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Separation, atonement and the Nazarite vow

Separation, atonement and the Nazarite vow

Separation, atonement, jealousy, discerning adultery, the Nazarite vow and the Lord's blessing are all part of today's reading.

Numbers 5: Unclean People

1 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

2 "Command the people of Israel that they put out of the camp everyone who is leprous or has a discharge and everyone who is unclean through contact with the dead.

3 You shall put out both male and female, putting them outside the camp, that they may not defile their camp, in the midst of which I dwell."

4 And the people of Israel did so, and put them outside the camp; as the LORD said to Moses, so the people of Israel did.

Confession and Restitution

5 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

6 "Speak to the people of Israel, 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,

7 he shall confess his sin that he has committed. And he shall make full restitution for his wrong, adding a fifth to it and giving it to him to whom he did the wrong.

8 But if the man has no next of kin to whom restitution may be made for the wrong, the restitution for wrong shall go to the LORD for the priest, in addition to the ram of atonement with which atonement is made for him.

9 And every contribution, all the holy donations of the people of Israel, which they bring to the priest, shall be his.

10 Each one shall keep his holy donations: whatever anyone gives to the priest shall be his."

A Test for Adultery

11 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

12 "Speak to the people of Israel, If any man's wife goes astray and breaks faith with him,

13 if a man lies with her sexually, and it is hidden from the eyes of her husband, and she is undetected though she has defiled herself, and there is no witness against her, since she was not taken in the act,

14 and if the spirit of jealousy comes over him and he is jealous of his wife who has defiled herself, or if the spirit of jealousy comes over him and he is jealous of his wife, though she has not defiled herself,

15 then the man shall bring his wife to the priest and bring the offering required of her, a tenth of an ephah of barley flour. He shall pour no oil on it and put no frankincense on it, for it is a grain offering of jealousy, a grain offering of remembrance, bringing iniquity to remembrance.

16 "And the priest shall bring her near and set her before the LORD.

17 And the priest shall take holy water in an earthenware vessel and take some of the dust that is on the floor of the tabernacle and put it into the water.

18 And the priest shall set the woman before the LORD and unbind the hair of the woman's head and place in her hands the grain offering of remembrance, which is the grain offering of jealousy. And in his hand the priest shall have the water of bitterness that brings the curse.

19 Then the priest shall make her take an oath, saying, 'If no man has lain with you, and if you have not turned aside to uncleanness while you were under your husband's authority, be free from this water of bitterness that brings the curse.

20 But if you have gone astray, though you are under your husband's authority, and if you have defiled yourself, and some man other than your husband has lain with you,

21 then' (let the priest make the woman take the oath of the curse, and say to the woman) 'the LORD make you a curse and an oath among your people, when the LORD makes your thigh fall away and your body swell.

22 May this water that brings the curse pass into your bowels and make your womb swell and your thigh fall away.' And the woman shall say, 'Amen, Amen.'

23 "Then the priest shall write these curses in a book and wash them off into the water of bitterness.

24 And he shall make the woman drink the water of bitterness that brings the curse, and the water that brings the curse shall enter into her and cause bitter pain.

25 And the priest shall take the grain offering of jealousy out of the woman's hand and shall wave the grain offering before the LORD and bring it to the altar.

26 And the priest shall take a handful of the grain offering, as its memorial portion, and burn it on the altar, and afterward shall make the woman drink the water.

27 And when he has made her drink the water, then, if she has defiled herself and has broken faith with her husband, the water that brings the curse shall enter into her and cause bitter pain, and her womb shall swell, and her thigh shall fall away, and the woman shall become a curse among her people.

28 But if the woman has not defiled herself and is clean, then she shall be free and shall conceive children.

29 "This is the law in cases of jealousy, when a wife, though under her husband's authority, goes astray and defiles herself,

30 or when the spirit of jealousy comes over a man and he is jealous of his wife. Then he shall set the woman before the LORD, and the priest shall carry out for her all this law.

31 The man shall be free from iniquity, but the woman shall bear her iniquity."

Numbers 6:The Nazirite Vow

1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

2 "Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When either a man or a woman makes a special vow, the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself to the LORD,

3 he shall separate himself from wine and strong drink. He shall drink no vinegar made from wine or strong drink and shall not drink any juice of grapes or eat grapes, fresh or dried.

