Have you ever had a mole problem? One that just keeps coming back and ruining your yard or garden? They seem to go away for a while and then come back with vengeance. I recently learned that moles love grub worms and they seek them more than any other food. I personally have a mole that just won't stay out of my garden. An old timer told me that all you have to do is get rid of the grub worms (thereby removing its food source) and it will move on. And because moles are like besetting sins that just don't seem to go away, I got to thinking about this week's Torah Portion and the "mole problem" that the Israelites had with the Midianites. So. If you've got a mole problem in your life, this article might be for you.
"Vengeance is Mine, says the LORD."
-- Deuteronomy 32:35
If vengeance is His, then why is He instructing the Israelites to take vengeance on the Midianites? Well, in short, it's because, many times, Yahweh uses people to carry out His plans. Revenge is forbidden in the bible because it is ultimately self-serving (Lev. 19:18). It is only when the Almighty gives very specific instructions to do so that it becomes permissible. In most cases, the Father takes His vengeance out on those that deserve it in very creative ways that will not include the person seeking the justice. Sometimes it's immediate and sometimes it's years down the line. And many times when the Lord finally DOES bring justice, the person being punished doesn't even connect the result to an action they committed in years past. But the vengeance that Yahweh has toward His enemies gives us the blueprint for how to take vengeance on the pesky moles in our lives.
Read Numbers 31:1-18
The chapter starts off with Yahweh telling Moses to go after the children of Midian in war. It was now time to get revenge on them for partnering with Balaam and seducing the men of Israel to fornicate with the daughters of Midian so the Israelites would curse themselves. During the battle, the Israelites chose one thousand men from each tribe and utterly annihilated all five cities of Midian without losing a single soul in battle. Phineas was charged with being the leader because of the instant claim to fame he garnered when he stopped the plague with his righteous zeal. When they returned from battle, they were expecting a high five from Moses. Unfortunately, Moses was furious. Why? Because they didn't kill all the same women that had seduced them to begin with! Moses required them to immediately put to death all of the women that had been with a man and every male, regardless of age. He allowed all the girls that were underage to live.
QUESTION: Why was Moses upset? How do we apply this today? What is the spiritual principle?
This part of the story gives us a great spiritual principle: The only way to truly defeat temptation is to completely destroy the root and source of it. The little girls could be retrained in the ways of Yahweh and would pose no threat to drawing the men away when they grew older. The boys, on the other hand, would grow up to be men and would likely seek revenge for their parents' death. In this same way, we have to make sure that we leave no stone unturned when fighting an enemy in our lives. Whether it be depression, anxiety, lust, anger, or fear, we must destroy all the sources from which those besetting sins are attacking us. Whether your enemy is small or large, you must take it seriously and create a strategy to utterly eradicate it so that it doesn't ever overtake or bother you again.
Too many times the children of God are kept in bondage by sins and habits that entangle them because they continue to allow the same thought patterns and situations that are causing those sins to be present in their lives. You may believe that the instructions of Moses to his brethren were radical, but that is the kind of action it takes to eradicate sin. Sin radically affects the soul and is powerfully addictive. So to remove it, we sometimes have to be just as radical. Someone once said that the definition of "insanity" is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result." If we want to experience the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, patience, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control), we have to be a radical Phineas in order to achieve them. It does not matter what kind of personality you have. All you have to do is have discipline to change your habits and kill the giants. Even a giant will eventually starve to death if it is not fed.
SO STOP FEEDING THE GIANTS!
Let's say that you are prone to anxiety and fear. You hate the way you feel when you give into it. Your decisions are based off of it and sometimes you find yourself swamped with all of the crazy thoughts that are swirling through your mind like a tornado picking up an entire town. It destroys your shalom and prevents you from really enjoying life and doing what the Spirit desires you to do. How do you eradicate it? How do you kill that mole? You can't. That's right. You can't kill the mole. Just like the real mole, that demonic spirit operates underground and in the dark. Why spend all your time trying to kill the mole when all you have to do is get rid of its food source?
When it comes down to it, all besetting sins, in my opinion, can be destroyed by just doing the following four things:
1. Accountability: Confessing our sins to one another
2. Changing what we believe: Renewing our minds
3. Getting an eternal perspective
4. Getting radical
If you want to kill something that operates in the dark, you have to come into the light first. This means your first line of action is to tell someone what you are struggling with and ask for help. Leaning on someone that does not have the same struggle as you can do wonders in creating an environment of hope and encouragement that you can thrive in. James says this in his book:
"Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another that you may be healed."
