Israel has been given every advantage over her enemies as she wandered in the wilderness. But they are dwelling in a land of unbelievers. It isn't the might of the enemy that gets to them. It's the seduction of their own flesh that lures them into sin with the Midianite women.
They pay for this straying with their lives. The plague takes the lives of 24,000 of them.
So often when we are found lacking, it's not because of something someone else did, but because we gave in to our lesser natures. We keep forgetting that we are fallen creatures in need of a savior.
We have that savior. But we are still susceptible to the lures of the flesh. Envy, lust, greed, ambition, and all the rest war in our members to lure us away from worship of the one true God. When we put anything else ahead of Him, we have committed idolatry.
We think idolatry used to mean worshipping other gods. But we commit idolatry every time we put our own self-interests or desires ahead of what God has ordained for us.
Help us to conquer the enemy within ourselves. Teach us to lead every thought captive to obedience to Christ, that we may be made worthy by his sacrifice on our behalf.
In Jesus' most precious name.