Moral Traps

Bible Reading: Numbers 25; 31
Listen to ch. 25
Listen to ch. 31

The Midianites knew they couldn't defeat the Israelites in battle, so their women seduced the Israelite men into immorality, and then into idolatry. God punished his people with a plague. Phinehas, who was "zealous for the honor of his God," put an end to the flagrant display of immorality, turning God's anger and bringing an end to the plague (25:1-16).

Later, when the Israelites fought against the Midianites, they killed every man, captured the women and children, and took all the "herds, flocks and goods as plunder." Moses, however, made them kill the young boys and the women who weren't virgins (the same women who had seduced them) (31:1-18). Though it seems drastic, he knew that they would pose a threat to the Israelites, both morally and in battle. The women would again seduce their men into immorality and idolatry, and the young boys would grow up and defeat them in battle.

Satan uses tricks, similar to those of the Midianites, to weaken and destroy us. When he can't penetrate our defenses with obvious attacks that we've prepared ourselves for, he devises crafty schemes we don't expect or recognize. We need to be watchful against his attempts to weaken our resistance and make us vulnerable to attack. We must run from temptation instead of flirting with it.

Moses was thorough in his attempt to eliminate the Midianite threat to his people. Similarly, we need to capture and kill the various lusts that war against our souls. We must stop sinful thoughts and desires before they grow and become strong enough to defeat us in moments of moral vulnerability.

We must also be mindful of how we allow others to influence our lives. Though it might seem drastic or harsh, we may need to remove some people from our inner circle who would slowly, even unsuspectingly, lead us away from the path of truth, down the road to defeat and destruction. "Do not let those evil people lead you away by the wrong they do. Be careful so you will not fall from your strong faith. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Glory be to him now and forever! Amen" (2 Peter 3:17-18 NCV). Let us seek out and develop friendships that will cause us to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ. Together, let us zealously defend God's honor.