- I do not like this story! God, to me, appears to be an angry, vindictive brat. (vs. 3b & 17-18) Yet, when it comes to this kind of judgment, I’ve come to a point in my life where I trust the Bible over my culturally-affected perspective!
- The Israelites have been sustained, forgiven, and directed mercifully by the LORD for years. However, they have doubted, complained, and challenged the LORD almost continually! Now, after miraculously saving them from war with the Moabites through Balaam and his donkey, they enter into sexual activity with the Moabites!! (vs. 1) What a blatant offense!!! The LORD’s response is gratuitously violent, killing 24,000. (vs. 9)
- On the surface, it seems that God is racist, but the story of Ruth (a Moabite in the lineage of Jesus) tells us this cannot be the case. The issue is not national or racial, but religious. (vs. 2-3)
- The LORD’s sovereign free-will to act according to His mysterious plan leaves me helplessly at a crossroads between submission and rebellion. In vs. 11b we see the Creator punish His creation. I have no words for this, only stubborn faith and an admission of guilt. Who am I to pass judgment on my infinite God with my finite mind? Can I see from His perspective? Do I understand His purposes? I must trust!
- Even as I read today from Numbers 25 and Isaiah 27and am troubled by the judgment of God, I see Daniel struggle similarly. (vs. 18 & 28) While there are wonderful aspects of the Messiah’s triumph over even the most terrifying evils (vs. 22 & 26), the circumstances are troubling.
- LORD, let me be like Daniel; while “alarmed,” brave enough to take it to heart. (vs. 28)
- How ironic that as I read confusing and troubling portions of the Bible, Paul speaks of preaching a “clear” message. (vs. 3-4) Still, Paul, a man who spoke directly to Jesus, the Son of God, has to ask for help in this.
- Jesus, I pray with Paul in this. Please give me the grace to speak the clear truth, a reconciling Gospel (vs. 2-4), with grace, creativity, and urgency. (vs. 5-6)
Categories: Words of Life