THE SIN OF PEOR Written by Dot McGinnis
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.
- Morning Joy - Written by Dot McGinnis
- Morning Joy -
The true testimony of Dot McGinnis
I can't help but remember one of most trying experiences of my life--my bout with severe mental depression. I once heard a woman on a Christian talk show describe her experience with mental illness by saying, "I've walked streets of hell." I can find no better words to express what I've experienced than these. My hell began in 1971, when my father died. I was nineteen years old at time. It was first time death had ever touched our family, and we were all devastated. I didn't realize then exactly how devastated I really was; or that this was to be just beginning of what was to become a horrible nightmare for me. Four years after my father's death, I experienced a near nervous breakdown. The doctors said that I just wasn't accepting fact that he was really gone. To add to my sorrow, my fiancÚ, a man I'd been dating since I was 17, decided that he was unable to cope with my illness; so, he broke our engagement and within a year married someone else. I was crushed. I remember thinking, "Oh God, how much more can I possibly stand?" A few months later, my grandmother died and within six weeks of her death my grandfather followed. (They said that he died of a broken heart.) My fiancÚ's leaving and my grandparents death sent me even deeper into depression. To add to my misery, one by one, I watched as all my friends deserted me. They just couldn't stand to see me way I was. They found themselves unable to cope with my inability to cope. My spirit sank even lower still. Within a four year time period, I had lost my father, almost had a complete breakdown, lost man I was planning to marry, lost both of my grandparents and all of my friends. My world had come to an end. Reality--sanity--seemed just beyond my reach. I had to see a psychiatrist three times a week and was unable to work for nearly two years. Some of memory of all that happened to me has been erased from my mind and for that I am grateful. But periodically it comes back, and I remember. I remember how I would sit and stare for hours, or would sit and cry. My mind was ruled by tormenting thoughts; unrealistic fears took control of me. All I wanted to do was die. I remember that my family had to hide all of knives and scissors from me because they feared that I'd try to commit suicide. My psychiatrist kept threatening to send me to Somerset State Hospital because I was so preoccupied with death. But even though death would have been a welcomed relief for me, I just didn't have nerve to do it. I used to pray and ask God to please let me die. There were so many people who wanted to live but were sick and dying. I used to ask Him to let their sickness fall on me so that I could die in their place. Still, death escaped me. I can relate to many of sentiments Job expressed when walking through his valley of despair. "Why is light given to those in misery and life to bitter of soul, to those who long for death that does not come, who search for it more than for hidden treasure ... Oh that I might have my request, that God would grant what I hope for, that God will be willing to crush me, to let loose his hand and cut me off!" (Job 3:20-22; 6:8-9). There just didn't seem to be any light at end of tunnel for me-- at least, none that I could see. I had no hope--only a constant tormented feeling and a sickening dreadful fear that it would never ever end.