And indeed, one of the children of Israel came and presented to his brethren a Midianite woman in the sight of Moses and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. (Numbers 25:6)
Let’s consider the enormity of this situation unfolding in the Scripture. God had just tamed the tongue of a wicked sorcerer hired to curse the people of God. He had frustrated the plans of a pagan ruler bent on the destruction of Israel. Sadly, however, all it took to lure Israel away from their God was a few pretty girls and the promise of food and illicit fun. As a result, a plague broke out among the people and the primary offenders were rounded up to be executed. In the midst of all of this, a Simeonite prince by the name of Zimri thought it was a good idea to flaunt his heathen girlfriend in the sight of Moses and the people who were praying at the tent of meeting.
What can we possibly glean from this that has any uplifting quality? Let’s consider that their brazenness inspired others to be brazen but not for wickedness, but for righteousness. The “in your face” actions taken by Zimri prompted Aaron’s grandson, Pinchas, to take decisive action to defend the sanctity of the Tabernacle and the congregation at large. In fact, his zealousness for God stopped the plague from spreading further. And while I am in no way suggesting that anyone should take a spear and run someone through, this story does suggest that having a righteous zeal for His house is a quality all of His people should exhibit.
As for Pinchas, God elevated him and his house to the position of priest and gave him a “covenant of peace.” Think of that: what some would consider to be an aggressive, over-the-top act, God considered to be worthy of reward. Again, that is not to suggest that we should meet the wicked with violent actions but it is to remind us that, when we are given the choice of offending God or man, who are we more willing to offend? Furthermore, there are times when the people of God MUST take a stand for the Kingdom of God in spite of the accusations the world will hurl at us.
So in that spirit, let us close with this thought: even Messiah found it necessary at one point to overturn the tables of money changers and chase out those who were, in His words, turning His Father’s house into a “den of thieves.” When His disciples saw this, they remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up” (John 2:17). May we all be zealous for God, His ways and His Kingdom and always stand for righteousness.
Blessings and Shalom,