Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, has turned my anger away from the Israelites; for he was as zealous as I am for my honor among them, so that in my zeal I did not put an end to them (Numbers 25:11 NIV).
Four things emerge from this incident. The most important thing is that God is zealous for His honor. He cannot allow us to treat His commands lightly and more than that defile ourselves with idol worship and sexual immorality. Quite often these two are joined together. Our God is a holy God. And He cannot tolerate anything less to be associated with His Name. He is a zealous God strongly concerned about His honor.
The second thing is that we need to share God’s zeal for His honor. Others who do not know God are closely watching how we hold God and His Name dear to us. For example when they try to influence us with those things that children of God should not do, do we take a bold stand against it? Phinehas did exactly that. He took a strong stand for God and His honor and against evil. Let us therefore exalt God and His honor by our actions!
The third thing is that God becomes angry when His Name is dishonored. The question here is not just sin even though sin in His children is enough to arouse God’s anger. But the more important issue is here how we conduct ourselves before unbelievers. When we join them to indulge in sinful pleasures we are showing disrespect and contempt for God. So He becomes angry.
Finally, if you can step in and lift up the moral standards by reminding believers that they are God’s children; thus preventing sin, it is still possible that God’s anger may turn away from them and destruction in their lives stop.