August 14, 2008

Playing With Fire

The stories in the Book of Numbers are rich. Many of them are missed because we often don't take the time to drudge through books of the Bible like Numbers. There's just so many darn, well, you know...numbers! But in Numbers 24-25 we have a lot to learn from Israel's ignorance and disobedience.

Balaam has prophesied that God will "crush the foreheads" of the Moabites. He lays out in no uncertain terms that these nations that have defied Him, that have come against His people, and that are in rebellion against Him will be "conquered and destroyed". This should be a pretty clear warning to Israel to steer clear of these people. If they've angered God enough that He's going to "crush their foreheads" and "crack their skulls" this should be a pretty good indicator that God's people shouldn't fraternize and socialize with them. You would think.

In Numbers 25 we find Israel "camped at Acacia...". And where would Acacia be located? Right smack in the middle of the Moabites. And what happens? The men start being seduced by the Moabite women and soon enough Israel is "joining in the worship of Baal...." And the story gets worse before it gets better.

In our series "Fireproof", this leads us to the point: God calls us to get as far away from the fire as we can. When we see sin & temptation strolling down the road toward us we are called to get as far away from it as possible, not setting up camp right in the middle of it's path. Paul reminds us of this in 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 as he says, "If you think you're standing strong, be careful (watch out), for you too may fall in the same sin." We are NOT fireproof.

So, are you seeing how close you can get to the fire without getting burned? Are you "camped at Acacia"? Are you playing with fire? Or are you running the other way? Be careful - if you set up camp - you may find yourself "joining in" the very thing God was trying to lead you away from. And if you go there, you'll probably get burned.

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