Mouth of Brass
Phinehas, Aaron's grandson, has always been my hero. Check out Numbers 25 (section titled "Moab Seduces Israel") for context or Psalm 106 for a historic flashback. This guy had divine gumption and courage. He knew how and when to take a stand. The Lord Himself said of Phinehas, "...he was as zealous as I am for my honor among [the Israelites], so that in my zeal I did not put an end to them. Therefore tell him I am making my covenant of peace with him. He and his descendants will have a covenant of a lasting priesthood, because he was zealous for the honor of this God and made atonement for the Israelites" (Num. 25:11-13, NIV).
I don't suppose taking a spear in his hand, entering the Israelites' tent, and driving the spear through this guy and his Midianite woman was ...ummm... child's play. A demand for God's righteousness had so welled up in him and could no longer be contained. This righteousness percolated up from his heart to his throat--it pushed him to the limit that vehemently cried out, "I've had enough!"
When I looked up the meaning of Phinehas's name, I was surprised to learn it means "mouth of brass." Digging deeper to the root words, I found "mouth" associated with nouns such as "commandment, appointment, sentence, and word" and the verbs "to break, to cleave, and to shatter." "Brass" links to "serpent" and "to observe signs, learn by experience, diligently observe." 1
I think of the bronze snake incident just a few chapters before in Numbers 21. Also, John writes in the New Testament: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. 'For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life'" (3:14-16).
Bottom line: God blesses those who are zealous for His honor. By His Spirit, He gives us the divine courage to take a stand for His name's sake, and He will credit this to us as righteousness. Do we live by truth? Do we walk in light? Do we need a "brassy mouth" today? Have you had enough? Make no mistake: the story doesn't end with a spear...it ends with nails. When we have had enough and when we take our stand, we had better point our audience directly back to the Love, Mercy, and Provision of our Savior. "But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God" (John 3:21).
1Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for Piynĕchac (Strong's 6372)". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2013. 5 Mar 2013. < http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H6372&t=NASB >
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