Day 76: War against midian

Deuteronomy 30:1-10 Even if Israel were to break the covenant, God would ALWAYS be disposed to forgiveness, thereby keeping his covenant intact. (CCC 346, 709, 2060)


Ch 30:15-20 Sin is ALWAYS a choice, FREELY WILLED. Choosing to abide by God’s Laws leads to life, whereas rejection of God’s Commandments leads to woe. For the people of Israel, the Law and the Commandments were a pathway to salvation that would culminate in Jesus, the awaited Messiah. (CCC 710, 1696, 1732, 2057)


Psalm 116 The desperate man in this psalm cried out to the Lord for deliverance, and the Lord’s response was compassionate, gracious, and just, as he now walked with the Lord “in the land of the living.” The psalmist then posed questions to his own soul about how he should respond to the Lord for all he had done for him. Now that he had returned to the worshipping community, he would live as a servant of God and offer continuous sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise to him. These words together with the reference to the “cup of salvation” point to the EUCHARIST through which we share in the one Sacrifice of Christ. (Cf. St. John Paul II, General Audience, January 26, 2005; Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, May 25, 2005)


I will lift up...the Lord: This verse originally referred to a ritual of thanksgiving for healing. Christians connect this verse to the celebration of the Eucharist, where the faithful receive “the bread of life” and “the cup of salvation”-the Body and Blood of Christ. I will offer...thanksgiving: The Mass is rightly called a sacrifice because it unites the Church’s offering on the altar with the one Sacrifice of Christ, which is made present. (CCC 222-226, 1330, 1352-1355)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)


  • More troubling readings today, eh?

  • Numbers 31: What does the Lord command through Moses?

  • The men of Israel from all of the tribes, choose 1,000 men from each tribe to battle the Midianites for a total of 12,000 soldiers

  • Why?

  • We might miss the reason

  • The last couple of days we talked about the sacrifices and feasts

  • We forgot that way back in Ch 25 the People of Israel had been FALSE

  • They worshipped the BAAL OF PEOR

  • The Israelites began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab

  • This is horrible because they sacrificed and bowed down to FALSE “gods”

  • Remember the couple who had “procreational activities” on the Altar in the Holy of Holies?

  • Yeah that happened

  • This was how deeply IDOLATRY had infected the People of Israel

  • They are about to cross the Jordan River and enter the land of the Canaanites

  • What is going to happen there?

  • In Moab, they worshipped false gods

  • So just imagine what could happen in Canaan if they remain WEAK?

  • So Moses commands them to battle the people WHO HAVE ALREADY CORRUPTED THEM, the MIDIANITES

  • They have to put an END TO THIS

  • The warfare there was to KILL EVERYONE

  • This is very hard for us

  • It was not because God wanted EVERYONE TO DIE

  • That is not the case

  • In fact, that kind of warfare WOULD NOT HAVE EXISTED if the people of Israel had been FAITHFUL

  • When were they supposed to be FAITHFUL?

  • Well, remember when the 12 spies were sent out to scout the Promised Land, all they had to do was TRUST GOD and they could have entered the Promised Land without warfare

  • But they DID NOT TRUST GOD THEN and NOW, look what has to be done

  • This was NOT the ORIGINAL PLAN of God

  • The plan of God was NOT DESTRUCTION AND DEATH

  • BUT, the plan of God was that the People of Israel would be FAITHFUL

  • Through that FAITH, God planned to ultimately give a WORLDWIDE BLESSING

  • BUT THE ISRAELITES WERE WEAK

  • When they were surrounded by people who worshipped other gods, THEY WORSHIPPED OTHER “gods” AS WELL

  • Because of that WEAKNESS, Moses had no choice

  • Moses HAD TO COMMAND the total destruction of the Midianites

  • We will see this warfare AGAIN AND AGAIN

  • It’s ok if this troubles you

  • It is not a good thing

  • It is not what God ultimately wanted

  • Because of what God reveals in Deuteronomy 30: “I set before you life and death. Choose life that you and your descendants may live. Because when you come back to me, I will love you and I will bless you and I will prosper you.”

