In the last parashah, Pinchas, the grandson of Aaron, had just run through with a spear a prince of the tribe of Simeon named Zimri and the Midianite woman he was using to mock Moses and his warning against being involved with the Midianites.
God says that thanks to Pinchas’ zeal for God, the plague God sent had been stopped, and he promises his peace on Pinchas and the position of the priesthood to Pinchas and his descendants, forever.
If you prefer to watch a video, click on this link: Watch the video.
God commands Moses to take another census, which shows that the generation doomed to die in the desert have all died.
The daughters of Zelophehad came to Moses because their father died and left no sons and they didn’t want their inheritance to be forfeited. God told Moses that women could inherit if there were no sons, but they must marry within their tribe to maintain the proper distribution of the land.
Moses, now coming to the end of his journey, asks God to appoint a leader to bring the people into the land. God appoints Joshua, who Moses charges before all the people.
The parashah ends with God reminding Moses about the daily sacrifices to be made, as well as those for the High Holy Days, so that the people, this new generation, will know what they are to do when they enter the land.
As I was reading this, it struck me that the action of one man, Pinchas, was enough to make a change in the lives of every single Israelite that was present when the man, Zimri, mocked Moses and God in front of everyone, even in the midst of the plague that God sent to punish the sin of the people.
Initially, God had Moses and the Chieftains hang those who had aligned themselves with Ba’al, but when Pinchas showed his righteous anger from his zeal for God, God stopped the plague. It seems that hanging those who had sinned wasn’t enough to stop the plague, but Pinchas’ actions were inspired by such an overwhelming love for God that it, alone, was enough to turn God’s anger from the people.
My question is this: can one person’s actions be so significant as to change God’s plan? It seems that God was willing to have the plague continue, even after the sinners were hung, but Pinchas changed all that with his one deed of righteousness.
Shaul, in his letter to the Romans, said that through the actions of one man sin entered the world, and by the actions of one man salvation became attainable. In the case of the Israelites, there were many who sinned but it was the actions of just one man who turned God’s anger away from everyone.
Can I do that? Can you do that? Can anyone of us do something so wonderful in God’s sight that it will change how God treats all people?
I believe the answer is yes; anyone can affect what God does. Now, do I think I can? Well, that’s a different issue, as I don’t believe I am anywhere near “holy” or “zealous” enough to initiate such actions; but, then again, who am I to tell God what he can or cannot do through me?
The lesson I see in today’s parashah is that when we have a heart for God and do not allow what others think to influence our showing that love and devotion to God, we can initiate actions on God’s part that can affect many people. Within a congregation, within a discussion group, and maybe even within a simple, small ministry such as mine.
So do something BIG for God today, and see what happens. If you don’t notice anything, then do something BIG for God tomorrow and every day after that. You may just do something, one day, which will cause God to bless others.
Hey, even if you don’t see how this influences God’s actions in other people’s lives, I guarantee it will have a positive influence on your life.
That’s it for this week. Please remember to share these messages and subscribe to the website and my YouTube channel, as well.
L’hitraot and Shabbat Shalom!