Following Your Feelings


God’s Story For Your Life

Following Your Feelings
=======================
Read Numbers
25:1-18
====================
While the Israelites were camped at Acacia
Grove, some of the men defiled
themselves by having sexual relations with
local Moabite women. These women
invited them to attend sacrifices to their
gods, so the Israelites feasted
with them and worshiped the gods of Moab. In
this way, Israel joined in the
worship of Baal of Peor, causing the LORD’s
anger to blaze against his people.

The LORD issued the following command
to Moses: “Seize all the ringleaders and
execute them before the LORD in
broad daylight, so his fierce anger will turn
away from the people of
Israel.”

So Moses ordered Israel’s judges, “Each of you must put to death
the men under
your authority who have joined in worshiping Baal of
Peor.”

Just then one of the Israelite men brought a Midianite woman into
his tent,
right before the eyes of Moses and all the people, as everyone was
weeping at
the entrance of the Tabernacle. When Phinehas son of Eleazar and
grandson of
Aaron the priest saw this, he jumped up and left the assembly. He
took a spear
and rushed after the man into his tent. Phinehas thrust the
spear all the way
through the man’s body and into the woman’s stomach. So the
plague against the
Israelites was stopped, but not before 24,000 people had
died. / (Numbers
25:1-9)

Reflect
=======
Dealing with emotions
and desires can be tricky. When do you listen to them,
and when do you hold
them in check? This story illustrates both sides of
that
issue.

Phinehas’s actions reveals that some anger is proper and
justified. Phinehas
was angry because of his zeal for the Lord. But how can
we know when our anger
is appropriate and when it should be restrained? Ask
these questions when you
become angry: (1) Why am I angry? (2) Whose rights
are being violated (mine or
another’s)? (3) Is the truth (a principle of God)
being violated? If only your
rights are at stake, it may be wiser to keep
angry feelings under control. But
if the truth is at stake, anger may be
justified, although violence is usually
the wrong way to express
it.

The Bible doesn’t say how the Israelite men got involved in with the
Midianite
women. At first, they didn’t think about worshiping idols; they
were just
interested in sex. Before long they started attending local feasts
and family
celebrations that involved idol worship. Sacred prostitution was a
common
practice among Canaanite religions. Soon the Israelite men were in
over their
heads, absorbed in the practices of the pagan culture. Their
desire for
pleasure loosened their commitment to God’s
laws.

Respond
=======
Have you relaxed your commitment in order to
indulge your desires? Are you
tempted to redefine God’s standards to get what
you want? When you are
overwhelmed by your emotions and desires, talk with
God about them and where
they’re coming from. Ask God for strength to handle
your emotions
rightly—whether to act on them or to control them—and ask for
strength to live
his way.

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