…that they may not defile their camp, in the midst of which I dwell. – Numbers 5:3
Scripture reading: Numbers 5
The holy God is pleased to dwell among Israel. However, there can be things that threaten the holiness of the camp. Human beings are sinful by nature. The LORD recognizes this and gives means to make sure the camp is not defiled. Chapter 5 mentions three situations: defilement, transgression and distrust. Not only does the LORD point out the wrong – which is a blessing in itself already – but He also gives a way of dealing with it.
The first situation involves bodily uncleanness. The unclean person is to be put outside the camp for a time. The second situation is when a person realizes he has sinned. Then restitution has to be made. The third involves the relationship between a husband and wife. The procedure to deal with this has nothing to do with spells or magic, but if the wife is accused and cannot prove her innocence, then the LORD allows her to prove her innocence by this ceremony and so trust can be restored.
With these ceremonies, the LORD teaches His people what sin does: it defiles, breaks faith and undermines mutual trust. What a blessing to know that with Christ is full forgiveness because He died outside the camp. The defilement of our sin was taken away by Christ. Whereas we break faith, Christ kept the commandments of God perfectly and so restored us to God. He allows us to rebuild trust in our relationships because of His sacrifice. Forgiveness is a treasure in the church.
Suggestions for prayer
Thank the LORD that He points out our sin and provides complete forgiveness. Ask for strength to admit sin and fight against it. Ask for His grace to build trusting relations and for help if this trust is broken.
This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Douwe G. J. Agema is currently minister of Living Word Canadian Reformed Church in Guelph and also teaches several courses at Covenant Canadian Reformed Teachers’ College.