The Spear of Judgment
From the perspective of 21st Century free love, it was an empowering act of personal liberation. A beautiful young woman and a prince of a man marched by the political and religious leaders of God’s nation, went into his tent and began to make love. Two consenting adults expressing their passions—think of all the stories we hear and see where actions like this are presented as good.
For example in Episode 2, Season Five of Downton Abbey (the highest rated PBS series in history) Lady Mary, a young widow, spends a week away with Tony Gillingham, one of her suitors, in a secret tryst. Mary reasons that a mature woman needs to make sure that the sex will be good before settling down in another lifelong commitment. Before we breathe in the atmosphere and join Entertainment Weekly in mocking this so-called “scandal” because no woman today would even consider that this is wrong, it might be smart to consider a different perspective. (One of our goals through Truth Encounter is to help you see the power that point of view plays in a story and to coax you to think about your own views and the decisions you make based upon the stories you believe.)
In Psalm 106:28-31 the psalmist reminds us of an incident near the end of Israel’s wanderings where two young adults did “make love” as I described above, but it wasn’t viewed as a life affirming, liberating act.
“They yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor. They ate sacrifices. They worshipped a lifeless idol-an idol connected with death. By these actions they aroused the LORD’s anger, and a deadly disease broke out among the people. Phineas rose up and intervened, and the plague ended. And this was credited to him as a righteous act remembered from generation to generation.”
When we go back and read the full account in Numbers 25, we discover that many of God’s chosen people entered into an orgy of sex and idol worship. God didn’t view their breaking of His first and seventh commandment as acts of liberation. While Moses interceded and some of the people wept in repentance, an Israelite man brought a Midianite woman into the camp, walked right by Moses and the group praying, went into his tent, and began to have sex. Phineas, the grandson of Aaron the high priest, grabbed his lance, followed the couple into the tent and drove it right through the Israelite man on top into the woman beneath him. The plague ended.
We do live in a different time and a different place. God is not ruling as the political and spiritual head of a particular nation today. In our time the Lord is proclaiming the Gospel to all people and giving them the opportunity to freely believe. We get credited as righteous, not because we defend God’s rule and Law, but because we believe in His Son and what He did on the cross (Romans 4:24-25). Forgiveness, not the execution of divine justice, is our bottom line. But in this time of grace we need to remember that God has not changed His mind about where and when sex is right and good.
The Super Bowl weekend is coming and for some it will not just be a game, it will be a weekend of booze and sex—an orgy worshipping the goddess of human pleasure. Will this genuinely promote physical and emotional health and lasting happiness? It’s time for Christ’s children to demonstrate by the way we live that these false gods are connected with death not life, and draw others to Christ by a better way.
Lord, thank you that Phineas, a legitimate priest in Israel, took your Law and the need to respect your leaders seriously. Help me to open my heart to your point of view so that I can understand why he did what he did, and why you considered it justified. Through the power of your Spirit I pray that I will join many of your children and prove by our lives that obedience to your Big Ten still generates physical, emotional, and spiritual health today. Raise more fear of disobeying You and doubt about the truthfulness of progressive liberalism’s free love!
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