By: Ely Lagajino
Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.” 1 Corinthians 10:7 (NIV)
One of the Catanduanes State University high schools invited us to attend their Christmas program during our PUC student missionary days. They assigned Brod Jerson to deliver a Christmas message.
After the program, the fourth-year class invited me, and one of our lady volunteers to join the party while Jerson and his companion attended the class party in the other section. During the program, each of us was given a rolled piece of paper with a written task. I got a dance number, but I exchanged it with my seatmate ‘deliver a Christmas joke”, it read. Maybe my friend’s task wasn’t complicated because she seemed excited about her task. When her time came, she danced with her boy seatmate. She impressed the whole class, who said, “wow”, as they applauded. After the food was served, dancing for all followed. She danced all throughout the entire program.
While the Israelites camped beside the Jordan River, the Israelites engaged in idolatry. Moses became busy planning for the Promised Land invasion. Moab and Midian combined their religions, to weaken Israel’s faith in God by sending beautiful and handsome Midianites into the Israel camp. They made friends with the Israelites. Later, young and old found themselves captivated by the charm of the Midianites (Numbers 31:17).
Then Balaam, the mastermind, convinced the Israelites to join the festival for the Moabites’ god Baal-Peor. Soon the Israelites participated in drinking, dancing, and sexual immorality as part of the rites of idol worship. This continued for several months until Moses discovered that the Israelite had been practicing the rituals inside the camp.
After a while a pestilence crept into the camp. Moses called for repentance. While Israel wept before God to save their lives. Zimri, a noble of Israel intoxicated with wine, entered a tent with a harlot. Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the high priest, executed and punished those involved. By then the epidemic stopped, but it claimed 24,000 lives. The Israelites battled against the Midianites, and Balaam lost his life during the fight (Numbers 31:8).
PPp.497-507 Numbers 25