God.
As Phinehas was determined that there would be no sin in among the people, let us watch over our own lives. Love Jesus and despise sin.
Enough is enough. Don’t allow sin to continue in your life.
Jason is founder and evangelist for The Nations Hope and lead pastor of Life Tree Church in San Jose, California. He talks a lot.
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