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Wednesday, September 27th, 2023
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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Bible Commentaries
Numbers 25

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

Verses 1-18

  1. INTRO:
    1. SSS - (This Sat Night) 2 or More; & Victor’s Testimony.
    2. Rev 2:14 tells us that Balaam hatches a plan that could potentially have the nation of Israel implode upon itself. Here in Numbers chapter 25 is the result of that plan.
      1. Balaam could not destroy Israel with His curses; but he could defile Israel with his counsel. (Read Numb 31:16)
    1. IF YOU CAN’T BEAT-EM, JOIN-EM! (1-5)
    2. After 4 failed attempts to curse Israel, Balaam, a.k.a. Prophet for hire, gives up...or so it seemed. His new plan “If you can’t beat em join em!”
      1. ​​​​​​​What the armies of other nations couldn’t do, a smile & wink from the madam's of Moab & Midian could!
      2. It probably started with neighborliness; lets join their feast; hey these girls are cute; isn’t there sacrifice just a glorified BBQ? It’s just an idol we know they’re not real; then, full blown rebellion against God.
    3. Explain: Baal was a fertility god who was thought to “make farmers prosperous, kings strong, & woman fertile.” To worship Him a person had to offer sacrifices, eat special festival meals, & engage in sexual acts (Sacred prostitution).
      1. If Satan does not succeed as the devouring lion; he will come as the deceiving serpent!
      2. Idolatry is worshipping anything that ought to be used, or using anything that ought to be worshipped. Augustine
    4. There’s a 7-step process that, if left unrecognized, could lead to moral compromise:
      1. A failure to commit ahead of time to do the right thing.
      2. Underestimating evil and flirting with dangerous temptations.
      3. A failure to recognize the numerous forms of compromise lurking at every corner of life.
      4. A failure to recognize the smooth flatteries/enticing fantasies of temptations
      5. Succumbing to slick rationalizations.
      6. A sudden, deliberate choice to give in to sin.
      7. A failure to consider the costly consequences of sin.
    5. ​​​​​​​TAKING A STAND! (6-9)
    6. It was one man Zimri who blatantly continues to violate the Lord’s command.
    7. Phinehas took a stand for separation & holiness.
      1. You must amputate a gangrened limb.
      2. It only takes one man, or one woman! (& it wasn’t Moses nor Eleazer/high priest)
    8. God took their idolatry & adultery seriously.
    9. COMMENDED BY GOD! (10-15)
    10. What a special commendation & reward from the Lord!
    11. Zeal - A zealous man in religion is pre-eminently a man of one thing. He only sees one thing, he cares for one thing, he lives for one thing, he is swallowed up in one thing; and that one thing is to please God. Whether he lives, or whether he dies - whether he has health, or whether he has sickness - whether he is rich, or whether he is poor - whether he pleases man, or whether he gives offense - whether he is thought wise, or whether he is thought foolish - whether he gets blame, or whether he gets praise - whether he get honor, or whether he gets shame - for all this the zealous man cares nothing at all.
      He burns for one thing; and that one thing is to please God, & to advance God’s glory. If he is consumed in the very burning, he cares not for it-he is content. He feels that, like a lamp, he is made to burn; and if consumed in burning, he has but done the work for which God appointed him.
      1. Several years ago a man named Eugene Ormandy dislocated a shoulder while directing the Philadelphia Orchestra. [That’s Zeal!!!]
    12. PAYBACK! (16-18)
    13. The just wanted to pass through Midian, they had no beef with them. But now…
    14. What makes a hero?
      1. Webster’s defines hero as: “a person of distinguished courage, moral or physical.” “A remarkably brave person”.
    15. 3 aspects of a hero: Experiences the Violation; Evaluates the Situation; Eradicates the Abomination.
    16. [1] Experience the Violation!
      1. ​​​​​​​As with all superheroes in comics and movies, their must be something that necessitates the need for a hero.
      2. For Superman, it was the evil ways of Lex Luther.
      3. For Spiderman, the crime that permeated his city.
      4. For Batman, it was avenging the terrible crime wave that reigned supreme over Gotham.