  • We can NEVER read Scripture by taking a word or sentence or passage OUT OF CONTEXT

  • We have to read Scripture IN ITS ENTIRETY

  • What God reveals is that He is the God of the Living

  • God is the God who loves EVERYONE

  • When we get to The Book of Wisdom, we will hear God say, “I do not rejoice in the destruction of the living.”

  • Regardless of who they are or how unfaithful they are

  • All this death and destruction of the Midianites is only the result of the WEAKNESS of the Israelites that Moses commands

  • It is a HARD WORD FOR US

  • It is not necessarily a GOOD WORD

  • But this word is NEEDED

  • Why?

  • Because the People of Israel are WEAK

  • AND THAT IS US

  • THIS IS US (I’ve never watched that show and never will)

  • It’s not like the Jewish people were any weaker than you or I are

  • We are EXACTLY THE SAME

  • We have the same hearts in US that THEY HAD

  • We need to recognize IN OURSELVES the things in our lives that we TOLERATE

  • There are things in my life that STEAL MY HEART AWAY FROM THE LORD

  • I TOLERATE THEIR PRESENCE

  • Maybe not now, but ultimately if I pay attention to them, then my attention will be turned away from the Lord

  • Ultimately, they will SAP MY LOVE FOR CHRIST

  • They will SAP MY ATTENTION TOWARDS GOD to other places and I WILL TOLERATE IT

  • If there is a SPIRITUAL LESSON in this, if I allow these things that ROB MY HEART FROM THE LORD, then I HAVE TO BE WILLING TO GET RID OF THEM, WILLING TO END THEM

  • Our hearts are JUST LIKE THE HEARTS OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL

  • This is the lesson

  • It is not that the destruction of another people is good

  • It is NOT good

  • It was COMMANDED out of concern for the People of Israel's WEAKNESS

  • We share the SAME WEAKNESS

  • What do I need to do to get rid of those things in my life?

  • They are taking me away from TRUE WORSHIP OF GOD

  • Psalm 116: Every priest prays this on a regular basis, at least once a week

  • “What shall I render to the Lord for all His bounty to me? I will lift up the Chalice of Salvation and call upon the name of the Lord…”

  • This is one of the things we recognize at EVERY SINGLE MASS

  • The Chalice of Salvation is the BLOOD OF THE NEW AND ETERNAL COVENANT OF JESUS CHRIST, OUR LORD

  • “I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord…”

  • The Greek word for THANKSGIVING is EUCHARISTIA

  • We offer up the Sacrifice of the Eucharist at EVERY MASS and call upon the name of the Lord

  • Psalm 116 is precious in the heart of every priest

  • Since we are baptized what are we?

  • WE ARE KINGDOM PRIESTS

  • Fr. Mike is a MINISTERIAL PRIEST

  • When we go to Mass, we ALSO offer up the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the Thanksgiving Sacrifice and WE CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD TOGETHER

  • We continue to call on the name of the Lord with each other, intercede for each other, and support each other ESPECIALLY when we hit difficult moments

  • Not just difficult moments in SCRIPTURE

  • But also difficult moments IN LIFE

  • Don’t let what you’ve read stop you

  • Don’t let what you’ve read slow you down

  • We trust God WITH ALL OUR HEARTS knowing that even if we DON’T UNDERSTAND ALL OF GOD’S WORDS IN THIS MOMENT, if we KEEP ON MOVING, God reveals His heart MORE DEEPLY EVERY DAY

  • Keep praying for each other

  • Pray for Fr. Mike


Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Lord God we do give you thanks and praise today. We thank you for your word, we thank you for giving us the gift of faith even in the midst of complex, troubling, and confrontational readings. Lord God, you give us your truth and you give us a sign of your heart that you do set before us life and good, death and destruction. You want us to choose life. This is your will for us, that we choose life. And yet, Lord God, we are so fickle. We are so quick to turn away from you. We are so quick to forget that you love us with the love of a father. We turn to other things. We turn to other people. We ultimately end up betraying YOU, the one who has loved us like no one has EVER loved us. So God, help us, help us, PLEASE help us this day, not only to be faithful, but when we have been unfaithful, help us to turn to you and know that we can trust you in your goodness and your love and your mercy. We make this prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”