By Calvin L. Rigdon
“THEN STOOD UP PHINEHAS, AND EXECUTED JUDGEMENT.” Psa. 106:30.
Gen. Robert E. Lee was once offered $10,000 a year for the use of his name in connection with a state lottery, at a time when money was a
pressing necessity with him. His reply to those who made the proposal was, “Gentleman, my name is all I have left, and that is not for sale.” General Lee stood up for principle in the face of enticing bribes and gifts.
There is “Standing Room Only” in the Church of God. This is not because that God’s Church is so crowded that we do not have room, but it is for other reasons. It is of these reasons that we desire to speak.
First. Phinehas, a man who stood up.
In Numbers 25, there is found a deplorable and miserable narrative. It is the wretched story of one of Israel’s greatest disgraces. It was a mixture of base impurity with the foreign daughters of Moab, and the bowing down to their gods. God demanded Moses to execute judgement, when one of the Israelites committed horrible disobedience before the weeping congregation, right in the sight of the House of God.
It was at this time, that Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron, stood up. He took a stand. It was more than he could take. His righteous indignation was stirred within his soul. He was angry with such a bold and brazen act in so serious an hour that Phine has took a javelin in hand, followed the sinner into his tent and slew him. The Bible says, “So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel,” (Num. 25:8) because of the courage of one man, and the conviction that made him take a stand for righteousness and against sin.
We are living in a time of one of the greatest moral breakdowns that has ever been found in recorded history. In almost every phase of
life this is so today. In government, we see men in high positions who are sacrificing principles of honest government for the sake of gifts
and bribes. The sports world has been rocked by dishonesty among its players. The modern church world has added its offering to the picture by often condoning sin in the lives of prominent members; destroying bylaws and Bible doctrines of fundamental belief in order to appeal to the indifferent and the sin-loving masses. These unseen but basically important virtues are pretty well lost in the mad rush of our day, and in the excitement of a materialistic philosophy. It has become a time when money does the talking instead of the conscience, where love of ease dictates the course of action rather than the fear of God. It must be time for a bold and fearless Phinehas to stand up with an untarnished conviction for truth.
Second. There are several reasons why there is “Standing Room Only.” This is true because our work here is not done. In the tabernacle in the wilderness, there is one thing that is conspicuous by its absence. There was no place whatsoever for the priest to be seated. He must stand. Heb. 10:11 tells us, “And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering…” In similar fashion, there is no place for the Christian disciple to sit down, to take it easy. What with over two billion mortals without the hope of salvation, and a thousand million who have never heard the name of Jesus, can there be a place for us to be seated?
Third. We must stand because it is our place between God and the wicked. The righteous have always stood between God and the disobedient. When the sins of the world of Noah’s day demanded judgment, it was Noah that saved creation from extinction. Israel’s sins had brought them low, and to the brink of complete annihilation, but Moses stood pleading before God for them, and God heard. Jesus said of His followers, “Ye are the salt of the earth. “The righteous are required to stand between a just God and a wicked world. It may be that we are standing today between some soul and eternity. The church must stand. The righteous must stand up!
The fourth reason that we must stand up is to attract attention! No, not to ourselves, but to the God who saved us, and to His cause. He who merely follows is no different. He who bows down attracts no attention. The book of Esther is in your Bible because of one man,
Mordecai stood up, would not bow to the times and the circumstances. The three heroes of Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace are in the book only because they stood up against a King’s commandment. In fact, every testimony that the world has ever heard has been brought about by the non-bending soldiers of God. The righteous cause has suffered too many times, because that when times became bad and evil, the good followed suit and also became bad. It is up to us to hold a line against the raging floods of worldliness, sin and moral breakdown. Convictions are more important than ever before, for the times are evil. We must stand, and not bow. No man “lighteth a candle and putteth it under a bushel but in a candlestick.”
Fifth. To fail to stand for what we know is right, destroys something within us. The antediluvian world experienced this very thing. The Bible says, “That because that WHEN they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their
imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind…” Romans 1:21-28. This is the final fate of the compromiser. He who refuses to stand up and fight for what he believes,
soon will not believe.
A chaplain prayed in Washington in one of the houses of Congress some time ago, and he prayed something like this, “Lord, help us to stand for something, lest we fall for everything.” The only way to keep real convictions, to maintain a victorious life for Christ, to keep a God-given experience, is to vigorously defend your stand and to defy all enemies who would detract you from your goal.
After the battle of Bunker Hill, in the Revolutionary War, a courier rode breathlessly up to General Washington at Cambridge and announced the news. The great general asked only one question. He did not inquire who commanded, nor how many were killed, nor even whether the British were finally repulsed. He simply said, “Did the Militia stand fire?” The messenger said that they did. “Then,” said Washington, “we shall win our independence.” And win it we did!
My friends, the thing that will determine our eternal destiny when we stand before God at the judgment is not our money, our talents, or charming personalities. The thing that will determine our fate is, “Did we stand fire?” Did we stand for the truth and the way of salvation that was presented to us? Have we STOOD UP for the things that we know to be right, or have we let others make our decisions for us? A vast host of people in this world know more about God and about His way of salvation than are obeying it. Many know they should repent, who do not repent. Many know that baptism in the Name of Jesus remits sin, but will not stand up for it. Many know that the Holy Ghost baptism is for them today just as in the book of Acts, but will not receive it, or will acknowledge it.
Dear friend, there is “Standing Room Only,” in God’s Church. Only the courageous, the loyal, those willing to lose in order to win are
there. Will we take our stand beside this Old Testament hero, Phinehas, and someday have it said of us, “They stood up. “They were not afraid to be counted!