Tucked away in the book of Numbers is the story of a faith-filled man named Phineas. It’s a story of boldness and courage in the midst of incredible wickedness. Listen in and be encouraged, because God is still at work today. There is a blessing in boldness when it’s for the glory and honor of the Lord!
Transcribed version of podcast is below.
Today’s Scripture Writing Challenge Verse
- 1 John 2:1-2
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Hey everybody, this is Heidi St. John. Welcome to the podcast. Today is Wednesday, November 6th. This is episode number 841. It is Wednesday, and normally we teach from the bible study at MomStrong International. We’re going to change it up a little bit. We’ve got some exciting changes for you. I’m going to tell you about it.
Stick around. I think you’re going to be encouraged.
All right, you guys. So here we are. We’re well into November. Today’s November the 6th. A lot of us have been engaged in local elections. I hope that you all got out and voted. So important if you haven’t done it. If you haven’t done it before, you got to get involved. We live in a democracy here in the United States, a Republic actually, and that means we have a voice and so we want to be sure to use it, and I want to encourage you to get involved in the process.
You heard me talking on Monday about what’s happening with comprehensive sex education, and that sort of bumped out my answering questions to today, which I’m going to get to. But there are some things I want to talk about before I do that. First of all, I want to say thank you. We started … It’ll be two years ago in December. We started a bible study here at Heidi St. John, and we call it MomStrong International.
Now, the reason I call it that is because I have been for quite a while now frustrated at the lack of biblical literacy that I see within the Christian community, particularly as it relates to mothers. And so I began to write a bible study that I thought would help you deal with what’s happening in realtime from a biblical perspective. You see, if we don’t have a biblical perspective, then we’re going to struggle to act like Christians in the world today and we have to know what God’s word says, and it’s not enough for us as mothers I think, or fathers, to link arms and talk about what a hot mess we are and, “Go wash your face,” and all that stuff if we’re not engaging with and knowing God’s word.
And so we started MomStrong International. It has a component in it that’s called KidStrong, and that is written for you every single month here. The topics change, and this month we’re talking about contentment. So for the month of November, it’s a three week study rather than four because I know that you guys have, like me, the holidays are coming up and so we decided to shorten the study just a little bit, but what I’m really hoping to do is to encourage you even throughout the holidays to maintain a posture of prayer and to stay in the word, and you can do that through the scripture writing challenge also. So the scripture writing challenge is available for you. It’s free at MomStrongInternational.com. I’ve been doing that for many years here and every single day, there’s a scripture for you to write out.
Now, I want to issue a challenge to you. I know some of you like challenges. This is a great opportunity because we’re in the very beginning of November. The bible study starts on the first Monday of every month, so we’ve just started in week one. We’re talking about Lord or Label. Is the Lord truly the Lord of your life or is he just a label, like that you see on the inside of your shirt, “I’m a Christian,” but it doesn’t permeate your life? So that’s what we’re going to be studying for the month of November.
But I want to issue you a challenge. And so if you’re doing the scripture writing challenge with me, can I just encourage you, write those verses out on an index card, stick them in the mail, maybe put a little note on the back of the index card or whatever and then mail it. In your prayer, in your time of prayer, ask the Lord, “Father, who should I send this to? Who would you have me send this to?” And then pop it in the mail and see what God will do.
You guys, the bible teaches us, the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword. It’s able to cut through soul and spirit, dividing even to the very depths of the heart of man. Why? To get to what we’re actually up against, and it has never been more important than it is right now. And so I just want to encourage you to a place of really committing with me to study the word with me. As the apostle Paul said, “To show yourself an approved workman who does not need to be ashamed, who can rightly handle the word of truth,” which is the bible. And so that’s what we’re doing.
So there’s my challenge. Take the cards and pop them in the mail. Go to Costco, get yourself some stamps and then just put them in the mail. You can take a half an hour and just address 25 regular standard size envelopes, and then just everyday when you write out your verse, stick it in there and send it to somebody. You can also send them to me. I’d love to hear from you here at Firmly Planted Family. Love to hear what God is doing in your life. Let’s encourage each other. That’s what we’re supposed to be doing.
So speaking of encouraging each other, I’m changing the format up just a little bit here. So normally on Wednesdays I teach from the bible study and I’m going to be telling you what we’re going to be talking about, but I’m going to reserve my teaching time for those who are members at MSI, and I’m doing that in a private Facebook page that we have started. So if you are already a member of MomStrong International, this is for you. So I want you guys to be paying really close attention because this is pretty cool.
