Summary of passage: Numbers 5: The Lord told Moses to send away those who were unclean with infectious skin disease or otherwise outside camp so they would not defile the camp. Restitution must be made if another man wrongs another says the Lord. If a man suspects his wife has been unfaithful, he is to bring her to the priest who will perform a ceremony where if she is guilty she will be cursed with barrenness or with miscarriages. If she is not guilty, she will be free of guilt and will bear children.
Numbers 6:1-21: If a man or woman wants to make a vow of separation to God, he or she must not drink alcohol, not shave their hair or cut it, and not go near dead bodies. After his period of separation is over, offerings are made and the hair is shaved off.
6a) He commanded the Israelites to send away anyone with an infectious skin disease, a discharge, or who is ceremonially unclean because of a dead body. He commanded the Israelites to make full restitution for wrongs committed. He commanded the Israelites to resolve their marital questions about faithfulness through a mediator (the priest).
b) It set God’s people apart from the prevailing cultures around them. The Egyptians who were famous for embalming and worshipping the dead and the Phoenicians who used sex (discharge) in religious ceremonies.
c) It cleared their name if they were suspect and innocent. In ancient times, women could be killed if suspected of being unfaithful. This ensured men could not kill their wives–innocent or guilty–because of adultery.
7a) Personal Question. My answer: Publicly declaring yourself to God. Visually being different from those around you so others can see your dedication and your testimony to the One, True God.
b) Personal Question. My answer: Every Christian is set apart from others as they walk with the Holy Spirit as their guide. Yes, as I try to discover God’s will for my life and follow that instead of doing my own thing as prevalent in today’s society. I try to walk His walk and do His calling. Currently, my family and I are looking into sponsoring a child through Compassion International. It’s something I’ve been thinking about since the Compassion Experience recently came to my area a few months ago and after that I felt it was His will for my life to do that. It’s following God’s promptings in all aspects of your life that set you apart–not the big things but the little things.
Conclusions: No where is the separateness of God’s people from Him more noticeable than here in the pages of Numbers. As we see Israel’s struggle to become close to God and still never succeeded, those of us in the here and now on this side of heaven should be falling to our knees, praising God for His son, for His way of finally being with Him. Jesus is the only way to bridge the gap between God and man. Sometimes in our culture we take that too casually. Yes, God is approachable and wants to be with us. Still, reverence He requires and sometimes I think we are too casual with God. Here, in Numbers, we are reminded of just how privileged we are to be with Him and we need to remember that when we are with Him–in prayer and every day as we follow the Holy Spirit.
End Notes: Numbers 5: God dwelled with His people. He could not tolerate sin. Hence, these commands to rid the camp of unclean people.
Numbers 5:11-31 was God’s way of dealing with jealousy in a marriage. This trial is reflective of other “trials of ordeal” common in the Middle East at this time. This is the only one in the Bible and there is no Biblical record that this was ever performed. This ceremony was mostly show and to imbibe a guilty conscience if one was cheating on their spouse. It does demonstrate how God thinks about jealousy: enough to initiate a ceremony to combat it. Jealousy in a marriage ends many. God knows that and wanted us to know that as well.
Chapter 5 speaks to purity: of heart and with others. So make restitution today if you need to and be pure all of your days in relationships.
Numbers 6:1-21: The Hebrew word for Nazirite means “set apart”. Death is the consequence of sin; hence, the separation during the Nazirite’s vow so he or she would not be near sin.
Samson’s strength came from his vow of separation. He did drink and touch dead bodies, but it was when his hair was cut by Delilah that he lost his strength. (Judges)
If the vow was broken, then one had to start all over again.
Famous Nazirites: Samson, John the Baptist, and Paul.