“While Israel remained at Shittim, the people began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab. For they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel joined themselves to Baal of Peor, and the Lord was angry against Israel.” (Numbers 25:1-3)
Satan through the world has two ways to attack the godly: up front and with great stealth. Moab had tried already to come against Israel with arms, even with a professional cursor, but he enemy of Israel failed both fights. But they had another weapon that, in effect, exploded in the lap of Israel. While Moab could not stand against Israel in the open, they attacked in worship.
Worship, of all places! Who ever thought of that tactic? Whoda thunk warfare could occur in worship . . .
I’ve been hung up on this one set of verses all day because of the quiet way God is teaching me through His Holy Spirit. I just can’t get over the fact that the people have the presence of God in their midst, He gives them victory after victory, yet they still disbelieve and bring the anger of the LORD against themselves. On the one hand, I find myself examining how it must have been the Moabite’s fault for deceiving the Israelites, but God’s anger is not toward them but toward His own people. Do the Moabites get off so easily? On the other hand, I find myself shaking my head at the Israelites wondering where their discernment went. Then I feel God’s hand gently on my shoulder . . . for the life of me, I can’t figure out what the Israelites saw in the Moabites, the very people they had already worked so hard against any more than I can see what I see what this world has to offer that Christ has saved me from.
Satan does not play “up front” warfare. He plays a quiet game as well and we so easily fall for it. And if God is the same yesterday, today and forever, His wrath is certainly unchanging—but where is it going? Who is receiving it?
I keep thinking about contentment again and how that is hooked up with obedience. Israel has not been content with God because they have been complaining, yet He still preserves His promise toward them. The problem is the very place where Satan attacks: worship and obedience requires submission to God.
Lack of contentment is a lack of worship; therefore, grumbling and complaining is telling God He does not measure up. Then something soft pushes in on the rebellious fist . . .
If God’s people were content, they would not covet. If God’s people loved who and what they have, they would not have played the harlot with the Moabites.
If God’s people were content, there would be humility. We get the idea that somebody owes us something, when we really deserve nothing. I have yet to learn from a dear friend how to fully accept the answer to my, “how do you do?” with his “better than I deserve.” Pride lifts the fist into a high-handed sin, not being satisfied with God. William Plumer wrote in 1864, “If a wise man cannot bring his condition to his desires—he will honestly endeavor to bring his desires to his condition . . . and so he is tossed from vanity to vanity—a stranger to solid peace.” How the Israelites must have tormented themselves as they were already a stranger, wandering from place to place!
If God’s people were content, they would not grumble and complain against Him, His servants or their own brothers and sisters.
If God’s people were content, they would not disbelieve Him and open to the door to the enemy.
Someone said once that most often we do our own fighting for Satan.
We need to learn the lesson from this passage:
Find our joy in naught else but God.
Give our thanks to naught else but God.
Do our work for naught else but God.
Commit our needs to naught else but God.
Or incur His anger against ourselves.
And help the enemy win.