So what we’ve done is we’ve gone ahead and opened up a group over at Facebook and it is just for members of the bible study. The bible study costs you about, I don’t know, $8, $9 a month, and I’m going to tell you what, you guys, that $9 goes a whole long way in helping support our ministry, and you get access every month to an in-depth, beautifully illustrated, very well-written bible study that we know is going to encourage you and draw you closer into God’s word.
So that started on the fourth, so just a couple of days ago. It’s a great time for you guys to get in. Remember, I told you, new bible study content begins every month on the first Monday of the month. So if you’ve already purchased a monthly bible study membership, please be sure to join me on Facebook at MomStrong International Bible Study Members Official, and I will link back to that in the show notes today. And that’s where you’ll get weekly teaching from me and conversation.
That’s where I’ll keep you updated on things that are happening in my life and my ministry, and we really want to see that community grow. We used to have you guys over at the forums and it was way too 1997 and I just couldn’t do it, so I finally just caved and we went ahead and moved that group over to Facebook. And also, I’ll do some Facebook Lives. We do some behind-the-scenes of the podcast over at that group. It’s really fun kind of to be a part of something that only the bible study members get to see. So I hope you guys will do that. If you have questions about MomStrong International or the community of women there, please contact Kay Orr. She is one of the directors of MomStrong International, and you can reach her at Kay@heidistjohn.com, and she can help you get started.
You can also become a leader over at MSI. We would love to see you guys lead in person groups. My goal really is to teach the online community and hopefully get you guys off the bench and onto the battlefield so that you will begin to nurture in real life groups. It’s really important, because part of what the Lord’s asked me to do is to equip this generation of believers to actually engage the culture. You know that I’ve been passionate about that. I’ve been doing some scary things for myself lately, getting off the bench and onto the battlefield. I actually looked up on the internet some of the phone numbers of the school board members before that decision went down last week here in my hometown. It’s always scary to call somebody and say, “Hey, can I talk to you about this? This is important.” But I’ll tell you what, you guys, the Lord will help you, and you have a voice and you need to use it.
There’s a really awesome story that I don’t think a whole lot of us are familiar with and it’s tucked away in the Book of Numbers. It’s the story of a faithful man, and his name was Phineas, and Phineas was the grandson of Aaron, who was, as you might remember, the high priest of Israel. You might also remember that Aaron was the dude who was responsible for allowing the Israelites to sin against God … remember this? … by constructing the golden calf while Moses was up giving the 10 commandments on Mount Sinai? Dude, that guy’s got quite the family tree. But I digress. The bible records that Phineas did something that so impressed God that God made a covenant specifically with Phineas and his descendants. So can you guys imagine this? It’s kind of a window into God’s heart. God loves it when we defend the honor and the glory of his name. If it breaks God’s heart, it should break our heart. If it dishonors God, it should break our heart.
Anyway, in Numbers chapter 25, we find the Israelites, right? They’re camped out at a place called Sheetim, in a territory that was occupied by the Moabites. Now, the Moabites were pretty scary dudes. They were warmongers. They were cruel. They were well-known for their sinful behavior, especially regarding sex. And the bible tells us that they committed all manner of sexual sin. Moment of silence. Does that sound familiar?
So eventually, the Israelite men … So the bible has a lot to say about who we hang out with. The bible says that, “Bad company corrupts good character.” It says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” It talks about the importance of associating and hanging out with people who are going to build us up like iron sharpens iron, but the Israelite men began to hang out with and just, “So what? He’s not doing anything wrong,” and eventually the Israelite men … I’m sure the women too, but the bible focuses in this particular passage on the men … the Israelite men chose to rebel against God by engaging sexually with the women of Moab. So they began to do things that were shameful in the eyes of the Lord with the Moabite women. And you can read about that in Numbers 25:1.
Anyway, soon, so many of God’s people were enticed to sin that eventually they began committing idolatry, so they began to worship false gods. Moment of silence. Turns out that when we sin against God with our bodies, eventually one thing leads to another, right? And the bible says that God’s anger burned against Israel, and eventually a plague broke out among them.
