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Strike First

Daily Reading: Numbers 25

Scripture Focus: Harass the Midianites and strike them down, for they have harassed you with their wiles. (Numbers 25.17-18)

Devotional Thought: Football is a tough sport! The players are all the time knocking each other down - even when their opponent is not directly in the line of action, a good offensive player will try to knock him to the ground. Why? Because if they don't strike first that very player might be the one to tackle the ball runner downfield.

Numbers 25 is not a 'pleasant' chapter to read. But, sin and its consequences are not pleasant, are they? While we do not deal with sinners in the same way that Moses had to - protecting and preserving the people - there is a principle in this chapter from which we can benefit. The entry of sin into the nation had caused a plague. Twenty-four thousand people died over the course of the plague. As the evil grew, Phinehas dealt decisively with it, and the plague of sin was stopped before it could destroy the entire people.

The problem was not solved yet, however. God instructed Moses to, "harass the Midianites and strike them down." These Midianites represented the presence of sin among the people. It had to go.

Jesus, of course, taught us to love the sinner and to treat others with dignity and compassion. Are we willing, however, to deal with sin in the same way Phinehas did? When sin starts to destroy us and the people around us, will we destroy sin in our lives? Or, do we sugar-coat sin and make allowances for it? It is so easy to do in today's culture of acceptance and tolerance for all manner of deviancy.

Let us strike down sin before it strikes us down!

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for your forgiveness and mercy. Our sins are forgiven by your sacrifice. Help us, O Lord, not to make allowances for it, but to strike it down in our lives wherever we find it. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: 1 In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. 2 Deliver me, O LORD, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue. 3 What shall be given to you, and what more shall be done to you, you deceitful tongue? 4 A warrior's sharp arrows, with glowing coals of the broom tree! 5 Woe to me, that I sojourn in Meshech, that I dwell among the tents of Kedar! 6 Too long have I had my dwelling among those who hate peace. 7 I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war! (Psalms 120:1-7)

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