A difficult chapter to read. This chapter talks about separating the “unclean” out of the camp, restitution for one’s sin to another person, and jealous husbands – which, at the surface, sounds very misogynistic. I used to justify these topics using the culture at that time as the reason, but that does not seem enough. What we know now is that there is a spiritual significance to these commands. We won’t understand if we only look at this chapter, this book, but when we look at the bigger picture – it weaves the wonderful story of God’s great love.
The first part is simpler, and the clue is there in the command, “that they may not defile their camp, in the midst of where I dwell.” God is a stickler for cleanliness? Yes, He is. But the command for physical cleanliness is a symbol for spiritual cleanliness. We know this is the case because Jesus Himself drew near to these “outcasts”. God, being Holy, requires the things and people around Him to be holy. No unclean thing or person can be in God’s camp – where He dwells – His Kingdom. With God’s standard of perfection, who can stand? No one, except for those cleansed by the redemptive power of the blood of Jesus.
The next part, restitution. The popular, and logical, way of restitution is “an eye for an eye, tooth for tooth.” But this chapter commands more, you have to give back 120%. The interesting thing for me is this, who have we sinned against the most? God. What was the price of that sin? The sacrifice of Jesus. Are we able to make full restitution for that? No, that is why it is a great gift, grace. The least we can give back is our lives. In doing so we don’t actually lose it, but we will even have a better life. We cannot out give God!
The last part, jealous husbands, will have to wait till another post : )