Greetings from near Jerusalem.
A CALL FOR RIGHTEOUS ZEAL MOTIVATED BY LOVE
Ben: The Torah portion this week recounts the story of Pinchas (or Phineas) in Numbers 25. During the period of wandering in the wilderness, the Hebrews were ensnared by the Moabites — the women of Moab seduced the men of Israel and brazenly beckoned them to engage in ritual sexual acts and to offer sacrifices to false gods. The Hebrews got worked up into such a frenzy that they didn’t even try to hide their blatant sin against God. One such man caroused with a Moabite women right in front of Moses and the people. A plague started, and the Hebrews who committed these idolatrous acts started to fall by the thousands. Pinchas witnessed what was happening and, filled with righteous zeal, ran the fornicating couple through with a spear. Only then did the plague stop - but 24,000 were left dead in wake of the judgment.
I am grieved and provoked by the stories that fill the news today. Though we agree with the healthy call for justice for the black communities and stand alongside those pursuing positive change, many others have hijacked the moment and become agents of demonic power. Revenge, bloodlust, looting, and anarchy are resulting in billions of dollars of damage. But that isn’t all. There is a renewed brazenness in the push for sexual liberation, the deconstruction of the nuclear family, and the promotion of alternative genders. It is not sufficient to foster these behaviors in secret, but many are demanding agreement and conformity to this worldview — it is a culture war against biblical values that is being fought right out in the open.
Though we do not know the level at which the Covid-19 pandemic also represents a judgment on the world, God is surely using it to beckon the body to deeper repentance and intercession. It is an occasion to reevaluate ourselves and to determine whether or not we have been truly living the Gospel of the Kingdom. It is a call for righteous leaders like Pinchas to rise up to engage the spiritual battle, and to act with intention motivated by love and godly zeal. It is certainly not a call for violence - a modern day Pinchas does not carry out corporal punishment. Let me challenge you to live out of a deeper place of genuine purity and to demonstrate a testimony of the transformative power of God in your life. Because of Pinchas’ righteous actions, God established a covenant of peace with him (Num 25:12). We pray for God to release a season of peace following repentance. We pray that you will be one of the many righteous ones that rise up in this hour!
At this time of challenge, your prayer and giving support is valued more than ever!