Then drew near the daughters of Zelophehad the son of Hepher, son of Gilead, son of Machir, son of Manasseh, from the clans of Manasseh the son of Joseph. The names of his daughters were: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. And they stood before Moses and before Eleazar the priest and before the chiefs and all the congregation, at the entrance of the tent of meeting, saying, “Our father died in the wilderness. He was not among the company of those who gathered themselves together against the Lord in the company of Korah, but died for his own sin. And he had no sons. Why should the name of our father be taken away from his clan because he had no son? Give to us a possession among our father’s brothers.” Numbers 27:1-4.
Until this event, inheritances passed to a man’s brother if he had no sons. These women came to Moses because they thought they should get it since they had no brothers. Moses took it to the Lord, and the Lord agreed with them.
It is important to note that these women were not asking that God change moral standard, that God had established, for them. He was being asked to change a social custom.
These were those listed by Moses and Eleazar the priest, who listed the people of Israel in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho. But among these there was not one of those listed by Moses and Aaron the priest, who had listed the people of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai. For the Lord had said of them, “They shall die in the wilderness.” Not one of them was left, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun. Numbers 26:63-65.
I have often said that each new generation is another chance to do things right. That means that death is a chance to wipe the slate. After all, if we don’t leave our sinful flesh behind, we’d get to be evil forever. We wouldn’t get better and better. No, death is our reset button.
Today we are pursuing immortality for our sinful selves. We replace parts, alter our appearance, take drugs for improved performance, hope science will discover eternal life. This is what you do when you have no hope of heaven.
Individually, most of those things are okay, but it’s the loss of perspective that really needs to be healed. This is not all we have. And the outward man is supposed to perish as the inward man is renewed day by day. (2 Corinthians 4:16). Let us attend to the inward man, which is eternal, and by which we have relationship with God.
And behold, one of the people of Israel came and brought a Midianite woman to his family, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of the whole congregation of the people of Israel, while they were weeping in the entrance of the tent of meeting. When Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose and left the congregation and took a spear in his hand and went after the man of Israel into the chamber and pierced both of them, the man of Israel and the woman through her belly. Thus the plague on the people of Israel was stopped. Nevertheless, those who died by the plague were twenty-four thousand. Numbers 25:6-9.
The Midianites at Peor invited the Israelites to a feast and it turned into an orgy of idolatry and fornicating. Just as Moses is ordering the execution of the participants, and people are weeping over it, one guy walks past them with the daughter of a Midianite chief. Aaron’s grandson, Phinehas, is so enraged that he grabs a spear, follows them to their lair, and impales them both together.
To the God who has rescued them from Egypt, fed them in the wilderness, and promised them a homeland, this liaison with the Midianites is not only a betrayal of His relationship with them; it is a breach of national security. This sin brought death to twenty four thousand, so Phineas got a commendation for his zeal.
Although we no longer impale fornicators, the church still puts them out of fellowship. At least it’s supposed to. Treating sin lightly does not get a commendation.
And Balak’s anger was kindled against Balaam, and he struck his hands together. And Balak said to Balaam, “I called you to curse my enemies, and behold, you have blessed them these three times. Therefore now flee to your own place. I said, ‘I will certainly honor you,’ but the Lord has held you back from honor.” And Balaam said to Balak, “Did I not tell your messengers whom you sent to me, ‘If Balak should give me his house full of silver and gold, I would not be able to go beyond the word of the Lord, to do either good or bad of my own will. What the Lord speaks, that will I speak’? And now, behold, I am going to my people. Come, I will let you know what this people will do to your people in the latter days.”
The Lord makes sure that Balak gets his money’s worth by sending plenty of revelation about Israel’s future victories. For all Balaam’s protestations about his integrity, Balak’s anger and disappointment is not for nothing. It is likely that Balak was a regular customer, paying for favorable “words from the Lord.” So when Balaam’s usual visit from familiar spirits was preempted by God himself, he was as surprised as Balak.
We are able to open ourselves up to the spiritual realm, whether it’s by putting our faith in God, or responding to seducing spirits. This is why we are told to test the spirits.
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. 1 John 4:1-3.
And Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I took you to curse my enemies, and behold, you have done nothing but bless them.” And he answered and said, “Must I not take care to speak what the Lord puts in my mouth?” Numbers 23:11-12.
Balak seems to think he can buy the word he wants from the Lord. Maybe if he is persistent, and makes enough sacrifices, he will get God’s favor.
God already knows what He wants to accomplish. It is the occupation of man to seek that out and get on board.