The children of Israel were being neighborly with the Moabites. Nothing wrong with a friendly game of corn hole in the back yard. But when the Moabites invited their new friends to church, the Jews went. Before long, Jewish people were worshiping the false gods of Moab.
You can imagine God’s response to this. “Kill anyone who is worshiping Baal,” He commanded.
Now this is how the Jewish man, Zimri, reacted to what God said: He paraded his Midianite girlfriend, Cozbi, right down to the doorway of the tent of meeting, right down to Moses and the priest, Phinehas. Other people in the congregation were weeping over God’s judgement. Not so Zimri.
“Take that, Moses,” he seems to be saying. “Here’s what I think about your rules and your God. I’ve got rights. I’ll sleep with whoever I want, worship whoever I want, and you can’t do anything to stop me.”
I kind of feel like Moses here. It seems sin is thrown in my face at an increasing rate these days. I can’t watch TV without seeing same sex marriages, men who mutilate their bodies so they can pretend to be women, blatant sex outside of marriage. Every day I hear more incidents of racial hatred, terrorism, and abortion. And it’s like they are saying, “Take that, Christian. What are you going to do about it?”
Phinehas cleaned house there in Numbers 25. Maybe its time the church cleaned house, too. Not by killing sinners, of course. But by not calling people living sinful lives “Christian.” Maybe by calling sin sin, and not apologizing for doing so.
Scripture says that when Phinehas obeyed God, the plague on Israel was checked. For those of us Christians who think there’s nothing we can do to stop the plague of immorality that is destroying our world, maybe we should try obedience, too.
Is there a stand God is asking you to take?