Phineas…Your Passion Must Appease God’s Passion In Order To Stop This!
**Volume Reading: The Book of Nehemiah
Phineas…Is Your Passion Any Good?
Passion– the state of being willing to suffer for a desired end
There are many passionate people in the world. The muslims are passionate, the kkk is passionate, presidential elects are passionate, heck…gangs are passionate! Some of you remember Charles Manson? He was passionate…passionately insane! And so the question is, is the passion any good if it is wrong? Are you willing to stand by your decision even when wrath comes?
Cozbi was a passionate woman. She was willing to “shack-up” with an Israelite even though it meant that their union would cause disease. But she was passionate for him so she decided that it was worth dying for. Peor was a passionate man. He was willing to “shack-up” with a Moabitish woman even though it meant bringing a disease into his community and killing 24,000 members. But he was passionate for her, even willing to die in order to be with her.
This sort of passion is bad news. There is such a thing as being passionately wrong, contrary to our new standard of what is politically correct. We’d rather be called a slur than to be called wrong nowadays. But the reality is that when our wrongness reaches a certain point, God will be passionate about correcting us.
However, right in the middle of this ordeal, God uses this opportunity to show us a truth. It’s what I like to refer to as a “teaching moment”. A teaching moment is when you are in the midst of one lesson, and something off-topic occurs that is useful enough to pull you off course for a moment of observation and conversation. This is what God does with Israel on the steps of Moab, before they overcome Jericho.
God says: Let me teach you the things you should be passionate about, willing to suffer to achieve, perhaps even forfeiting your life. Not everything is worth suffering for and God teaches His people that Good passion is Godly passion:
- Phineas was ahead of Moses in being zealous to find a solution for the sickness in Israel/the body. Being passionate about Public Community Sin is good passion.
- Korah was punished with death but his sons survived and stayed in the community. Being passionate about preserving the good members of a bad family is good passion.
- The Naamanites later have a descendant named Naaman who becomes Syrian and Elisha heals him. Being passionate about restoring God’s lost people to their rightful relationship with him is good passion.
- Moses allocated shares for Israel in the land- Being passionate about making sure that everyone benefits from the blessings and not just a few is good passion.
- None of those who wandered in the wilderness enrolled in the promised class. Being passionate about keeping God’s Commandments/Instructions/Decisions, even if it affects you personally, is good passion.
- The daughters’ of Zelophahad stuck up for themselves and their father’s name when he was overlooked. Being passionate about honoring your parents when they can not honor themselves, is good passion.
- Moses accepted the fact that he wasn’t going to be allowed to go, but he was concerned about who would lead the people. Being passionate about the future generations and the care of the people of God is good passion.
- Joshua was an appointed leader but he still had to report to the priest for direction from God. Being passionate about keeping God’s holy order is good passion.
- Moses took a census of all of the people of the community by house. Being passionate about keeping the community healthy, whole, Godly, and unified is good passion.
- God stresses the offerings again. Being passionate about an effective and ferverent prayer life is good passion.
Know the difference between your passion and God’s passion. Not knowing is the difference between suffering for a good end verses just plain suffering!
Phineas…Is Your Passion Prophetable/Profitable?
As quiet as it is kept, being passionate makes you prone to depression. Elijah was a passionate man. Because of this he became discouraged, isolated, and yes the great prophet became depressed. But God knows how to deal with those who are passionate for his name’s sake.
You see, God is passionate too. God shows Elijah the strength of His own passion. He brings a great & mighty wind, then splitting of mountains and rocks, lastly earthquakes & fire. But in all of the passionate ways God could express himself he shows Elijah that he is not in those ways. Instead, he whispers gently, so gently that Elijah had to come out of his cave (his depression, his isolation, and his recluse) in order to hear him. When he heard God, he realized that God was saying the same thing that he had been saying all along. He hadn’t changed. God had not changed his thoughts nor his ways. God was steady– unmoved by what was happening with Ahab, and the prophets, and even with Elijah. The truth was that God was unmoved by what was happening in the world. And that is when God had a teaching moment with Elijah.
Passion is necessary from generation to generation in order to preserve a remnant and that is the only reason it is good. So he says to Elijah: Go back and teach, passionately, not in fear, but in understanding, for the remnant’s sake. Don’t allow your passion to be self-destructive, not in the world, and not for the world.
At the end of the day, the Lord was saying, “Elijah, I understand your passion- I gave it to you, but I’ve got it all under control. Go anoint the next prophet who will display the next passion that is needed for the next generation.”
Phineas…Can Your Passion Resurrect Life?
When the public saw Jesus being passionate about what was happening in the temple they quetioned his authority. Jesus promptly corrected them: Even when this temple is destroyed, the one standing before you as a building and the one standing before you as a man, I will resurrect it. It’s not about my authority it’s about my passion.
By making the temple a den of thieves they were preparing for the temple to be destroyed again and again. Jesus was giving a clear warning. He was teaching the remnant something they didn’t understand. When you treat God and the things of God with comtempt, God’s passion becomes aroused against you. But the one who rises up in zeal and becomes righteously angry for God, protects the people from the wrath of God by matching His passion. Jesus’ passion in the temple protected the remnant of his day from God allowing the Romans to destroy the temple sooner. It also gave them the time they needed to secure a new meeting place (the church fellowship) outside of the building that could withstand the destruction (judgment) that was coming.
Don’t get it twisted, God is going to judge the whole world. If you take this warning seriously, you are wise. The wise person is like Noah who was obedient in building an ark while he preached to a lost generation. If you do not take this warning seriously and you placate, answering back condescendingly, as if the teacher is a child who has excitedly gotten hold of a new toy that can’t be parted with, you are foolish. Every generation the Lord provides a passionate teacher who knows how to teach what is good. That teacher protects the remnant. The remnant are those whom, had not the Lord provided a way of escape, would be destroyed along with everyone else. The remnant believe! They raise up and become the next passionate leaders of their day who prepare for the Lord to return.
May God protect the zeal of the remnant who await him with fervor; building the body (Israel) and the wall of defence decade by decade, with their tools in one hand and their spears in the other– some even willing to die guarding it. We salute those who’ve done it and we salute those who have yet to take this vital position!