Numbers 25-26; I Chronicles 7:14-29
God said this about Phinehas, a priest and a grandson of Aaron: “… he was as zealous as I am for my honor among them…” (Numbers 25:11) Phinehas obeyed God and eradicated sin from among the Jews. And his actions were brutal.
Phinehas was zealous for God’s honor.
God is asking me to consider whether or not I even give a thought about His honor among my friends, my community, our nation, and the world. And if I do, what does defending His honor look like?
I can’t tell you the number of times as a middle school counselor, that I had to deal with fighting children over what one said about another’s mother. That mother’s child would often defend their mother’s honor by punching the child who would dare say anything against her. And the mother’s child would absolutely declare their right to do so.
Is God honored in our world today? Are we defending Him? Are we as zealous about defending His honor as a middle schooler is zealous about defending his mother? Are we as zealous about God’s honor as He is? Would we fight for His honor if it came to that?
I know Scripture tells us the meek inherit the earth, that we are to turn the other cheek, love our enemies, and live at peace with everyone. And I think we mistake that for tolerance. How do we balance that, and also defend God’s honor?
For me, it might mean I need to start mentioning it when a friend uses God’s Name as a punctuation mark. I need to speak up when someone attributes something to God that’s not consistent with Scripture. (which means I need to know what Scripture says)
I need to be, with Paul, “not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.” (Romans 1:16) And I need to zealously defend God’s honor, with an attitude of love. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.
Although, Phinehas ran a spear through the couple who were dishonoring God. Please don’t do that.
But maybe eradicating sin for me means ending relationships with those who turn a deaf ear when I defend God’s honor. Maybe it means turning off certain TV shows, and writing the network a civil letter telling them why I did. It might mean doing my homework before I buy something to see what the company supports. I don’t know. I’m just brainstorming with myself here. I hope you’ll do the same and consider how you can defend God’s honor today.
That is, if you want to defend His honor, or if you see the need to. But don’t miss what else this passage of Scripture tells us. God made a covenant of peace with Phinehas for defending His honor. I believe our efforts, no matter how insignificant we think they might be, do not go unnoticed by the One whose honor we defend.
God, I want to honor you with every breath I take. I want to be aware when you are dishonored in my hearing, and I ask you to give me the courage to speak up. I want to honor you with the choices I make, and the words I say. I want to honor You because You deserve honor, now and forever.