And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24
This past week I’ve been preparing to teach a Sunday School class with pre-assigned scripture references. Usually, I create my own curriculum, but I am willing to follow their format and have been working on it for several days. I’ve re-read the scriptures over and over numerous times. Still, in every reading, one verse caught my attention. It’s been like a speed bump in my road.
Two days ago, Holy Spirit stopped me at the speed bump and asked me to do some digging. Here is the verse in context:
Deuteronomy 4:1-4 “And now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the rules that I am teaching you, and do them, that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, is giving you. 2 You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you. 3 Your eyes have seen what the Lord did at Baal-Peor, for the Lord your God destroyed from among you all the men who followed the Baal of Peor. 4 But you who held fast to the Lord your God are all alive today.
That third verse—I had to go back and see what Moses was asking the Israelites to remember. ‘Baal Peor,’ what is this all about?
What Happened at Baal Peor?
Numbers 25:1-5 While Israel lived in Shittim, the people began to whore with the daughters of Moab. 2 These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. 3 So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel. 4 And the Lord said to Moses, “Take all the chiefs of the people and hangthem in the sun before the Lord, that the fierce anger of the Lord may turn away from Israel.” 5 And Moses said to the judges of Israel, “Each of you kill those of his men who have yoked themselves to Baal of Peor.”
God hates idolatry. He hates it. He does everything to eradicate it over and over through the Old Testament and the New. Remember Ananias and Sapphira? They didn’t worship a graven image, they worshiped their wealth and held back their offering, and lied. God struck them dead on the spot. (See Acts 5:1-11) FYI—this happened AFTER the cross. Grace doesn’t cover idolatry or the refusal to repent.
God had done amazing miracles to set Israel free from slavery. He’d provided for them over and over, yet, when given the opportunity, they turned their backs on Him and started worshiping the gods of Peor. The word ‘Baal’ means ‘god.’ And God was angry. He brought Israel out of Egypt to make them His own. A holy nation. A nation that didn’t look like the rest of the world. And here they were displaying everything but holiness.
Did you see what our loving Father did? — 4 And the Lord said to Moses, “Take all the chiefs of the people and hang them in the sun before the Lord, that the fierce anger of the Lord may turn away from Israel.” 5 And Moses said to the judges of Israel, “Each of you kill those of his men who have yoked themselves to Baal of Peor.” That doesn’t sound very loving does it?
How else can you protect your family from poison that could kill them unless you remove the poison permanently? Is there a better way to get your children’s attention than to cut off their internet use or their cell phone, or an unhealthy ‘friendship,’ etc.? These are examples of where bad influence creeps into our lives today.
God wanted to make a public spectacle of His judgment. He wanted all of Israel to see, to bring a reality that would deter them from making similar choices.
Okay, let’s keep reading.
Numbers 25:6-9 And behold, one of the people of Israel came and brought a Midianite woman to his family, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of the whole congregation of the people of Israel, while they were weeping in the entrance of the tent of meeting. 7 When Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose and left the congregation and took a spear in his hand 8 and went after the man of Israel into the chamber and pierced both of them, the man of Israel and the woman through her belly. Thus, the plague on the people of Israel was stopped. 9 Nevertheless, those who died by the plague were twenty-four thousand.
Did you notice? God honors zeal for His Word. He told Moses that because Phinehas was willing to take a stand, he kept God from destroying Israel as a whole. Not only that, He promised him a ‘covenant of peace.’
A covenant of peace means that God, Himself, would protect, provide for, and defend Phinehas and his family forever from anyone who would try to harm them. That’s better than any insurance policy on the planet.
He also promised him the covenant of a ‘perpetual’ priesthood. In the King James Bible it says, ‘everlasting’ priesthood. In other words, the male descendants of Phinehas would forever serve as priests to God in the Levitical order of Aaron.
In my next blog, I will show you how God completely fulfilled His promises. God is not a deceiver. What He says, He is faithful to do.
We started Colossians 3 and we will end here. This is our call and it’s time for all of us to take inventory. Let’s go to God in prayer, ask Him what He wants us to stand for and how then DO IT!
Colossians 3:23-24 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.
Until next week. Shalom ♥