Now, there’s a lot of things that we can learn from the story, but one of the main things I want to stress is that God does not mess around with sin. We do, but God doesn’t. And so now Moses has been commanded to instruct the chief of each tribe to put to death each member of his tribe who had committed idolatry. What’s the first commandment, you guys? “You shall have no other gods before me. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, your mind, your strength,” right? No other gods. And the Israelites had forgotten that. They were sinning against God with their bodies, and then they began to worship the gods of the Moabite women. And things began to get worse and worse and worse until God was so angry, he was ready to punish the whole nation.
Now, there’s a scene in Numbers 25 where you see that two people in particular, a man and a woman, were so full of arrogance and so committed to sinning against God and so flagrant and prideful in their sin that they committed an indecent act right in front of Moses. Okay, moment of science again. Oh my word, you guys. The boldness of the way that these two people committed sin, their pride and their arrogance. We see this all over the culture today, people committing sin in our churches and calling it love, and God was angry. I mean, he was ready to be like, “You know what? Forget it. I’m going to just punish the whole nation,” until a godly man named Phineas filled with righteous anger and a righteous indignation killed the man and the woman who were openly mocking God and sinning right in front of the people.
Phineas stood up and said, “Enough, enough,” and God was so impressed with his bold defense of his glory and his law that God made a covenant of peace of Phineas. And this is what he said. “Since he was as zealous for my honor among them as I am, I did not put an end to them in my zeal. Therefore, tell him I am making a covenant of peace with him. He and his descendants will have a covenant of lasting priesthood because he was zealous for the honor of his God and made atonement for the Israelites.”
Did you guys catch that? Phineas’ righteous indignation ended up saving the nation of Israel. Many lives of God’s people were saved because of Phineas, and our culture today is awash in the kind of sin that Phineas was driven to respond to. It’s important to note that he did not react for his own glory. He did it for the glory of God, and I pray that God would give us the strength and the wisdom and the courage and the zeal of Phineas. I pray that we would raise men and women who are so zealous for the honor of God that they would be moved to action, that we would learn to love people in grace and in truth, that we would be ambassadors of the gospel. Let’s be zealous in our defense of the glory and righteousness of the Lord and teach our children to do the same. It’s never been more important than it is right now.
This verse in the Psalms … so the story is in Numbers 25, but in Psalm 106, the Psalmist in recording things that various men and women did that pleased God, things that were recorded in ancient history, the Psalmist said, “But Phineas stood up and intervened.” Phineas stood up and intervened. And I keep thinking about this generation of believers and the need, the strong need for God’s people to be moved to action, the strong need for us to stand up and intervene.
And I often wonder why we don’t intervene. I often wonder why is it that we stay, so many of us, in our churches and we don’t get out into the world and we don’t engage the culture, or there’s kind of a fatalistic … One of you wrote to me a few weeks ago and said, “You know, Heidi, the Lord is going to come back. All this was foretold. It’s just going to get worse and worse.” And you know what I hear? I just hear fatalism, kind of like this Eeyore thing, “Well, you know, things are just going to get worse. You may as well just sit it out.” That’s what I hear. But I don’t see that modeled by anybody in the bible who knew the Lord. And I see that God was pleased. I mean, God was so impressed with what Phineas did, that he made a covenant of peace with him and his descendants. And so the faithfulness of Phineas blessed generations after him. That’s pretty amazing.
So you guys should write this down today. Psalm 106:30. “But Phineas stood up and intervened.” I’ve actually never heard that story, and I discovered it because I’m writing a book right now. Pray for me. And I was studying Numbers, and I read this story and I ran downstairs and I read it to my husband and I read it to my kids and I was like, “You guys, check this. This is so cool. You ever heard the story?” And they hadn’t heard it either. So there’s your verse for today. It’s not in your scripture writing challenge. This’ll be an extra. This is a bonus verse, Psalm 106:30. “But Phineas stood up,” there’s the action, “And intervened.” So the question I think is just, “Lord, what do you want us to do? How do you want us to respond? What should we do? Tell us so that we can do it.” And so to me, that has tremendous power. And so hope you guys are encouraged by that.
I want to get to a couple of your questions, too. That’s another thing I’m going to be doing here on Wednesdays. I’m going to try to at least get to one or two questions. And so today, I’m going to read a couple of letters from listeners. If you guys would like your questions answered here at the podcast, a couple of things you can do. Go to HeidiStJohn.com/MailboxMonday. That link was not working last week for very long, but it is now and we really want to hear from you, HeidiStJohn.com/MailboxMonday. If you go to that link, there’s also a place for you to submit podcast ideas and guest ideas too, so we’d love to hear from you. We’d also love it if you’d leave reviews for the podcast. Just go over to iTunes and write a review. And boy, it sure helps and blesses us. And same with sharing the podcast. So lots of ways that you guys can support what we’re doing.
