Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that God blesses or punishes based on obedience or lack thereof. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to work on being obedient, so we can be blessed.
Read Numbers 25:10-13
I. God Rewards Zeal. The Lord sends word through Moses to Phinehas. Essentially, the Lord commends Phinehas for his zeal towards the Lord. In our Sunday School material, a covenant is made regarding Phinehas’ family being priests.
- God’s anger. Notice in vs. 11 that God was so angry with the sinning of His people that He was punishing them. In like manner, the reason we should learn and obey God’s will is so God will not be angry with us and so He will not punish us.
Too many behave as if God doesn’t get angry or punish sin, in the New Testament. This is a grave mistake. Let’s work on avoiding God’s anger and punishment, by living obedient lives.
- God’s favor. Notice in vs. 11 that that Phinehas was faithful to the Lord and received great favor. First, we should strive to be faithful. This means learning and obeying God’s will.
A part of God’s will includes there being some discipline among God’s people. We cannot have personal or church level excellence without some discipline.
Second, when we are faithful to God, we can expect some favor from God. And when God blesses us, it can have a generational impact. If we leave wealth for our descendants that can impact generations to come.
However, living a life of Christian discipleship can impact our children, grands, nieces, nephews, co-workers, and others, in ways that we may never full appreciate. Let’s work on being faithful and trusting God to do what is best with His favor.
Read I Samuel 2:30-36
II. God Punishes Sins. It is about 340 years after the first passage of scripture in our Sunday School material. The Lord is very angry with those serving as priests. Because of their sins, God has great punishment planned for them and their descendants
- Honoring the Lord. Notice in vs. 30, 32 that when the people honor God, they are honored, but when they despise (scorn or deride) God, they are disdained (scorned and belittled). Notice further that God can punish the wrong doers, while blessing others in the area.
First, we should work on honoring God, so we can be honored. At the core of honoring God are the issues of accepting Jesus as our savior by faith and living lives focused on loving God and others, as we love ourselves.
Second, we should avoid despising God, so we don’t have to deal with His disdaining us. Our lives are challenging enough without adding God’s punishment to the list.
Third, if we are living right, we should thank God that He is able to punish the wrong doers, while continuing to bless us. Let’s work on being people of honor/obedience, not sin.
- Maturing in the Lord. Notice in vss. 31, 33 that a part of the punishment was the people would not see old age. Many would not have strength. And some would even be blind.
On one hand, everyone who dies young is not being punished by God. But on the other hand, one of the punishments that God can administer is taking a person’s life, before they see advanced year.
A further point in this area is that it is such a blessing to see advanced years with a reasonable portion of health and strength. American culture tends to put a great deal of value on being a young adult.
However, there are many young adults who will not live to be wise and healthy senior adults. Let’s work on appreciating the blessings of getting older and more mature in the Lord. “Mature in the Lord” means we are studying and obeying God’s word, not just getting older.
- Faithful in our roles. Notice in vs. 35 that the faithful priests were known for doing what was on the heart and mind of God. In like manner, we should strive to be faithful in the roles that God has called us to serve in.
Every believer is called to be a witness for the Lord. We should be a witness with both our lips and our lives. Every believer is called to stand on God’s word. This calls for prayerful study of and obedience to God’s word, the Bible.
Remember God’s word teaches us not only to study, serve, and give. But it also teaches us to follow leadership, as we strive to make our churches and communities more of what God is calling them to be. Let’s work on being faithful in the roles that God has called us to serve in.
Conclusion: Let’s work on being obedient, so we can be
blessed. God has much for those who obey His will.