4 All the days of his separation he shall eat nothing that is produced by the grapevine, not even the seeds or the skins.

5 "All the days of his vow of separation, no razor shall touch his head. Until the time is completed for which he separates himself to the LORD, he shall be holy. He shall let the locks of hair of his head grow long.

6 "All the days that he separates himself to the LORD he shall not go near a dead body.

7 Not even for his father or for his mother, for brother or sister, if they die, shall he make himself unclean, because his separation to God is on his head.

8 All the days of his separation he is holy to the LORD.

9 "And if any man dies very suddenly beside him and he defiles his consecrated head, then he shall shave his head on the day of his cleansing; on the seventh day he shall shave it.

10 On the eighth day he shall bring two turtledoves or two pigeons to the priest to the entrance of the tent of meeting,

11 and the priest shall offer one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering, and make atonement for him, because he sinned by reason of the dead body. And he shall consecrate his head that same day

12 and separate himself to the LORD for the days of his separation and bring a male lamb a year old for a guilt offering. But the previous period shall be void, because his separation was defiled.

13 "And this is the law for the Nazirite, when the time of his separation has been completed: he shall be brought to the entrance of the tent of meeting,

14 and he shall bring his gift to the LORD, one male lamb a year old without blemish for a burnt offering, and one ewe lamb a year old without blemish as a sin offering, and one ram without blemish as a peace offering,

15 and a basket of unleavened bread, loaves of fine flour mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers smeared with oil, and their grain offering and their drink offerings.

16 And the priest shall bring them before the LORD and offer his sin offering and his burnt offering,

17 and he shall offer the ram as a sacrifice of peace offering to the LORD, with the basket of unleavened bread. The priest shall offer also its grain offering and its drink offering.

18 And the Nazirite shall shave his consecrated head at the entrance of the tent of meeting and shall take the hair from his consecrated head and put it on the fire that is under the sacrifice of the peace offering.

19 And the priest shall take the shoulder of the ram, when it is boiled, and one unleavened loaf out of the basket and one unleavened wafer, and shall put them on the hands of the Nazirite, after he has shaved the hair of his consecration,

20 and the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the LORD. They are a holy portion for the priest, together with the breast that is waved and the thigh that is contributed. And after that the Nazirite may drink wine.

21 "This is the law of the Nazirite. But if he vows an offering to the LORD above his Nazirite vow, as he can afford, in exact accordance with the vow that he takes, then he shall do in addition to the law of the Nazirite."

Aaron's Blessing

22 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

23 "Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,

24 The LORD bless you and keep you;

25 the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;

26 the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

27 "So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them."

Things to think about…

1.Numbers 5:1-4 seems a bit harsh. Why would anyone who has no control over whether they get leprosy or a discharge be put outside the camp? Remember these laws are practical as well as spiritual. In the current Corona virus crises we see real practical wisdom in what the ancient Israelite law imposed on those who had very contagious diseases. The question might be asked, why didn't the Lord just heal them and they not have any separation at all? The reality is that our gracious and loving God uses sickness and suffering to draw us near to Himself. The writer of Psalm 119 wisely said "It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes". This is true. As one who has just spent the last few days lying in bed with a virus I can attest that my prayers have had a very pointed focus and my heart has been wonderfully drawn into the Lord's presence. Pray for our nation, our church that this situation would ultimately lead to the whole point of isolating to keep people from harm, that we may be able to join together again in corporate worship praising the Lord who is in the midst of His people, Num 5:3.

2.Praise the Lord for restitution, Num 5:5-10. These verses while pointing restitution with each other, they are also confirmed with being restored to the Lord through the priest, Num 5:8-10. Atonement simply means being made right again. It's wonderful to see the Lord's wisdom grace on clear display in passages like this in the Mosaic Law.

