Numbers 31:16, “They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and enticed the Israelites to be unfaithful to the LORD in the Peor incident, so that a plague struck the LORD’s people.”
Here we see that Balaam is the mastermind behind the Israelites’ downfall through sexual immorality and worshipping of idols in Numbers 25. Balaam is not able to curse the Israelites from the outside but he is able to curse them from the inside.
Numbers 25:1-3, “While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate the sacrificial meal and bowed down before these gods. So Israel yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor. And the LORD’s anger burned against them.” This is the first encounter the Israelites have in the wilderness with a culture that worships other gods. Here they are exposed to an accepted practice of idol worship and adultery.
Moses orders the death of the leaders and Phineas atones for the sin of the people by killing the man and woman who flaunt their adultery in front of Moses and those in the Tent of Meeting. Number 25:10, “The LORD said to Moses, “Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, has turned My anger away from the Israelites. Since he was as zealous for My honor among them as I am, I did not put an end to them in My zeal.”
God describes Phineas as zealous for the LORD. Am I like Phineas? Or have I become immune to sin in my culture? Do I ask God to awaken me to things that do not align with God’s commands and plans?
God disciplines and judges people but He does not destroy them. Remember that Ruth was a Moabite. She is part of the lineage of Christ. Through her, we are reminded of what God can do.
Despite their sinfulness, God does not give up on His people.
Our sinfulness will not stop God’s plan.
Lord, please help me to stay away from sin (immorality and idolatry) and be zealous for Your honor.