Numbers 5

Numbers 5 has God telling Moses to separate people who had a condition that might impact others.  “Put out of the camp everyone who is leprous or has a discharge and everyone who is unclean through contact with the dead”.  There are three key areas where God calls them to send out of the camp those affected by:

  1. Leprosy
  2. A discharge
  3. Contact with the dead

This applies to males and females alike – no one was exempt.

Scripture tells us that “as the Lord said to Moses, so the people of Israel did”.  It may seem a bit cruel to put people outside the camp, but realize that this was one way to help control things that they believed could spread.  And it also is an analogy of the sin nature we have.  People didn’t chose leprocy, but inherited it from another.  We don’t choose our sin nature, but it came to us through Adam.  We certainly make choices to act with that sin nature and commit acts of sin, but this separation was a reminder of the need to pursue purity and to get away from that which causes sin.

God gives clarity around what is expected when someone sins.  “When a man or woman commits any of the sins that people commit by breaking faith with the Lord, and that person realizes his guilt, he shall confess his sin that he has committed….he shall make full restitution for his wrong, adding a fifth to it….in addition to the ram of atonement”.  The process was defined:

  1. Confession
  2. Restitution plus a fifth
  3. Atonement

Sin carries a price.  It is never free.  The good news is that God does allow us to be restored from the penalty of sin.  He has a plan to set us free.  Today, that plan is Jesus.  God sent Him to the cross to bear the price of our sin.  We need to receive the gift of grace that has been freely offered so the blood of Jesus can be the atonement for our sin.

The balance of the chapter involves the process of dealing with jealousy in marriage.  The truth is that marriage is God’s idea.  He designed it and planned it for our benefit and blessing.  God does not want couples to live in an on-going state of jealousy.  Here He gives a methodology for the priest to help prove whether the jealous feelings were justified or not.  The process could only work if God’s hand was involved in the outcome by making a guilty person ill.  The reality is that a ceremony like this certainly upped the awareness of sin among the people.  Often we get a little insensitive to sin around us.  This kind of process would definitely remind people that God not only cares about sin, but is active in identifying those who are guilty.


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