3.What do you make of the test for adultery in Num 5:11-31. The woman is tested and seen whether she is guilty or not. I would imagine if she is not guilty this would still be quite a harrowing affair. But notice the blessing. If she was guiltless, look at the promise, "she shall be free and shall conceive children.", Num 5:28. A silver lining indeed. One would hope that the husband's heart had a transformation as well. But what of the man that she committed adultery with, does he get away scot free. Elsewhere it says that if he is the known adulterer he is to be stoned, Lev 20:10. Why is it so hard on the woman here? The issue is that she is married and the Lord values this relationship higher than any other human institution – God has joined them together and adultery is an act of rejecting the God of marriage. Israel was married to the Lord. Christ is married to the church. Our marriage relationship should be a reflection of God's relationship with us. As we considered last Sunday when we looked at Mark 10, this is not always given the opportunity to be on display as we would desire.

4.Look at Num 6:1-21 and the Nazarite vow. No grape products were allowed, Num 6: 3,4. A woman could also take the Nazarite vow, vs 2. This is not well known. We know Samson was a Nazarite from birth who broke his vow not only by having his hair cut but also by drinking wine and committing adultery. He also went near dead bodies (he made a few) and took honey from a dead, unclean animal (a lion which he had killed weeks earlier), in Judges in chapters 13-16. The Nazarites were to be a witness to Israel that they were all to be separated for the Lord. After the period of the vow was completed the Nazarite was shaved bald, his hair burned which was also a witness to Israel to be viewed at the tent of meeting. The Nazarite was then allowed to drink wine, vs 20. All of this points to the work and ministry of the greatest Nazarite that ever live, the Nazarene Jesus Christ. Notice that after Jesus in the last supper offers Himself up as a sacrifice declaring the bread to be his body, Luke 22:19, 20; cf. Num 5:19. Jesus drinks wine with the disciples as we see the same for the Nazarite is free to do after his period of consecration is over, Num 5:20. But notice He says "For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes", Luke 22:18. This is also a fulfilment of the Nazarite in Num 5:3, 4 until after his consecration is complete. We will all drink this cup together with Him (the 4th cup) when He returns in victory.

5.I love these final verses of blessing in Num 6:23-27. I will often pray these verses when I am praying for people. Our Lord wants us to know His blessing and grace. Note that the blessings only come when holiness is desired by the person/people that are being prayed for. The reason being vs 27 – the Lord's name is upon them and we represent Him. There is a new song that Elevation Church has put out in the last few days that we will begin singing over the next few weeks called "The Blessing" which uses this passage. I am looking forward to our version done by Dan and the team.

Vision Point

CBC's Vision :- To be a growing biblical church community, significantly influencing our city and beyond, through intentional outreach, fulfilling our mission.

Prayer Points

1.Corona virus and how churches in Australia and around the world will appropriately deal with this pandemic.

2.New people as they settle into the life of the church.

3.Podcast logo completed. Podcast is entitled "Face and Faith". Coming shortly

4.Sunday's message on Num 5:1-10 "Cleaning up our act" - Doug Horne.

5.Sick, elderly as they recover. Graheme Monteith at home with leg infection – Cellulitis. Pray for the elderly win our church who are susceptible to lung infections.

6.Finish "Bean Redeemed" coffee shop and podcast area.

7.Church finances to meet our expenses.

8.Our City and Country – Pray for revival over our city and the leadership of our country.

Praise Points.

1.Swift response to the virus in Australia

2.Praise the Lord for more new people to CBC.

3.New Website and Podcast logo completed – Praise God for Melody and Suzie making this happen.

4.Recharge blessed again – thankyou leaders. New youth (who have never been to church).

5.Recharge growing – great night at the Progressive pantry raid on Friday night.

6.Unity, peace and Christ's love over our church.

Announcements

1.All of Church - Hosting, morning tea next Sunday morning.

2.Kids@Church on this week.Leaders for next Sunday Older group Leader:- Luke Scheepers. Lesson :- Easter Science 23. 2Cor 5:17. Younger Group Leader:- Danae Scheepers, Assistant:- Hannah Freeman. Lesson:-Hand Print Banner, Page 25.

3.No Recharge youth until further notice.

4.No Axiom evening services until further notice.

5.Saturday Men's activity – 28th March helping at Darrel and Jean's place. House tidy working bee. 8:00am start.

6.Combined Church youth event – Postponed until further notice.

March catechism question...

Q. 10. What is the third petition?
A. "Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven."

Bible Reference – Matt.6:10; Luke 11:2.



"Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known" Jer 33:3

Pastor Jay

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