Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Canonical Reading Plan for Feb 13, Num 5-6

Today's readings are Num 5-6.

Num 5:1-4 describes how the unclean and unholy are placed outside the camp. They are sent outside so as not to contaminate those inside the camp. This is a picture of how God’s people are to be separated from anything that defiles. The defilement represents the filth sin causes. These regulations show us that God's people should do everything in their power to separate themselves from sin.

There are cautions against unfair dealings and fraud (Num 5:5-10). These infractions are a violation of the character of the God of truth who resides among them. There are cautions against adultery. This type of unfaithfulness shows a lack of holiness in a people that are called to be representatives of an all-faithful God. 

In all cases of sin and defilement, confession is required. Confession is always the first step toward restoration.

We see the curious case of what happens to a woman who is accused of adultery by her husband, who has no tangible evidence (Num 5:11-31). The accusation by the husband, which may or may not be valid, is labeled as jealousy (Num 5:14). It is handled with seemingly arcane procedures. At the root of the ritual to determine innocence or guilt is the idea that, lacking proof, the woman's fate is left in the hands of God  (Num 5:18) who will manifest clear signs of judgment if she is guilty (Num 5:27-28). Since it is unlikely the woman will suffer pain from drinking the mixture prescribed, the belief is that God will bring the pain if the woman's secret behavior warrants it. Absent any signs of judgment, she is to be set free and restored in all ways. If the woman shows signs of God's judgment, she is to become a curse. This whole procedure is symbolic of the idea that God, who will not accept an unjust accusation against His people, is the ultimate judge and will punish sin wherever it is present.

In Num 6:1-21, we meet the Nazirites. Nazarites are men and women who devote themselves to service to God, usually for a specific period of time. The Nazarites are called to be uncompromising in their devotion and commitment to the Father. Their appearance, behavior, and purity set them apart from societal norms and cultural pressures. They must avoid contact with anything dead and contamination from the filth of the world. They do not shave their beards and heads. They touch no alcohol, not even a grape. They are a constant presence among the tribes and are a reminder of the holiness of God. 

Num 6:24-26 provides the familiar and awesome priestly blessing.

"The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace."

No comments:

Post a Comment