God says there is a time when men and women can truly be “dumb as an ox,” but it has nothing to do with intelligence, rather with our attitude toward correction.
Numbers 31 & 32:
The war rages on
Here in chapter 31 God ordered the destruction of a nation by ordering the killing of all the males and women of child-bearing age. This would prevent them from becoming a nation again and trying to curse Israel as they did with Balaam (Num. 22-24).
It would, also, prevent them from drawing the Israelites into idolatry and sexual immorality as they did in Numbers 25. The Israelites who had participated in those acts had already been put to death and now Divine justice was carried out on the adulteresses themselves and the ungodly nation as a whole.
It’s hard to read some of these Old Testament passages without a clear understanding of God and His essential goodness. The Scripture says, “… God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 Jn. 1.5). There is no evil in God. What He declares is always right.
We must also remember that there has been a war going on since the Garden of Eden. Satan has been trying to destroy the Seed of the woman, who would be the Messiah, and God has been protecting His plan to save all those who would eventually trust in Him and be saved. Throughout the Old Testament and the New we see the effects of this war and Satan’s attempts to thwart God’s plan.
The Book of Esther shows us what happens when God’s commands in this area are not carried out. It tells the story of one man, Haman, a descendant of Agag, king of a tribe God had commanded King Saul to destroy. Saul disobeyed God and allowed some of them to remain alive. In the Book of Esther their descendant Haman tried to wipe out all the Jews living in Persia.
That battle still rages as Satan tries to prevent the seed of God’s Word from being implanted in the hearts of those who are not saved. And with those of us who are, He does all He can to keep us focused on ourselves, in strife with others, or caught up in the affairs of this life, so we’ll be unfruitful for the Kingdom of God.
Your sin will find you out
One last thought from our Old Testament reading, there’s a great verse in chapter 32. “But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the LORD; and be sure your sin will find you out” (v. 23). Moses is addressing the tribes of Reuben and Gad concerning their intention to help their brothers conquer the Promised Land, but it is a universal truth. When we try to cover our sins, God uncovers them, but when we confess and forsake them, God in His mercy covers them.
The weapons of our warfare
In this Psalm David asks for God’s intervention and help.
2 Corinthians 10.4-5 says, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”
And Ephesians 6.12 says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
We, too, need to call on Divine help and let our weapons be spiritual ones: prayer and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God!
The one who hates correction
“Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.” The word translated “stupid” comes from a word meaning “to graze.” One who hates to be corrected is unteachable like an ignorant animal. Not a very flattering picture.
For Him or against Him
How like us Peter was. He had seen too much truth to completely walk away. But his fear and confusion kept him from admitting that he believed in Jesus. So he hung back and watched from a distance (vv. 66-72). But that was a no-win situation for Him just as it is for us. Sooner or later we must take a stand, either for Him or against Him!