Phinehas – Zealous for his God
“And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods. And Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel. And the LORD said unto Moses, Take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the LORD against the sun, that the fierce anger of the LORD may be turned away from Israel. And Moses said unto the judges of Israel, Slay ye every one his men that were joined unto Baal-peor. And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand; And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel. And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand. And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying, Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, while he was zealous for my sake among them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy. Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace: And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel. Now the name of the Israelite that was slain even that was slain with the Midianitish woman, was Zimri, the son of Salu, a prince of a chief house among the Simeonites. And the name of the Midianitish woman that was slain was Cozbi, the daughter of Zur; he was head over a people, and of a chief house in Midian. And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying, Vex the Midianites, and smite them: For they vex you with their wiles, wherewith they have beguiled you in the matter of Peor, and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of a prince of Midian, their sister, which was slain in the day of the plague for Peor’s sake.”
“…because he was zealous for his God” These words ring out in my ears. I recently heard a man of God take this phrase as his text in a sermon. As He was speaking, The LORD began to burn in my heart. It is my prayer that God make me zealous for Him! As I was sitting there, praying Him to do so within me, He began to show me things that were in the life of Phinehas.
If you are one of God’s children, you are probably thinking, as I, “Oh, how I long to burn with seal for my LORD!” And this what we should all long for. But before Phinehas could battle sin, he had to be broken over it. Look @ verses 6-7., “And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand;” Before we see Phinehas the warrior, we see him weeping. He was sitting among the congregation of weepers who were broken over the sin of the nation. His brokenness was not so much that God would judge Israel, but rather that Israel had sinned against God; for he was zealous for his God.
So often, we fail to see sin as it is – nothing short of atheism. When we sin, we sin against The Holy God. We clinch our fist at God and yell with every fibre of our being, “NO!” We have all done this, for we are all sinners. We are the fools of which David speaks in Psalm 14!. Just as we see Israel in verse one, abiding in Shittim; disobedient, and comfortable in their sin; so are we. We have each become more than comfortable in our sin. Job understood a bit of humanity when he said that we drink down iniquity as if it were water. (Job 15:16) We are a wicked people, a vile lot, and every one of us is from birth joined unto “Baal-peor” for we all walk according to Satan, the prince of this world. (Eph. 2:1-3) These people were weeping over sin. They were broken.
Although the glory of God is the primary motive behind our weeping over the sinfulness of ourselves and others, Scripture does not exclude the truth of the wrath of God that is abiding upon the sinner; and nor should we. Verse 4 says, “And the LORD said unto Moses, Take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the LORD against the sun, that the fierce anger of the LORD may be turned away from Israel.” God was angry with the people. He wasn’t just angry at their sin, but at the sinners themselves. The LORD says in Ez. 18:4, 20, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die…” Where are the tears?
Lost sinner, your soul is damned under God’s wrath! Have you no concern? Have you no tears?
Church, you are the bride of Christ. The world is daily reviling our God and King! Have you no tears? Do you care nothing for God’s glory. Is it of no consequence to you, as long as you don’t burn? Where are our tears?
Before we can ever be zealous warriors, we must first be made weepers. We must be broken! I am not broken as I ought to be. May God break me!
May we seek God to break us. May it please God to break us.