In Numbers 31, we see God instructing Moses to direct 12,000 troops (1,000 from each tribe of Israel) to engage in a Holy War against the Midianites who had led them to sin against God. This war allows a glimpse of how God deals with sin.
1. Sin does not go unpunished.
V2-3 “Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites: afterward shalt thou be gathered unto thy people. And Moses spake unto the people, saying, Arm some of yourselves unto the war, and let them go against the Midianites, and avenge the LORD of Midian.”
2. God’s judgment of sin is thorough.
V7-8a “And they warred against the Midianites, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew all the males. And they slew the kings of Midian, beside the rest of them that were slain;”
V10-11 “And they burnt all their cities wherein they dwelt, and all their goodly castles, with fire. And they took all the spoil, and all the prey, both of men and of beasts.”
V15-18 “And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD. Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.”
3. God will make clean EVERYTHING touched by sin.
V21-24 “And Eleazar the priest said unto the men of war which went to the battle, This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD commanded Moses; Only the gold, and the silver, the brass, the iron, the tin, and the lead, Every thing that may abide the fire, ye shall make it go through the fire, and it shall be clean: nevertheless it shall be purified with the water of separation: and all that abideth not the fire ye shall make go through the water. And ye shall wash your clothes on the seventh day, and ye shall be clean, and afterward ye shall come into the camp.”
LESSON - In a world where sin seems to prosper, this passage reminds us again that God is patient but also just. He MUST punish ALL sin! When the time for judgment comes, no sin will go unpunished because God sees all and knows all. Were it not for Christ taking our punishment for us, we also would have no hope (Rom. 5:8). All of heaven and earth will be judged by fire and made new again because they have been touched by sin as well (Rev. 21:1). There are two points to consider from this passage:
1) No one gets away with sin.
-Everyone and everything touched by sin will be judged by God.
2) The lives we live should express thankfulness to God for Jesus.
-Jesus took upon Himself the judgment which we rightfully deserved. His blood makes ALL forgiveness possible.