10. a. Phineas, grandson of Aaron, was one of the mourners at the entrance to the tent of meeting.
While Moses and those who loved God were weeping and people were dying right and left, an Israelite brought a Midianite woman into his tent. Because of his defiance of all that was good, Phinehas the priest, went into the tent and drove a “spear all the way through the man’s body and into the woman’s stomach.”(NLT)
God approved because people were already dying “right and left” for their participation in idolatry and fornication. This man’s hard heart and blatant disregard for God and his community demanded immediate action.
Phinehas’ quick response showed he recognized that fact.
b. Government, media, education, and communities often show contempt for God, the church, and our family values.
Believers are often ridiculed as narrow-minded, bigoted, and ignorant.
Sadly, high-profile Westboro Baptist Church has done much damage to the precious name of Jesus. They are modern-day Pharisees, in my opinion.
Pharisaism is a religious movement, consisting of lay people (not clergy) who share a deep commitment to the Hebrew Scriptures and traditions. They believe the Jewish people have not yet been freed from the Romans because of the Jews’ tolerance of sin. There are too many drunks, prostitutes, and gluttons. “If we could just get these sinners to change their ways,” they feel, “then God would send the One who will free us.” How angry they are at Jesus not just for forgiving sins but also for eating with sinners! After all, to eat with people means to accept them. The kind of Rescuer they expect will judge and destroy sinners, not forgive them and enjoy their company! The Pharisees and their associates, the religious scholars, got the attention of some of Jesus’ disciples. Pharisees (in low voices): What’s wrong with you? Why are you eating and drinking with tax collectors and other immoral people? The Voice note on Luke 5:30
Jesus showed love, grace, and mercy toward everyone except those with hard hearts. He ate and drank with sinners, stopped the religious from throwing stones at an adulterous woman, touched lepers, and forgave sins.
…The kingdom of God doesn’t throw all guilty people in jail; it doesn’t execute everyone who has made mistakes or tell them they’re just getting what they deserve. Instead, it brings forgiveness, reconciliation, a new start, a second chance. In this way, it mobilizes believers to have a new future. Certainly Jesus has communicated the message of the Kingdom through words and through signs and wonders. Now Jesus embodies the message in the way He treats people, including outcasts like Levi. As a tax collector, Levi is a Jew who works for the Romans, the oppressors, the enemies. No wonder tax collectors are despised! But how does Jesus treat this compromiser? He doesn’t leave him paralyzed in his compromised position; He invites him—like the paralyzed man—to get up and walk, and to walk in a new direction toward a new King and Kingdom. The Voice note on Luke 5:8
So, what should we do?
- Be Christ’s ambassadors of reconciliation—
For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:19-21 NLT
- Hold the media accountable. It’s important for our families and future generations. The efforts of One Million Moms make it simple to take part. The secular media is Satan’s evangelistic organization—glamorizing sin, promoting sensual pleasures of every kind, and polluting our minds.
- Vote for candidates who support godly values. Or at least, the lesser of two evils.
I’m sure you can add to this. I’ve been stuck on this question all morning. Moving on…
11. a. After blessing the Israelites and prophesying destruction to their adversaries—
Numbers 24:25 simply says, “Balaam left and returned home, and Balak also went on his way.” We know Balak was angry, but references for this question throw a different light on Balaam. Sometime after Numbers 24:25, Balaam gave Balak a devious plan to subvert Israel. Some of the Moabite women “who are responsible for seducing our men by leading Israelites to reject the Eternal at Peor. They brought down on us that punishing plague that killed so many of the people of the Eternal One.” Numbers 31:16 The Voice
b. Balaam died in battle along with all five Midianite kings when God sent Israel to take revenge on the Midianites.
Did Balaam prophesy his own end when he said, “Woe, for who will remain alive when God does this? Who will survive?” Numbers 24:23 The Voice
In the study of Numbers 24, I was undecided about whose side Balaam was on. Now I see more clearly—Balaam did not end well. It’s hard to imagine he could have such amazing encounters with the living God and turn back.
But so did many of the Israelites.
I know I’ve read this before, but studying it in-depth makes such a difference. I was so rooting for Balaam. How sad.
12. a. God did not allow those who were deceived and defiled to live on among the others. 24,000 died.
The zeal of Phinehas in making atonement for the people matched the zeal of God or was the zeal of God. God was so pleased and said, “I did not consume the Israelites in My jealousy.” Numbers 25:11 AMP
God made a covenant of peace with Phinehas and his descendants. It seems God was inspired and encouraged to see that zeal in the younger generation.
As a mother and grandmother, I can relate to how that must have felt after seeing rebellion after rebellion. That moment must have blessed God immeasurably.
b. Stay as far away from anything ungodly as I possibly can.
Give God as many of those awe-inspiring moments as I possibly can. Bringing glory to His name.
How wonderful it will be to have Him call me His, “Good and faithful servant.”
Receive a crown I can place at His feet.
I want to end well.
Photo credit Marian Trinidad
These are MY answers to the BSF study questions, not THE answers.