Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the people of Israel, in that he was jealous with my jealousy among them, so that I did not consume the people of Israel in my jealousy. – Numbers 25:11
Scripture reading: Numbers 25
From the wonderful heights of Balaam’s defeat, we now go to the terrible depths of Israel’s immorality. The women of Moab invite the men of Israel to a feast for their gods. It involved sacrifices to the dead, sexual immorality and idolatry. The men fall for it. The anger of the LORD is kindled. A plague breaks out.
The invitation to participate in sexual immorality was the brainchild of Balaam (Numbers 31:16). He could not change the blessing into a curse. But he knows that the people of Israel themselves could do this if they would insult the holiness of the LORD. So, he suggests the Moabites tempt Israel with idolatry and immorality. The enemy cannot stop God’s blessings by force, nor can he get in between the Lord and His people. He can try to tempt God’s people so that they will incur His covenant wrath. The situation is saved by the zeal of Phinehas. He kills an Israelite man and Midianite woman who blatantly defy the holiness of the LORD. Phinehas is praised for it.
How can we resist the temptations of the evil one? Are we any better than the Israelites? We have a High Priest Who has satisfied the anger of the LORD, our Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, we fall into sin too, but in His mercy, God imputes to us the righteousness and holiness of Christ. It is ours by faith in God’s promises. Therefore we can and must pray, lead us not into temptation.
Suggestions for prayer
Thank the Lord for the righteousness and holiness of Christ. Pray for strength not to be led into temptation.
This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Douwe G. J. Agema is currently minister of Living Word Canadian Reformed Church in Guelph and also teaches several courses at Covenant Canadian Reformed Teachers’ College.