[Notes from Junior High Camp with guest speaker Brian Porzio]
Do you ever have the urge to do something crazy when you see something bad happen? You are not alone. In Numbers 25:1-9, a man named Phineus did just that. God’s people, the Israelites, were living lives far from purity and holiness. They were sinning. Sin, put simply, is acting on a desire, thought or temptation that is against God- all sin is disobedience to God. So the Israelites were very much going against God and acting in great impurity. God has called us- his church, his people- to be different and he sets us free to live a pure and holy life. Sin, however, compromises our ability to know God. Thankfully, God’s grace is infinite but God wants us to live our lives in purity.
You may be wondering what purity looks like. Purity is when your thoughts, actions, desires, behaviors, and words are in alignment to God’s, removing sin from your life. Sin is destructive. What destroys the sacredness of our lives? For Israel, in Numbers 25, they were letting sexual perversion to corrupt their lives. Sin entered and began destroying the people. Because the people were not being obedient to God, allowing for the sin to remain, God sent a famine to the land until the sin was dealt with. You see, in our lives, sin will destroy us if left to itself. It is shameful, leads to guilt, and prevents our testimony to have credibility. To the world, we look exactly the same, or even like hypocrites, saying we are holy, but living in direct opposition to what God has called us to- purity.
Everyone worships something. The question is not do you worship but what do you worship? Is it sex, much like the Israelites? Is it media- video games, music, movies, etc.? It is some form of addiction [alcohol, drugs, pornography, etc.]? Whatever you spend the most time, money, passion for, if not directed to God is an idol. Whatever sin that might be in your life, that is keeping you from the purity and holiness God has called you to needs to be dealt with immediately. Holiness has never been about what you think but God and purity is caring about God’s heart. God is calling us to a higher standard. We were meant to pour God’s “living water” [that is in us] and pour it into others. We cannot do that with consistent sin in our lives.
Look at it this way: Take an empty pitcher and add clear fresh water to it. It is pure and and contaminated. Add skim milk to it. The water is mirky but still relatively pure. Then add chocolate milk. The orange juice. Not too much, but just a little. Then put a few spoonfuls ketchup, mustard, and mayo. By now the water is obviously no longer what is once was. It is impure, dirty, and completely contaminated. We find ourselves adding crap to our lives. Add finely broken pieces of glass. Slowly, but surely, we find ourselves with something fatal in our lives, just like the glass in the pitcher. The shards of glass are almost unnoticeable but surely fatal.
You see, like Phineus in Israel, he saw that sin, impurity, and unholiness had become part of their lives and needed to be stopped. He saw a man from his tribe bring into the Israelite camp a pagan woman so he could sleep with her. With that he grabbed a spear and drove it through BOTH people and immediately the famine and deaths in the Israelite people ceased. This story is not about the punishment on the two individuals that were killed, but instead Phineus’ actions against something evil that was destroying their lives. He drove a spear through it.
What do you need to take up a spear against? What sin is in your life? What impurity or unholiness is keeping you from God? You cannot love God and live an impure life. That is not option and this is not a game. One day you end up on one side or another- there is not fence. Take up your spear or become a casualty of your own sin.