I am a parent of 2 adult children and 1 almost adult child. As they were growing up, we reminded them to be mindful of the company they surround themselves with. We told them that you will become like those you hang around with. Their behaviour and actions will become the behaviour and actions you do. Their words and language will become the words and language you use. Their associations in activities will also be what people see as acceptable to you. We encouraged them to choose their circle of friends wisely.
Today's reading opens with the negative effects of choosing to surround yourselves with bad influences. Sexual promiscuity, idol worship, and blatant disrespect for morals and leaders caused the Lord to burn with anger. There are always consequences for bad behaviour. Twenty-four thousand people died including Zimri and Cozbi who were literally killed "red-handed" in their act.
Unfortunately, surrounding yourself with good people does not always mean you will make the best choices. As we read in the continuing chapters, even though people were associated with Aaron and Moses, some chose to rebel against them.
God answered their rebellion with flames. But there is always hope...
I like how Zelophehad's daughters admitted their father had died by his own sin but that they were still deserving of an inheritance, just as a son would have been. Laws were changed by their advocacy for their own rights. They had the chance to choose wisely from then on.
Joshua is the hope for the next generation. It would seem that in a community where men were being seduced that men like Joshua were few and far between. However, there were always men who stood firm in their beliefs and became an example and a leader to those around them.
We have hope too. Even in our disastrous life choices and surrounding ourselves with less than stellar influences, we have redemption through Christ:
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Numbers 28-30 Hebrews 10:1-18