Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part XXVIII: The Need For Human Leaders To Resist Compromise With Sin For Blessing
(Numbers 25:1-18)
  1. Introduction
    1. God calls His people to be "holy" or separate from evil as God Himself is "holy," 1 Peter 1:14-16.
    2. Just how important is being thus separate from evil can be illustrated in the Numbers 25 incident:
  2. The Need For Human Leaders To Resist Compromise With Sin For Blessing, Numbers 25:1-18.
    1. Though Balaam had been unable to harm Israel by repeatedly trying to put a witchcraft curse on the nation in Numbers 23-24, his recommendation to Balak to seduce Israel's leaders by cult prostitutes to lead the nation into idolatry WORKED to the severe discipline of Israel's leaders, Numbers 25:1-5:
      1. While Israel camped at Shittim just before crossing the Jordan into the Promised Land, the men of Israel began to commit immorality with Moabite women in connection with idol worship, 25:1-3a.
      2. This made God angry, so He had Moses kill Israel's leaders who led the nation into the sin, 25:3b, 4-5.
      3. We learn from Numbers 31:16 that Balaam had counseled Balak defeat Israel by seducing the nation into sexually promiscuous idol worship, meaning he tried to defeat Israel by lust where he could not win by spiritual force of demonic cursing!
    2. However, one leader, Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron the first high priest, became intolerant of blatant public immorality to execute the sinful man and a Midianite cult prostitute to the blessing of ISRAEL:
      1. While Moses addressed the nation about executing God's judgment on Israel's leaders who had led the nation into this sin, an Israelite man brought a Midianite cult prostitute into the camp in full view of the others and took her into his tent to commit cultic immorality with her, Numbers 25:6.
      2. We learn from Numbers 25:14-15 that the Israelite man and the Midianite woman were influential parties in both Israel and the Midianites (who were apparently in league with the Moabites).
      3. Incensed with holy anger at this blatant wickedness, an equally influential leader named Phinehas, Aaron's grandson, took a javelin, and followed the couple into the man's tent. There, he rammed the weapon through the man and woman, pinning them to death as they sinned together in the bed, 25:7-8b
      4. God then stopped the plague on the whole nation at this deed on Phinehas' part, and only a total of 24,000 people ended up dead, Numbers 25:8c-9. (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:8 = 23,000 died in one day!)
      5. Indeed, God informed Moses that had Phinehas not exercised this judgment on this public sin, God would have destroyed the NATION in His anger, Numbers 25:10-11.
    3. As a result of his righteous deed of uncompromising intolerance of the public sin, the influential leader, Phinehas was rewarded by God with a perpetual priesthood of leadership influence, Num. 25:12-13.
    4. God then declared the people of Israel were to slay the Midianites for their beguiling seduction of Israel to idolatry in accord with the Moabite effort to ruin Israel, Numbers 25:16-18 with 25:1.
Lesson: As the INFLUENCE of the LEADERS on the PEOPLE affected Israel's relative degree of SEPARATING from SIN, GOD STRONGLY either EXECUTED or PERPETUALLY ESTABLISHED Israel's influential leaders by HOW they RESPECTIVELY either COMPROMISED their beliefs and actions in yielding to sin or were INTOLERANT of COMPROMISING SIN in taking their STANDS.

Application: (1) As human LEADERS so deeply AFFECT the tendency of their subordinates either to SIN or RESIST sinning, human LEADERS must take care to watch their OWN REACTIONS to temptations that arise in their OWN lives. (2) Likewise, God's people must RESPECTIVELY either see GUILTY leaders who compromise and lead others to sin be PUNISHED or RIGHTEOUS leaders who do not compromise be HONORED because of the RESPECTIVE IMPACT both have on the outlook and conduct of the GROUP each oversees. (3) As a leader's acts influence the DEGREE of DIVINE BLESSING on the GROUP he oversees (as in Phinehas' case, cf. Numbers 25:11), those in LEADERSHIP must put RIGHTEOUSNESS in their OWN actions above their own lusts or interests for the WELFARE of the GROUP. (4) RIGHTEOUS leaders can also expect GOD to REWARD them with PERPETUAL INFLUENCE as their BENT to INFLUENCE fits God's will!