You know, I’m just amazed at how many God principles and lessons for living are jam-packed into just the first couple of verses of Numbers chapter 5 that deal with ritual uncleanness and the camp of the Israelites.
We’ve studied how when an Israelite became unclean, his or her uncleanness was in danger of infecting the whole camp and thus he or she had to be expelled from among God’s people.
In other words, God could only dwell with His People when they were ritually CLEAN according to His standards.
There is a very important lesson here and I hope you’re catching it.
The lesson is this: We believers have definite obligations to our Creator if He is to dwell with us.
The same obligations that existed then exist now for us.
Since the Temple is no longer standing, those obligations may not consist of performing a series of sacrifices or performing rituals but the obligation to be made CLEAN still exists.
Our daily actions must reflect God’s HOLINESS and CLEANLINESS.
While it is true that our faith in Yeshua cleanses us, how we live our lives while we’re here on this earth is also of utmost importance.
Remember James said “faith without works is dead“.
What he meant is that a faith that doesn’t lead to a CLEAN and HOLY life in service to God is really no faith at all.
There is also another major principle we can glean from the operation of the Tabernacle and all of the measures that were put into place to protect God’s HOLINESS.
First, Israel had a thoroughly purified priesthood who were the only people allowed to get physically close to God.
Second, in order to make sure that nobody but God’s priests got close to God, special Levite guards were stationed to keep the common Israelites out and if a common Israelite did get too close, he (or she) was to be executed on the spot, no questions asked.
What we’re witnessing is nothing less than the God-ordained establishment of a system to deal with ritual impurity that involved the removal of UNCLEAN people from the area.
And procedures were also put in place to make the unclean clean again after it had been defiled.
Without this system, Israel would not have been able to enjoy the presence of God in their lives.
Now one question that is sometimes asked is “in this age of Yeshua, has this principle of protecting ourselves from the UNCLEAN been made obsolete?”
The answer is absolutely NOT!
The New Testament exhorts us over and over to not let impurity and uncleanness near us.
We are to stay away from false gods and idol worship.
We are not to participate in sexual immorality.
We are not to enter into close and intimate relationships with unbelievers.
Instead of being filled with alcohol to get high, we are to be filled with the Spirit.
Just as the Levites were in ancient times, we too have to be ruthless in exercising caution and alertness to protect ourselves from the UNCLEAN.
Now having said all that, I must say it is impossible to 100% avoid impurity in the fallen world we live in today.
I mean that’s why we need a Savior!
The existence of this reality was also clear in ancient Israel.
For example, that was the purpose of YOM KIPPUR or the Day of Atonement.
This special day was all about removing the accumulated UNCLEANNESS from God’s sanctuary.
This was surefire evidence that even in God’s sanctuary, UNCLEANNESS was still present and eventually needed to be dealt with.
In fact, the very existence of the Priests is evidence that UNCLEANNESS could and did make its way into God’s HOLY sanctuary, because it was their job to keep the Sanctuary clean.
And even in some cases, it was the priests themselves who caused UNCLEANNESS to enter into God’s Holy Sanctuary.
Remember, even the High Priest wasn’t considered perfect.
As long as we live in a fallen world, we will always be at war with UNCLEANNESS.
However, this is a war God has given us the power to win!