May 16, 2022

(Numbers 25, Psalm 68; Optional 1 John 4:7-12, Proverbs 23:19-21)

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SEE May 11 for SPECIAL NOTE on format change… 

NUMBERS 25 – Num 25:1-5 – This isn’t a RACE problem, it’s a FAITH problem. And I should put “race” in quotes, because there’s ONE race – all humans come from Adam and Eve (Acts 17:26), all equally in the image of God (Gen 1:26-27). And when Ruth (a Moabitess, so this same ethnicity) left her family’s idols to trust in Yahweh (Ruth 1:15-16, 2:10-12) that was a beautiful thing and she holds special place in the Messianic line as a grandma (or great grandma or something, depending on how you read it) of King David.

Disbelief / rebellion against God SO often go together with sinful sex! So often that I know of a preacher that says this… Young adults would come back from college to visit the church where they grew up and had made a profession of faith in Jesus. But now they say, “Pastor, I’m not sure the Bible is actually God’s Word and I’m not sure that Jesus is the ONLY way…” He responds simply: “Who are you sleeping with?” And often hears: “How did you know?!”

This use of ungodly sex and idolatry to instigate God’s wrath against Israel came from the wicked counsel of Balaam to King Balak of Moab (Num 31:6-8, 15; Rev 2:14).

Num 25:6-13 – Phinehas is one of my favorite Bible characters! He’s a wonderful illustration of James 3:17-18 (“the wisdom from above is FIRST pure, then peaceable…”). In this story, he takes decisive action (appropriate under a theocracy – see Num 25:4-5) that may SOUND harsh to our modern ears but was actually loving (Num 25:8 and tremble at v 9). This is “FIRST PURE,” (James 3:17) but that’s NOT all Phinehas was about…  In Josh 22:10-34, he first checked for purity, found out there had been a huge miscommunication and joyfully led in PEACE.

PSALM 68 – Lots of overlap with Numbers! Ps 68:1 comes from the Mosaic prayer when God would let Israel know it was time to break camp and go elsewhere (Num 10:35). And there are several references to God leading through the wilderness and rescuing His people. In this Psalm (an oft-repeated theme in Scripture), God lifts up and delivers the hurting / oppressed (v 5-6, 9-10) often using surprising means (notice the women instead of the men in v 11-13 and compare Judges 4-5; “least / little / youngest” in v 27). And He ends up EASILY (v 2) defeating His foes.

Ps 68:32-35 – The SUMMARY: an international call to worship the One true God who is ALMIGHTY and rules over all!

Optional Prov 23:19-21 – Pr 23:19 – Yet ANOTHER verse that is completely counter to idea of “Follow your heart.” Instead, God has parents instruct their children to DIRECT their heart according to biblical wisdom!

Optional 1 John 4:7-12 – The wonderful truth “God IS love” (1 Jn 4:8b) is often perverted to mean that if you say anything about something being sinful that you’re not being loving. But look at the context! Vs 10 DEFINES God’s love by describing sending His Son to absorb God’s righteous wrath so that sinners who repent and trust in Jesus can receive God’s favor. Even God’s definition of love references His righteous wrath which Jesus saves His people from.