Daily Thought for: 9th March

PHINEHAS: HE HONOURED GOD

Numbers 25. 1-13; Joshua 22. 9-34; Judges 20

Phinehas was a priestly man whose first concern was God’s honour. 

The Lord’s zealous servant: Mal. 2. 5. In Numbers 25 we read of Israel’s joining himself to Baal-peor and making sacrifices to false gods. An Israelite prince, blatantly and flagrantly, brings a Midianite woman into the camp. Phinehas acts decisively, putting both to death. Is not compromise fatal to a truly effective testimony? There is no doubt where Phinehas stood. The principle for us is seen in 1 Timothy chapter 5, verses 19-20, 24. 

The Lord of hosts’ messenger: He is wise and the law of truth is in his mouth, Mal. 2. 6-7. In Joshua 22 we read of the two-and-a-half tribes, who settled on the east of Jordan and erected an altar. The other tribes misinterpret this, and to redress the ‘wrong’ amass an army, then pass over Jordan. Before battle is joined, Phinehas acts as a mediator; he listens to both sides, establishes the truth, ensures that God’s honour is not stained nor His rights violated, and thus defuses the explosive situation peacefully, vv. 30-31; Prov. 18. 13, 17; Jas. 3. 17-18. 

The Lord’s worshipper: Judg. 20. 27-28; Mal. 2.2. We read in Judges 20 of a dark scene in Israel’s history: of a vile, immoral evil committed; of the evildoers supported by their tribe, Benjamin; of unjudged evil on one side, wrong attitudes on the other; of civil war. We find Phinehas at the centre, firstly re-adjusting Israel’s attitude from ‘wickedness . . . among you’, v. 12, to ‘Benjamin, my brother’, v. 23—thus recognizing one body, one nation; but also taking the lead in giving God His rightful place. We might well have expected sin offerings; but he offered burnt and peace offerings, v. 26. God’s claims are met. Worship is essential—whatever the conditions or circumstances. For us the principle is ‘to honour the Son’, John 5. 23. This, and this alone, unites the people of God. 

Who would choose to deal with such situations? Only carnal men—and what havoc would have resulted? But someone had to . . . one to whom much was given, e.g. the son of the high priest. If he was to be true to his calling, he had no choice but to act decisively. 

‘Them that honour me I will honour’, 1 Sam. 2. 30. 

 

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