THE SIN OF PEOR
There are many temptations that plague us, as Christians, because we live in permissive society that we do. Sexual sins like fornication, adultery, and homosexuality are some of ones that are most prevalent. Even those in position of leadership, within body of Christ, need not think that they are beyond being tempted in these areas. In 1 Corinthians 10:12 it says, "Therefore, let any one who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall" (RSV). In book of Numbers, chapter 25, we see a perfect example of this when leaders, of people of Israel, found themselves caught up with sexual permissiveness that pervaded their day. Their experience is commonly referred to as seduction of Israel, or sin of Peor, and it speaks very harshly to those involved in sexual immorality--especially those in positions of leadership.
Before Israel could cross over Jordan river, to enter into land of Canaan, they had one last mountain to climb; mount of Peor. It was only thing that stood between them and promised land. Peor was located near mount of Pisgah and overlooked land of Jeshimon; a wilderness that embraced both sides of Dead Sea. While they were staying in land of Shittim, near mount of Peor, Israelite men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite and Midianite women. They attended their sacrifices and bowed down, and worshipped their god (the god of Peor); causing Lord's anger to burn against them.
Because Israel had allowed themselves to be seduced by Moabites and Midianites, Lord instructed Moses to take leaders of people, kill them, and expose them in broad day light; so that His wrath would be appeased. When Moses and Israelites heard God's decree, they all wept before Him at tent of meeting ... all of them, that is, except for one Israelite man named Zimri. He blatantly defied Lord by bringing a Midianite women into his tent, in front of Moses and whole assembly of Israel, parading his lust before them as they were weeping. Moved by righteous indignation, Phinehas, priest, followed Zimri into his tent, took a sword in his hand, and drove it through him and into Midianite woman's body; killing them both. Zimri, Israelite man who was killed, was a leader of a Simeonite family. The Midianite woman, Cozbi, was a daughter of Zur; a tribal chief of Midian.
The meaning of names, that are mentioned within this passage, are very suggestive and might be able to help us understand, more fully, all that occurred in seduction of Israel. Peor, name of mountain Israel faced, for example, means "opening." Pisgah, peak which stood near by, means "fortress." Anytime we allow an unsurrendered area to remain within our lives, we provide Satan with an opening; a means of entering in. Once he's given access to a certain area, he is then able to enter in and build a fortress or stronghold there. There is a possibility that this is exactly what Zimri did.
In Deuteronomy 1:15 and Numbers 23:9, we see where Zimri was once a wise and respected man among community of Israel. He was someone who had separated himself unto Lord and was chosen by Moses to occupy a position of leadership among people. Zimri's name means"celebrated" and, being a man of his standing, he would have indeed been celebrated among his peers. He appears to be someone who had everything going for him--until he met Cozbi. Cozbi's name means "deceitful" and Zimri's lust for her presented Satan with opening he needed. Before Zimri knew it, he'd been caught up in deceitfulness of sin and was hopelessly ensnared by his own passions and lusts. It's interesting to note that Cozbi, woman responsible for Zimri's downfall, was daughter of Zur; which means, "the rock." Cozbi was a daughter of rock.