The Justice of God // Numbers 31:1-12
1. The LORD said to Moses,
2. “Take vengeance on the Midianites for the Israelites. After that, you will be gathered to your people.”
3. So Moses said to the people, “Arm some of your men to go to war against the Midianites and to carry out the LORD’s vengeance on them.
4. Send into battle a thousand men from each of the tribes of Israel.”
5. So twelve thousand men armed for battle, a thousand from each tribe, were supplied from the clans of Israel.
6. Moses sent them into battle, a thousand from each tribe, along with Phinehas son of Eleazar, the priest, who took with him articles from the sanctuary and the trumpets for signaling.
7. They fought against Midian, as the LORD commanded Moses, and killed every man.
8. Among their victims were Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur and Reba–the five kings of Midian. They also killed Balaam son of Beor with the sword.
9. The Israelites captured the Midianite women and children and took all the Midianite herds, flocks and goods as plunder.
10. They burned all the towns where the Midianites had settled, as well as all their camps.
11. They took all the plunder and spoils, including the people and animals,
12. and brought the captives, spoils and plunder to Moses and Eleazar the priest and the Israelite assembly at their camp on the plains of Moab, by the Jordan across from Jericho.
Imagine that someone seduced your spouse and they have decided to leave you for the other person. Can you imagine the anger that would burn inside you? This same kind of jealous anger is the reason the Midianites will receive the vengeance of the LORD. It is important to understand that this is not an act of spiteful revenge. The LORD is good and just; He does not punish innocent people. The Midianite women seduced the men of Israel to engage in sexual immorality, leading them to turn their backs on the LORD and worship the Midianite gods. God’s vengeance arises out of a passion for His people and is His righteous judgment upon a nation that lured His beloved into idolatry.
In this passage, the LORD works through the Israelites to bring His judgment upon a guilty people. It is clear that God is fighting for His people because the victory He gives them is overwhelming: they kill the five kings of Midian, capture all the woman and children, take all the livestock and goods as plunder, and burn all the Midianite towns and camps. When God is on our side, our enemies do not stand a chance. Today, our enemies do not take the form of flesh and blood but are the spiritual forces of evil that try to destroy our faith. These forces can often seem powerful and intimidating, but we must remember that God is on our side and that He promises His people victory over all our enemies.
– What is your attitude toward sin? Have you become complacent in your spiritual life? God is calling out to you. Turn from your sin, and turn to Him.
– When has God given you victory over a particular sin or struggle? Let the memory of these victories encourage you as you persevere through your present challenges.
A LETTER TO GOD:
Father, I confess my many sins to You. I do not pretend to live a perfect life. As severe a punishment as the Midianites received, I know the punishment I deserve is much worse. I thank You for Jesus, who took on Your wrath on my behalf. In His name. Amen.