It’s Complicated

Gwen Smith Blog 6 Comments

Phineas and Ferb was one of my absolute favorite cartoon shows when my kids were little. Seriously. The plots were intriguing, and the characters had whimsy, depth and layer after layer of peculiar personality. To top it off, they had a pet platypus named Perry who was actually a secret agent.

Is that not epic? I mean, c’mon! I want me a secret agent pet platypus too!

It was one of those shows clearly and creatively crafted for both children and their parents. The writers of Phineas and Ferb didn’t forget the fact that mom and dad were watching. They remembered us, and cleverly wove subtle humor into episodes that entertained the littles as well as the larger humans who were in charge of the remote.

Well played, writing team. Well played!

Aside from this highly likeable cartoon character, Phinehas isn’t a name you hear very much in our day. Psalm 106 briefly introduces us to a man named Phinehas who found himself in the midst of mundane mayhem. The nod is a blip-of-a-mention with strong implications: one man made a huge difference.

“Then they despised the pleasant land;
they did not believe his promise.
They grumbled in their tents
and did not obey the Lord.
So he swore to them with uplifted hand
that he would make them fall in the wilderness,
make their descendants fall among the nations
and scatter them throughout the lands.

They yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor
and ate sacrifices offered to lifeless gods;
they aroused the Lord’s anger by their wicked deeds,
and a plague broke out among them.
But Phinehas stood up and intervened,
and the plague was checked.
This was credited to him as righteousness
for endless generations to come.”
(Psalm 106:24-31)

Did you see them? Verses 30 and 31, trailing after the wicked deeds and woeful ways of the Israelites that told a tale of a man with guts who cared about God’s glory? I found it fascinating, so I took a trip to the Old Testament book of Numbers to find out more about our mildly famous friend Phinehas who “stood up” and “intervened.” (v30)

Y’all, his is a dicey, bloody, and shockingly complicated story. So much so, I almost didn’t want to even talk about it. If you’re curious, you can read the full story of Phinehas in Numbers 25, but I can summarize it with this: when God’s people were stuck in the desert after they’d been delivered from oppression in Egypt, they got grumbly, demanding and reprehensibly rebellious.

And God got mad.

Big-time mad.

When an Israelite man blatantly defied God’s law in front of the whole assembly, Phinehas rose to action against this man in zealous defense of the honor of God.

And God got happy.

Super happy.

SO happy that he blessed Phinehas with a covenant of peace that would go on to be passed down to his descendants for generations. Cool, right?

In today’s world-gone-wild, I want to be the kind of woman who stands up and intervenes with courage for the honor of God.

Don’t you?

Holy Lord,
Please forgive me for the times when, like the Israelites, I yoke myself to idols or frustrate You with my rebellion.
Please help me to be a woman who speaks truth with grit and grace. Embolden and purify my heart, Jesus, to echo Your hope and love in ways that are zealous for Your honor.
In Jesus’ name, amen.



Read Psalm 106. Then post a prayer of response on the wall of my blog or leave a comment about where today’s message finds you.

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Comments 6

  1. This hit me hard. With the changing political climate and the sin becoming more acceptable to a point we embrace it, I worry about the future children and how to keep them safe from those who wish to do them harm. This reminds me there is nothing God doesn’t know, and that what is new to me is not new to God.

  2. Loving Father
    I am humbled and stunned by your never ending desire to forgive so I can be in relationship with you. Please keep me mindful of my sin so I can be quick to ask forgiveness. Keep my prideful heart from straying from you!

  3. I cannot help to think that this current pandemic could very well be God’s judgement on our nation for how far away from Him we’ve come. The astronomical number abortions is shocking. The new laws which allow later term abortions to be done .We have taken God out of our schools, become more and more self-centered and destructive. I’m just praying for God’s mercy on all of us and that we may be lights in this dark world.
    Sorry so heavy..

  4. Yes, yes I do! Phineas and Ferb has been one the ways I could connect on a humorous level with my atheistic son and daughter-in-law as we all have watched it with the kids….it’s amazing what God can use in reaching those who are lost….Psalm 106 is a very good “Readers Digest” version of not only the history of a rebellious Israel, but an insightful look into how often we forget Who has blessed and saved us innumerable times; how long suffering God is with us, too! We fail Him daily; He offers forgiveness daily also!

  5. Heavenly Father let me not take your guidance for granted, in this time of pandemic in our country. Keep me rooted in you and faithful like Phinehas.
    In Jesus name I pray.

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