Numbers 31:1-18 (Part 1) – It’s All Good…Commentary on Morality in America

Posted: November 6, 2016 in 04-Numbers
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Numbers 31:1-18 (Part 1)

Vengeance on the Midianites

This passage is a rather disturbing one that we will have spend a few days sorting out. There are several things here that I think we need to talk about over the next few blogs and they are:


  1. Ethnic cleansing of the Midianites
  2. All but the virgin women were killed?
  3. The death of Balaam during the battle – it is a name that sound familiar!


So, here we go with the first of three blogs on this passage…


You hear a lot of talk among Christian circles, particularly because of the foul choices that we have for President this year, that we must be living in the end times. We may well be but I think that we are becoming like the Midianites of this passage more than we are close to Jesus’ return. In the United States, almost since the beginning of our nation, we have felt that we are God’s favored nation. And, indeed, we may well have been for many years. We were after all a nation that believed in Christian principles and built our governments and our society around those principles. However, the nation of the United States today is a far cry from the nation that our founding fathers envision and even that our grandparents or great grandparents knew.


When you look at the landscape of our nation today, you find sexual perversion everywhere. One in two marriages end in divorce and the principal cause of divorce in the United States is the unfaithfulness of one of the two spouses. Sex outside of marriage is as rampant in our country. Sex is thought of as sport now and promiscuity is almost praised now as our television shows reflect what we think as a society. Lack of numerous sexual partner before or between marriages is almost frowned upon in our society. Freedom of sex, the do what you wanna do that makes you feel and do who you want to do attitude of our society, has led us down the road to believe in all earnestness that marriage between two people of the same sex is considered acceptable behavior. We think, why not? If we have broken down “the old fashioned” views of fidelity between men and women sexually, why then is it not OK for there to be marriage between two males or females? Sexual freedom is what we are all about. Hey, I am not preaching to the crowd here. I am preaching to myself as well. Although I have been and pray to always will be faithful to Elena, my past is littered with sexual relationships that were not under the umbrella of marriage. Even after salvation in December 2001, there were strongholds of sin that I did not give up easily and sexual sin was one of them. So, don’t think that I am preaching at you. I am just as guilty as the next guy and include myself in these comments. Back to the commentary. Sexual freedom is king in our society. We want the sex we want and we want it know. Pornography is not just the strip clubs anymore. It is in our homes. Men, from the privacy of their computers, can view all kinds of sordid stuff that can’t be done in strip clubs. So, that industry, internet porn, is a multi-billion dollar industry. We say that it’s ok because it makes us feel good. We are not hurting anyone. We are just pleasing ourselves in the privacy of our homes, right? Sexual freedom is king here. We here folks say that we need to make abortion available because of incest and rape or danger to the mother’s health. If you read the statistics though, such abortions account for less than 2% of all abortions. Then, what are 98% of the abortions about? They are simply unwanted pregnancies. We want to have sex with whomever we want and when we want. Abortion is fallback birth control. I know that have touched on the hot button issues here of divorce, same sex marriage, pornography and abortion, but this is the state of our nation in 2016. Why do we expect Hillary or Donald to have morals beyond reproach when we are a nation that promotes immorality, adores it, and thrives on it!


As Christians, we have become like the culture when it comes to sexual sin. The divorce statistics among Christians is no better than that of the nation at large. We have debates internally within the Christian world as to whether same sex marriage is OK or not. We are actually have that debate for real. Sure, we are to love all sinners where they are and love them into the light of Jesus Christ and His Word, but we are to be above the sinful cultural norms of the societies in which we live. We are supposed to be different. It is not supposed to be easy to be Christians but we are trying to make it easy. In order to support our own penchants to be like the world in which we live, we say it’s ok to have multiple sexual relationships. We say it’s ok to commit adultery because we deserve to be happy. Christian divorce rates are as high as the nation at large and the number one reason for divorce among Christians is no different than the world around us. Several denominations of the Protestant church have come out in favor of gay marriage and the gay lifestyle just so we can appear hip and with it in the culture. Pornography among Christian men is rampant just as it is in the culture. A study of Christian men that I heard about recently states that 69% of all Christian men have viewed pornography on the internet within the last 30 days. It is an addiction within the church that is not talked about enough. We, as Christians, are sinking into the culture.  To the point that in order to assimilate into the culture, we have to get rid of virtually the entire Old Testament and much of Paul’s writing and even a good bit of what Jesus said to justify how we have become like our culture as the church.


The complete judgment upon the Midianites, the complete annihilation of them, made me think of what our nation may face somewhere in the future…not because Jesus is coming back soon but rather that we are going to face God’s judgment for straying from our position as His favored nation:


31 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 so that they may 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.


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 enticed the Israelites to be unfaithful to the Lord in the Peor incident, 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.



The Midianites were a semi-nomad people, descended from Abraham and Keturah, occupying a tract of country east and southeast of Moab, which lay on the eastern coast of the Dead Sea. They seem to have been the principal instigators of the infamous scheme of seduction, planned to entrap the Israelites into the double crime of idolatry and licentiousness [ Numbers 25:1-3 Numbers 25:17 Numbers 25:18 ] by which, it was hoped, the Lord would withdraw from that people the benefit of His protection and favor. Moreover, the Midianites had rendered themselves particularly obnoxious by entering into a hostile league with the Amorites ( Joshua 13:21 ). The Moabites were at this time spared in consideration of Lot ( Deuteronomy 2:9 ) and because the measure of their iniquities was not yet full. God spoke of avenging “the children of Israel” ( Numbers 31:2 ); Moses spoke of avenging the Lord ( Numbers 31:3 ), as dishonor had been done to God and an injury inflicted on His people. The interests were identical. God and His people have the same cause, the same friends, and the same assailants. This, in fact, was a religious war, undertaken by the express command of God against idolaters, who had seduced the Israelites to practice their abominations.


Just as God expressed his judgment on a wicked nation, the Midianites, I fear that we as a nation are heading toward a judgment from God, all of us, unless we repent as a nation and obey God’s Word. If you are in sexual sin right now and are trying to justify it. Stop. Now. Flee from it. Help us as Christ followers become a more holy people and not try to justify our sins. Let us not be examples of holiness in our own lives so that we can be an example to a nation that sorely needs new examples. Let us pray that we return to God before He says He has had enough of our wickedness and executes His righteous judgment upon. We will not be able to say that we did not deserve it when that day comes unless we repent and turn to God.


Amen and Amen.

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