Some thoughts for meditation following our daily devotional Scripture reading that is provided each week.
Another sad instance of Israel’s unfaithfulness to God that would haunt them for years (Josh 22:13, 17) and serve as a continual reminder of apostasy (Psa 106:28; Hos 9:10).
While Balaam was unsuccessful in issuing a curse on Israel from Peor (23:28), he did succeed in causing great trouble. Balaam counseled Balak to befriend Israelites, invite them to their pagan festivals, and give opportunities for Israelites to follow and gratify their natural sinful passions and desires (31:16; Rev 2:14).
Thus Israel disobeyed God’s covenant commands against sexual immorality, intermarriage with pagans, and the idolatry that went along with such (Exod 20:5; 34:14-16; Lev 18:24-29).
God’s anger was manifested by the execution of the offenders and a plague killing 24,000, but sadly even during this “in the sight of Moses and all Israel” the son of a prominent Israelite introduced a Midianite woman to his family and took her into his tent. However Phineas, son of Eleazar the high priest, was zealous for the Lord’s honor and executed them both, and the plague stopped.
- Compromise and failure in personal and formal religious separation often go hand in hand. Such corrupt the church (1 Cor 10:20; Rev 2:14). God’s ordained protection is simple faith in and obedience to his commands.
- Living for immediate gratification has long-term and even eternal consequences. Years later this same Phineas testified of the continuing effect of this circumstance in Israel (Josh 22:13, 17).
- Beware the seducing schemes of God’s enemies (v. 18). Such seem pleasant and enjoyable but they harass, damage, and damn souls. They are sinister (Psa 26:10), wicked and evil (Psa 37:17; Prov 24:8; Isa 32:7), destroy life (Psa 31:13), and are shrewd plots of iniquity from the depths of depraved hearts (Psa 64:6), but the righteous are not ignorant of them (2 Cor 2:11).
- Zealous faithfulness to and for the Lord is always needed. Doing what is right even though potentially difficult and unpleasant glorifies the Lord, protects his people, and is blessed by God.
- Peor was the last place Balak brought Balaam to curse Israel (23:27-28). Satan has many schemes he launches from the same place; he never stops his attacks.