Israel yoked himself to Baal . . . Numbers 25: 3
Though I go to jail bible study every week with a plan to share something with the inmates, I usually end up learning from them. One of the guys recently provided this lesson as he talked about why we fall.
He spoke of the small things we do to give evil a foothold in our lives. No one sets out to go to jail. He explained how he indulged in the little things, giving evil a hold on his life. He held up his coffee cup and said that each little sin he surrendered to was as another handle on the cup. One small handle led to another and another and in the end, his destructive behavior had such a grip on him that prison was inevitable.
The Israelites, in today’s passage, also had a problem with sin handles, while in the land of Moab. The Moabites initially sought to conquer the Israelites, but when it became apparent that they could not win by force, the Moabites took an entirely different approach, causing Israel to rot from the inside.
The men of Israel became sexually involved with the women of Moab, giving the Moabites a handle on Israel. Instead of attacking Israel, the Moabites gradually seduced Israel into their culture, eventually inviting them to worship Baal. In participating, Israel Yoked itself to Baal, giving sin a death grip on them and embracing disaster.
We do not set out to cause ourselves misery. We just want to indulge a little, in our lust, greed, pride, drug, gossip, resentment or anger. We do not mean to give sin a handle on us, but once we give in to one handle, we invite another and another until those handles control us instead of the other way around.
Thankfully, Christ gives us the only adequate alternative to our sin handle problem. In daily denying self and following Christ, we can live free from the slavery to the sin that so easily entangles. In Christ, we can know freedom and life instead of addiction, destruction and death.