So Israel yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor. And the Lord’s anger burned against them.
In this story we see that Israel brings a curse and plague on itself. And in Numbers 31:16, we learn that it was Balaam (see also Numbers 22-24) who advised their enemies to seduce the Israelites in this way. So the men of Israel fell into sexual relationships with the women of Moab and bowed down to their gods. “And the Lord’s anger burned against them.”
This story reminds us that if sin is not able to get a foothold in one area of our life, it will try to lodge itself in another. We have enemies that relentlessly attack us, such as the devil, the world, and our own sinful nature. They will not stop. When we’re spiritually strong in one area, they look for a weakness in another area.
To resist these attacks, we need to be vigilant and humble. We need to be alert to sin’s power and the devil’s schemes. We need to know our weaknesses. And we need to cry out to God for help. For Israel, the action of Phinehas the priest brought atonement for the people’s sin. For us, Jesus has become our faithful High Priest. His blood atones for our failures, and his intercession secures our Father’s favor.
Where do you feel vulnerable? Where are you tempted? “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” (Ephesians 6:10). Go to Jesus for help.
Heavenly Father, protect us from the schemes of our enemies. Help us to stand firm and to be faithful to you. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.
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