Summary: Phineas (Pinchas in Hebrew) made a significant "point" in his jealousy for God. He took initiative to honor Him.
1. [Doors of Opportunity Video Clip (Sermoncentral.com)
2. We Have the Opportunity to Become the Model for Someone
"In 1926, a wealthy Toronto lawyer named Charles Vance Millar died; leaving behind him a will that amused and electrified the citizens of his Canadian province. Millar, a bachelor with a wicked sense of humor, stated clearly that he intended his last will and testament to be an "uncommon and capricious" document. Because he had no close heirs to inherit his fortune, he divided his money and properties in a way that amused him and aggravated his newly chosen heirs. Here are just a few examples of his strange bequests:
"He left shares in the Ontario Jockey Club to two prominent men who were well known for their opposition to racetrack betting.
"He bequeathed shares in the O'Keefe Brewery Company (a Catholic beer manufacturer) to every Protestant minister in Toronto.
"But his most famous bequest was that he would leave the bulk of his fortune to the Toronto woman who gave birth to the most children in the ten years after his death.
"This clause in his will caught the public imagination. The country was entering the Great Depression. As people struggled to meet even their most basic economic responsibilities, the prospect of an enormous windfall was naturally quite alluring. Newspaper reporters scoured the public records to find likely contenders for what became known as The Great Stork Derby. Nationwide excitement over the Stork Derby built quickly.
"In 1936, four mothers, proud producers of nine children apiece in a ten year time span, divided up the Charles Millar's bequest, each receiving what was a staggering sum in those days - $125,000." (From Sermon Central sermon by Joanna Beveridge) -- Did they love kids or money?
3. The bible gives a clear picture of both the good and bad sides of its characters -- propagandists will slant/spin things to advance their point of view, God gives a balanced look
a. People it imitate (1 Corinthians 11.1) and to avoid
b. Only Yeshua (Jesus) lived the sinless life -- 2 Corinthians 5.21 (CJB)
God made this sinless man be a sin offering on our behalf, so that in union with him we might fully share in God's righteousness."
4. Last Torah Portion -- Balak and Balaam
a. Balaam's attempt to profit at the expense of others
b. Balak's (King of Moab) attempt to destroy the people of God
c. Failed because of the presence and power of God
5. This week -- Bamidbar (Numbers) 25.1-13 -- The attack Continues
a. Opportunity to avoid evil
b. Opportunity to imitate good
I. Strong Opposition to the People of God
A. Opposition in Various Forms
1. Outright War and Oppression Against the Hebrews -- Amalek; Moab; Egypt
2. Subtle Actions as Here with Midian -- Ephesians 6.10-13
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
B. Opposition in an Ultimate Adversary
1. Satan -- 1 Peter 5.8
2. Filled with hate towards people -- God loves; Satan hates
a. Image of God
b. Discipleship of Yeshua -- Luke 6.40 (CJB)
A talmid is not above his rabbi; but each one, when he is fully trained, will be like his rabbi.
3. Great animosity toward Yeshua (Jesus) -- Matthew 4; crucifixion
II. Significant Opportunities for the People of God
A. Every Situation is an Opportunity to Honor God -- Deuteronomy 6.4ff
I read about a high school music appreciation class where the students were asked the difference between listening and hearing. It took a while for anybody to raise their hand, but eventually one of them did they gave this insightful definition:
"Listening is WANTING to hear."
B. This Occasion of Idolatry Dishonored God
1. God's Instructions -- No other gods; no images; 3000 and the golden calf
2. Idolatry is dangerous
Ralph Waldo Emerson hit the nail on the head when he said:
The Gods we worship write their names on our faces, be sure of that. And a man will worship something --have no doubt about that, either. He may think that his tribute is paid in secret in the dark recesses of his heart--but it will out. That which dominates will determine his life and character. Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshiping we are becoming.