Complete Obedience // Numbers 31:13-24
13. Moses, Eleazar the priest and all the leaders of the community went to meet them outside the camp.
14. Moses was angry with the officers of the army–the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds– who returned from the battle.
15. “Have you allowed all the women to live?” he asked them.
16. “They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and were the means of turning the Israelites away from the LORD in what happened at Peor, so that a plague struck the LORD’s people.
17. Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man,
18. but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.
19. “All of you who have killed anyone or touched anyone who was killed must stay outside the camp seven days. On the third and seventh days you must purify yourselves and your captives.
20. Purify every garment as well as everything made of leather, goat hair or wood.”
21. Then Eleazar the priest said to the soldiers who had gone into battle, “This is the requirement of the law that the LORD gave Moses:
22. Gold, silver, bronze, iron, tin, lead
23. and anything else that can withstand fire must be put through the fire, and then it will be clean. But it must also be purified with the water of cleansing. And whatever cannot withstand fire must be put through that water.
24. On the seventh day wash your clothes and you will be clean. Then you may come into the camp.”
Moses is furious with the Israelites, and he has every reason to be: they have spared the very women who seduced them away from God. Though they have carried out God’s judgment upon the Midianites, it is incomplete unless these women and all the male children are executed. The complete destruction of the Midianites is not only a pouring out of God’s wrath for their sin; it also serves to purge idolatry from Israel. The purity of our souls is a life-or-death matter. If we allow even a single seed of sin to be planted in our hearts, it is only a matter of time before it bears the fruit of death. This is why we must be uncompromising in our commitment to God.
God’s judgment is not only for His enemies. When His own people rebel against Him, as the Israelites do many years later, He judges them in the same way. The LORD cannot turn a blind eye to the sins of His children, for He is perfectly holy and just. However, He also abounds in mercy and steadfast love. This is why He sent His one and only Son to come and bear the judgment that we deserved for our sins. He poured out His wrath upon the cross so that we could be spared from it. In Christ, our sins are forgiven and we are made completely pure.
– Sin is a powerful force, but God’s grace is greater. Have you ever been tempted to give up on your fight against sin? What gave you the strength to persevere?
– Our righteous standing is not based on our righteousness; it is found only in the name of Jesus. Confess your sins today and receive the forgiveness and love of Christ with confidence.
A LETTER TO GOD:
Jesus, reveal to me any ways in which my commitment to You is compromised, and lead me to greater steps of obedience. Thank you for Your steadfast commitment to me. Thank you that in You, I am completely and eternally pardoned from my sin. In Your name. Amen.