In last week’s Parasha, Rabbi Glenn instructed us on the prophet Balaam and his suggestion on how King Balak could harm the Jewish nation. Balaam’s idea was for the Midianite women to have relations with the Israeli men and introduce them to Baal worship. This would prove successful in that many men of the different tribes of Israel took Midianite wives. We were then introduced to Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron, who went into the tent of Zimri who, in front of the Israeli nation and God, took this Midianite woman for his wife and Phinehas ran through the woman and Zimri with a spear killing them both.
Now God’s plague that he put on the nation of Israel for their infidelity to him was put aside by the actions of Phinehas. Scripture tells us that God was a jealous God. The Hebrew word, kinah, referenced in Numbers 25:10, means zeal, and we know our God is a zealous God. El Gabor mighty God turns away his anger from the Israelites due to the actions of Phinehas. The Lord gives a covenant of peace to Phinehas and to his descendants, a perpetual priesthood because of his zeal for his God. Phinehas made atonement for the people of Israel. God also tells Moses to harass the Midianite’s and to strike them down for beguiling the Jewish Men in the matter of Peor.
In chapter 26, a census is ordered by God to count all males 20 years and up in each household. The list of Israel was 601,730 men. This census was smaller by 2770 men, because only half the tribes of Israel had grown. Due to the failure to follow God at Kadesh, Barnea, Caleb, Joshua, and Moses are left from that rebellion that were older than 20 years old. After the census, God divides the inheritance according to the size of the tribes. The inheritance went to the sons, not to the daughters.
In chapter 27 we are introduced to the daughters of Zelophehad whose father had no sons and brought a plea to Moses to intercede on their behalf. Moses went to the Lord on behalf of these daughters and God makes a provision for them that if there are no sons. The inheritance would go to the daughters. It should be pointed out here that God steps in for these women giving them rights in that time in and in the time to come. The rest of the world did not embrace this ideal even to this day. In 27:12 God instructs Moses to go up on the mountain, and there Moses would see the Promised Land, but he would not live to walk into it because of his sin at the waters of Meribah, where he took credit when he struck the rock. Moses asks, “Who would go before your chosen people and lead them”? God instructs Moses to appoint Joshua to be his successor. When we look at Joshua he is one who stood up for God in the Promised Land when he gave his report, other than that he was an ordinary man, but, importantly, one who followed God.
In chapter 28, God instructs the Chosen People regarding the offerings that he is requiring. These offerings would be for Sabbath, monthly, and Passover. Other offerings included were for the Feast of Weeks, the Feast of Trumpets, for the Day of Atonement, and finally for the Feast of Booths (which we call Sukkot).
Here are some Applications we should consider. We see what Phinehas did for this Israeli nation; he made atonement for the sin of the people. This was a one-time atonement when God lifted the plague that He had put upon them. There was another who made atonement for our sins in the name of Yeshua, the Messiah, whose perfect sacrifice by his own blood was not for some and for a day. but for all and forever. There is no greater gift we can ever have than what Messiah Yeshua has done for us. EL-Elyon’s, the most-high God, plan of salvation was from the very beginning and fulfilled by his son, is the most important atonement you will ever have and brothers and sisters you better be on the right side of that.
We also see in chapter 27 the provision God made for women and the role they would play in God’s creation. God would use women of great character in his words of Scripture… He used a sinner named Rehab to help conquer a city when she hid the spies. One of the judges for the early Israelis was a woman named Deborah who led the Israelis in battle when a cowardly general was weak. He used Esther to save her Jewish people at great risk for her own well-being and that’s just a few of them.
We also see the price of leadership when God sent Moses up on the top of the mountain to see the Promised Land. God said Moses was the most humble man, a pretty high distinction, and yet Moses let his pride get the better of him in front of the people he shepherds, and he does not get to enter the Promised Land. This should be a strong reminder to all of us in leadership that God holds us to a much higher standard than he does for those we shepherd. It saddens me how often we fail in this area. And I don’t mean just those who teach heresy and bad doctrine, but all of us have failed in this area, and this includes me as well. Brothers and sisters, if someone asks you to take a position in leadership, you should think twice whether you’re really ready for that. In Matthew 18:6, Messiah tells us that “if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea”. A very stern warning for us to remember.
One final application for us to consider. God continually uses ordinary men and women to do his will. Abraham takes 318 men and destroys four armies, He used Moses to lead his people to freedom, used Joshua to lead the chosen people into the Promised Land and defeat their enemies. Used Esther to save her people, and the little shepherd boy, King David to conquer all his enemies. God used prophets to instruct kings and priests, and most importantly, he brought a single man named Yeshua to save all humanity. Brothers and sisters, whether it is the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit, It is always God who does the work in us that we accomplish his will.
Not that he needs us, he chooses us.