        1. Each hero in some way experiences a violation of some sort.
        2. So it is with our hero Phinehas.
    17. What did most evil villains have in common with their arch enemies?
      1. They also had superpowers; were smart/cunning; wanted to change the world.
    18. So what made them different?
      1. What made Superman a hero was the heart w/in him!
    19. [2] Evaluate the Situation!
      1. ​​​​​​​In hero stories, the hero often sees/feels a situation and then evaluates what needs to be done.
      2. Some take immediate action like Phinehas; others strategize many years before moving in.
        1. Sex trafficking - some impulsively rescue the girls so they won’t have to spend another night in that atrocity; others plan out a full blown attack [IJM - Int. Justice Misison] (getting the mayor under pressure of UN or sanctions, to move in & bring justice to all the perpetrators) [Not For Sale; David Batstone]
    20. [3] Eradicate The Abomination!
    21. Eradicate - destroy, get rid of something.
    22. In Batman, do you know where the villains wind up? Arkham Asylum.
      1. Batman prides himself as not being an executioner.
      2. So, the Joker, the Riddler, etc are sent to the Asylum, but to somehow always escape once again.
        1. Phinehas didn’t make the same mistake. In this he was not acting from a petty spirit of fleshly anger, it was a judicial act of Divine Justice.
        2. He was zealous for His God; it was an atonement for the children of Israel.
      3. Phinehas halted the plague which already took 24,000 lives; more lives than were lost during the golden calf incident (3000 died; Ex.32).
    23. How can we know when our anger is appropriate when we become angry?
      1. Whose rights are being violated, mine or another’s?
      2. Is the truth, a principle of God, being violated?
        1. If only your rights are at stake it may be wiser to keep your angry feelings under control
        2. If we are becoming more & more like God, we should be angered by sin.
    24. A true hero evaluates the situation; decides what proper action to take; & eradicates the evil deed.
    25. You don’t have to be a superhero to be a hero!
      1. Who would you consider to be a hero today? And why?
      2. Who were considered heroes on September 11th, 2001? And why?
      3. What superhuman strengths does every Christian possess?
        1. H.S.; His power; His Love; His Joy; His Peace; His Word; His leading.
      4. If you could pick one Superpower what would it be? Why that one?
        1. Our Superpower is: (i.e. heart right before God + empowered by His Spirit)
        2. Coaching baseball; raising children; helping the homeless; helping girl/boy scouts; funding missionaries; funding youth to go on missions trips as maybe 1 will find it their calling; teaching young moms on your street how to cook, love your husband.
      5. What spiritual gifts do you have?
    26. How will you stand out as a Hero?
      1. How will you risk? Show faith? Be brave? Be courageous?
    27. God is waiting for individual’s to arise today. He’s waiting for his people to have the courage to Love God & hate sin. Courage to allow your heart to be broken for what breaks God’s heart.
      1. He is waiting for a modern day Phinehas TO ARISE who will burn with zeal for GOD’s honor, as he sees the sin all around him. Who will bend down and firmly grasp his spear and march to the fight.
      2. He is waiting for someone’s zeal to burn as they see:
        1. As abortion(1 every 20 sec), pornography, slavery, sexual exploitation, victim relief, perpetrator accountability, victim aftercare, sex trafficking.
      3. God is waiting, and it is time that SOLDIERS OF CHRIST ARISE.
    28. Walter Anderson, editor of Parade Magazine [book called Courage Is a 3-Letter Word]
      1. His message is clear and simple. “Real courage means saying Yes to life, instead of backing down when we face adversity.”
      2. He says that courage is acting with fear, not without it.
      3. Mark Twain, Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.
      4. John Wayne, Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.
      5. Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do.
    29. “He never said the journey would be easy. He did promise the arrival would be worthwhile!” (Max Lucado)
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Numbers 25". "Bell's Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/numbers-25.html. 2017.
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