Numbers 25:10 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
11 Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, while he was zealous for my sake among them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy.
12 Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace:
13 And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel.
Today’s passage refers to the zeal of one man. Zeal can serve to save a nation or it can cause the shedding forth of innocent blood. The book of Numbers tells of a time when Israel allowed sin into their camp and began experiencing God’s wrath. Fortunately, one man took it upon himself to save the nation of Israel from God’s impending judgment. He spared a great number of lives because he was zealous to take action. It should be noted that his zeal was for the Lord’s sake (Numbers 25:11). Unfortunately, the Bible reveals others like king Saul whose zeal brought about a far different outcome. His zeal ended the lives of innocent people. According to 2 Samuel 21:2, Saul, in his zeal to the people, slew the Gibeonites bringing a famine upon God’s people in the days of David. The famine only ended when seven men of Saul’s house lost their lives.
- (For children): Nehemiah had zeal to serve God and encouraged others to likewise serve the Lord. This one man led God’s people to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, even when faced with vicious threatening from their enemies. Read about the conditions in which they worked in Nehemiah 4:21-23.
- (For everyone): Are you zealous for the Lord or just zealously active in temporal matters? What could go wrong if your zeal is simply for people or things? What good outcomes could take place if your zeal is in line with God’s will and for God’s purposes?
- Does your zeal encourage people to turn toward the Lord or turn away from Him? Are you a magnet for the godly or do you attract the ungodly through your zeal? Is your zeal for the Lord contagious?
- Ask God to use your zeal to righteously affect others.
- Ask the Lord to protect you from harmful zeal.
Song: Am I a Soldier of the Cross?