TODAY’S READING: NUMBERS 5-7
Laws concerning cleansing; laws concerning confession and restitution; laws concerning suspected immorality (jealousy); the princes’ offerings for the dedication of the Tabernacle.
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
The Bible tells us very distinctly that we are to “rightly divide the word of truth” (II Tim.2:15). This verse also tells us that in order to make those “right divisions,” we must see ourselves as “workmen,” employing one of the most difficult tasks known to man: STUDY! Through diligent study and hard work, God reveals to us the divisions He has made in His Word. In each Book of the Bible, there are certain keys that help us to unlock the divisions that God has specifically set – what God likes to call the “RIGHT” divisions!
As we study the Book of Numbers, what becomes key to unlocking the divisions God has set is understanding that there are two very distinct generations of people that are being dealt with in this Book. The first group of people is the generation of people that came up out of Egypt, but because of their unbelief, were forbidden to enter the Promised Land and died in the wilderness. The other generation is the group of people who grew up in the wilderness, but were permitted to enter into Canaan because they were under their parent’s authority at the time of Israel’s failure to trust God (Deut. 1:35-39). Identifying these two generations neatly divides the Book of Numbers into 3 sections:
•The “old” generation is covered in chapters 1-14.
•The “new” generation is covered in chapters 21-36.
•The chapters in between (15-20), record the period of transition
during which the “old” generation died off, and the “new”
generation grew up.
Whereas the first four chapters of the Book of Numbers dealt with the OUTWARD FORMATION of the camp, the next five chapters deal with the INWARD CONDITION of it. God capsulizes the central theme of this section in chapter 5 and verse 3, “. . . that they defile not their camps, in the midst whereof I dwell.” Because God was in their camp, it was to be holy – completely free from defilement. The New Testament equivalent is II Corinthians 6:14-7:1 . . . because God dwells in us, we are to be separated from all uncleanness, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
In chapter 5, God gives instruction that lepers are to be quarantined outside of the camp (5:1-4); that anything acquired through dishonesty be confessed and recompensed (5:5-10); and that any suspected immorality be tested before God (5:11-31). In short, God is showing us the absolute necessity for purity, honesty, and truth.
Chapter 6 deals with God’s instruction concerning the Nazarite vow. The implications are this: when a man or a woman in the Old Testament wanted to be used in God’s service, but did not qualify because they were not a Levite or priest, they could voluntarily take the Nazarite vow (“Nazarite” is a Hebrew transliteration that means “dedication by separation”). The Nazarite separated himself from certain hindrances to holiness in order to be wholly devoted to the service of the Lord. Although the outward characteristics of the Nazarite vow no longer apply, they point to the priority God places on our personal surrender and consecration in order to be used to carry out His will and mission.
Chapter 7 records the free-will offering of the princes of Israel, (the representative heads of each of the tribes of Israel). Several things to note are that the gifts were totally voluntary, and although the gifts were identical, God took an enormous amount of space to specifically and separately record each one. The New Testament equivalent is the fact that, “God loveth a cheerful giver” (II Cor. 9.7), and that though He doesn’t need our treasure, He treasures the fact that our heart of love for Him prompts us to give to Him (Matt. 6:21).
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
In the NAZARITE who “dedicated” himself “by separation” – Numbers 6:1-8 (Jesus willingly dedicated Himself to serve the will of the Father, separating Himself from sin, even to death – John 6:38; Matthew 26:39, 42)