So one mom says, “Heidi, who plays the outro and the intro of your podcast?” This is such an easy one for me to answer. That’s my husband, Jay. So when you guys hear the guitar on there every time the podcast comes on, that is my sweet husband, who is one of the best guitar players that I know. He was a worship leader for almost 20 years and in a band before that, and he does that. We’ve actually been thinking about creating a new intro and a new outro. I’d like to hear your thoughts on that.
All right, here’s another. “Hi Heidi. I’m in my second year of homeschooling here in British Columbia. I am fairly new to your podcast and absolutely loving them.” So thank you, Ashley, for that. She said, “I had a question about our culture’s ongoing gender identity crisis. What are your thoughts on calling someone by their chosen gender even though that’s not the one they were born with? Some Christians have been under fire in the media lately and have even lost their jobs for not agreeing to call someone by their chosen gender. Should we be refusing to do this on the basis that it goes against our Christian beliefs? The reason I ask this is because I worked directly with the public and I am concerned about how I should respond if the situation ever arises.”
So there’s a couple of things, Ashley. First of all, we really need God’s wisdom. My first instinct is to say no. I mean if a girl who’s obviously a girl comes up to me and she wants me to use her pronoun, he and it and they are whatever they are, no. I mean, these guys are actually, they’re trying to get us to change the language, which is ridiculous, right? They’re trying to get us to change pronouns and everything else. Ridiculous. I’m not playing. I’m so sorry. I’m not doing that. And my second response is to say, “No, I’m not going to enter into a delusion with you. I’m not going to get into your fairytale world and pretend that you’re something that you’re not. I don’t think it’s loving or kind to lie to people.” And that’s what we’re doing.
Now, the wisdom piece comes in when, I mean, if you’re working for a government agency I suppose, and they say, “You can’t do that or you’ll get fired,” then you need to weigh whether or not you’re ready to get fired. If that’s what I thought was coming, I would probably be looking for a job, honestly. It would be very, very hard for me to participate in somebody else’s delusional state. If a person who had anorexia came up to me and started telling me about how fat she was, I wouldn’t go, “Yeah, you right, you fat.” I would not do that. I would say, “No, you know you are not fat. You are beautiful and let me encourage you and tell you what I see.” These are people who are mentally and spiritually and emotionally sick and our culture is not helping them at all.
The same question came in from another listener wants to remain anonymous. “Heidi, my question is, can you address what a public school teacher’s role is when they see the junk that they see going on in the school system, or could you have a guest come on to speak to this topic? Thanks. My husband is a teacher and the LGBTQ junk just hit his county hard.”
As I told you guys talking about comprehensive sex ed the other day, this is going to continue to hit you hard. It is. This is an agenda and we’ve got to stand up against it. And so as I said, I think participating in it is only going to make it worse. We’re seeing more and more lawsuits coming by people who are saying, “No, I’m not going to do that.” I don’t know what the answer is exactly, but I know that God knows. So we want to come before the Lord in prayer. We want to bring these things to him. “Lord, help us to be both salt and light. What do you want me to do?” And then trust that God will show you. But I know one thing’s for certain, God did not give you a spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind.
So that’s all I had time for today. And so Friday, I’m going to be coming back. You guys, I’m really excited about my friend Marcus Brotherton coming on the show with me on Friday. I went to college with Marcus and now he’s a New York Times bestselling author and he has got a wonderful new project he’s involved in, which I know that you guys are going to love. So come on back on Friday the 8th for that.
And in the meantime, we would love it if you guys would do three things. One, send me your Christmas cards. I’m waiting for Christmas card palooza. I’m just going to have you guys put me on your list, and we would love to hear from you. Two, please be sure to join the scripture writing challenge. This is a great time to do it. Go to MomStrongInternational.com. And three, sign up to the bible study and then be sure to join me at my Facebook page and you will get all those details over at MomStrong International. We love you guys. Stay faithful. Stay faithful, and the Lord bless you for just like he blessed Phineas. See you back here on Friday.
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Heidi St. John
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11100 NE 34th Cir, Vancouver, WA 98682
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