-- James 5:16
Having someone stand with you and help create the strategy to keep the moles out of your life is a powerful first step. James goes on to say that "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." Find someone that you can not only confess to but is also dedicated to helping you and praying with you all the way to the finish line.
CHANGING WHAT YOU BELIEVE
We do what we believe. We eat when we believe we are hungry. Some people take diet pills that fool the brain into thinking they are not hungry. If the brain thinks it's not hungry, it will not desire food. It's not about reality. It's about what you believe. In the same way, what you believe about your "mole" determines the mole's future. Most people don't hate sin the way God hates sin and herein lies the problem. They don't see the damage, the destruction, and the power it has over a person like He does, affecting generations after they are long gone.
So how do you change what you believe? You have to change what you put into your mind. There's an old saying in the computer world, "Garbage In, Garbage Out." In other words, you cannot get out of something any more than you put in. In this case, even if you know something is wrong intellectually and you don't want to be like that anymore, if the mole keeps coming back, it's because there is a breech in your perimeter. Your belief system has been compromised.
To fix this, you must first search your heart. You must give permission for the Father to dig into your heart and discover where the belief system that is negatively affecting you started. Did it come through a trauma of your past, a generational problem that was passed to you, personal sin? Find the source and confess it and ask the Father to deliver you from that pain. Many times the "sin" is not the root. Pain is. Heal the pain and the sin goes away. This can be a difficult process that may require a friend or a counselor's help. But when the Spirit begins to heal the pain, then you can renew the mind.
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
-- Romans 12:1-2
Once the root is discovered, then we fill that void with the very word of Yahweh. We search the scriptures looking for everything we can find on our subject mole and write all those scriptures down, reciting them daily. We memorize them and repeat them all day long. When the mole comes around, we simply quote those scriptures and the mole goes running.
GETTING AN ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE
In my experience, this is one of the most powerful steps one can take. We are so used to living inside of time and inside of our own bubbles of reality that we forget that we are eternal beings. We forget that every action we take is creating another reality that will be waiting for us when we die. Did you know that every single thing you do on this earth determines where you live in heaven and what kind of dwelling place you live in? If we truly turned our minds toward the eternal and constantly evaluated our lives based on the barometer of eternity, many issues in our lives would melt in comparison. If we could see the real angels that have been assigned to us, following us everywhere we go and watching everything we do and say, we would certainly change many things in our lives. If we really believed and feared Yahweh because we knew that every word will be judged and every thought will be on display on Judgment Day, we would see instant changes and the moles would scramble away, never to return. We simply need heaven's perspective and the Spirit's understanding that we are not living for this earth. We are simply interviewing for eternity.
The last several stories in Numbers are all about being radical. Joshua and Caleb went radical when they refused to see the giants before them and instead chose the perspective of Yahweh. Yahweh went radical on Korah and company because they chose to challenge God's anointed authorities. Balaam came up with a radical idea to try to get the Israelites to curse themselves. Phineas went radical when he grabbed his javelin and killed Cozbi and Zimri. And Moses went radical when he told the Israelites to kill everyone but the little girls so that the Israelites would never again be tempted to sin before Baal of Peor.
So how do you get radical? You change everything you can to get rid of those evil moles. You change your schedule. You post scriptures all over the house. You set your alarms for prayer times. You tie reminders on your hands. You change friends if need be. You kill every temptation at its root and you go buy a nun's habit and wear it all day as a uniform. Okay, maybe the last one is taking it a bit too far. But hey...whatever works! The point is you must take your javelin and meet this mole head on. No more responding to it after it's too late. You have to strike preemptively! You know it's coming eventually, so get your bulletproof vest on, load your gun, and be ready!
Although the above four steps are not a cure-all for every situation, the enemy tries to deceive us that it is more complicated than it is. He wants us to believe that it is too hard, we've been dealing with it for too long, etc... He is the father of lies and he knows how to get in our heads. That is exactly why we need to take every thought captive and constantly renew our minds.
In the end, when you are successful at destroying the Midianite "moles," what you are left with is beyond imagination. Gold, silver, precious metals, cities you did not build, wells you did not dig, etc... What you end up with is your inheritance, rich for the taking. But first, like the Israelites, you must declare war!