Your eyes have seen what the LORD did at Baal-peor, for the LORD your God destroyed from among you all who followed Baal of Peor. But you who held fast to the LORD your God are alive to this day, every one of you. For what nation is great enough to have a god as near to them as the LORD our God is to us whenever we call on Him? Only be on your guard and diligently watch yourselves, so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen, and so that they do not slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and grandchildren. – Deuteronomy 4:3-4,7,9 BSB
Nearing the completion of his earthly ministry, Paul in his last letter, that was written to his ‘Spiritual son’, Timothy, wanted him to know: I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:7) Paul had told Timothy and all who would listen: For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. (2 Corinthians 10:3) Do you war? Do you know there is a WAR RAGING? Are you waging that war? How do you war? “The gods were everywhere. They haunted the ancient World. The fact that in the past two thousand years, they have not been everywhere, is an exception to the rule. For most of recorded history the gods were in every land and enthroned on the pinnace of every major culture and civilization, from the god Enlil of Sumer, to Ra of Egypt, Amarok of the Arctic, Kukulkan of Central America, Wotan of northern Europe, Dionysus of Greece, Obatala of Africa, Tiamat of Babylon, Bixia of China, Oro of Polynesia, Ahura Mazda of Persia, Perun of Russia, Shamash of Assyria, Dagda of Ireland, Juno of Rome, Shiva of India, and a countless multitude of others. Wherever there were people, there were gods. They reigned over nations, over cities, over cultures, over nature, over the underworld, and over the heavenlies. Their presence permeated the lives of their subjects. The people were bound to them.” (Chapter 3, The Return of the gods; Jonathan Cahn)
Leader, the greatest commandment in the Bible is to REMEMBER. “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) The opening line, “Hear, O Israel,” does not simply mean to let sound waves enter your ears. Here, the word Shema means to allow the words to sink in, provide understanding, and generate a response—it’s about ACTION. In Hebrew, hearing and doing are the same thing. We must remember the Right things! Deuteronomy is the most quoted book in the Torah by Jesus. It is a book of REMEMBRANCE! Early in this book we hear of this place, or this situation of BAAL OF PEOR! This is why the event of Baal of Peor- at Baal of Peor, is so important and categorized with the Rebellion of Korah (Numbers 16) and the Serpents in the camp (Numbers 21). All three were blasphemous situations and all three had great judgments! These are all times in El Elyon’s patriarchal role with the Israelites where they chose to follow after their own god, instead of Yahweh!
Conduit, the word baal is simply the word for “lord,” “master,” or “ruler.” Baal became a name for the gods of the Canaanites. There was not just one god named Baal, but there were many Baals (many Canaanite “lords”). Got Questions dot org, has this to say about this passage: “Deuteronomy 4:3 uses Baal Peor as a place name to refer to the incident recorded in Numbers 25 and in the same verse as a designation for the pagan god. “You saw with your own eyes what the LORD did at Baal Peor. The LORD your God destroyed from among you everyone who followed the Baal of Peor.” Joshua 22:17 speaks of the “sin of Peor,” and Hosea 9:10 uses Baal Peor to refer to the place where this incident happened: “When they came to Baal Peor, they consecrated themselves to that shameful idol and became as vile as the thing they loved.” Psalm 106:28 also refers to the Baal of Peor: “They yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor and ate sacrifices offered to lifeless gods.” In any case, this incident at Baal Peor stands out as the first of many times that Israel fell into immorality and idolatry, and it also serves as a warning to Christians. Going back to Paul’s exhortation in 2 Corinthians 10:3 that we do NOT WAR like those in the flesh. Paul was talking to the Corinthians, the Corinthians would have been particularly susceptible to this kind of temptation, as the city of Corinth was filled with idolatry and sexual immorality. Although many things have changed since Israel’s sin at Baal Peor, man has not. Sexual temptation is Not only ever present in modern societies, but also now justified as a higher way of living. Sexual immorality opens the door to the worship of other gods- it can be the ’gateway god’. We then become followers of the idols of money, pleasure, fame, and “the good life” also vie to take the place of the One True God in the hearts of many people. As followers of the God of the Bible and His Son, our Savior Jesus- Christians must guard against the sin of Baal Peor. God demands Loyalty! As Matthew recalls Jesus saying in the great Sermon on the Mount: “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. (Matthew 6:24)