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December 20, 2018

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year

Text: Hebrews 11-13
Audio: Hebrews 11-13

You can use the audio Bible as a guide to help “set the pace” as you read along.

Numbers 5 (ESV)

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “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. 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.” 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.

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “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, 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. 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. 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.”

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.”

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Next: Numbers 6

Back: Numbers 4

This Post Has 3 Comments
  1. "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" (Numbers 5:6-7a).

    Breaking Faith with the Lord

    Numbers 5:6 is the only place in Scripture the term "breaking faith" is found. Numbers 5:12 uses the term "breaks faith" (the only time its used in Scripture) which gives us insight into what "breaking faith with the Lord" means.

    Numbers 5:12-14 says "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…"

    What does it mean to break faith with the Lord?

    It's unfaithfulness.

    Just as a husband and wife can be unfaithful to one another in marriage, we can be unfaithful to God in our relationship with Him.

    Just as restitution was necessary if someone was found guilty of adultery in the Old Testament, restitution must be made for our adultery to God. Jesus Christ paid the ransom and makes restitution for all who recognize their sin of adultery towards God and through faith in Him, find mercy and forgiveness with the Father through His atoning sacrifice for us. 

    Scripture often uses marriage as an illustration to our relationship with God. Just as Jesus used agricultural illustrations to expound spiritual truth to the people he spoke to who would have a working knowledge of agriculture, marriage is something we all can relate to. You don't have to be married to understand the concept of adultery and no one likes to be cheated on – not even (and especially) God Himself.

    In the Ten Commandments, the Lord said in Exodus 20:2-5

    “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

    3 “You shall have no other gods before me.

    4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me."

    God considers our worship of anything other than Him as us hating Him!

    He reveals in the Ten Commandments for the first time in Scripture that He is a "jealous God" who does not want us to have any other gods before Him.

    This unfaithfulness is us "breaking faith with the Lord."

    Do we reject the God of the Bible and worship a god of our own making?

    Are there "gods" in our lives that we "worship" other than the God who is revealed in Scripture?

     

  2. I don't quite know how to answer those questions. I really try to see the truth as far as why I do the things I do, what my motivations are; I want to make sure my intentions are pure and that I'm doing what God wants me to do. 

    I know I used to live for myself, for my own comfort and pleasure. Today I want to make sure that Jesus is in the forefront of my mind, heart & soul in everything I do. That's a tall order in this world, and I know at times I'll fail, but I will never, ever forget how He suffered to save me, and I'll spend the rest of my life striving to follow on His path. 

  3. This chapter always disturbs me, because it appears to punish a wife for her husband's jealousy even if she has not been unfaithful:

    "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." (v. 24) And this bitter pain was suffered even if she were innocent! 

    So it reminds me of the European witch trials, where women accused of witchcraft were tested (e.g. by dropping them — bound — into freezing water to see if they'd float or sink), and if "found guilty" were burned at the stake or hanged. 

    At least here in Numbers 5, the woman does not die, even if "guilty." That is certainly a protection for her. But I wonder why there is no counter-punishment for the husband if she is found innocent? Something that would cause a jealous husband to think twice before bringing his wife before the priest, just in case she is indeed innocent? 

    What I want to focus on here, though, is the great emphasis God places on faithfulness. He created marriage to be a picture of our relationship with Him. But His is an enduring faithfulness, even when we wander. (I'm thinking now of the book of Hosea…wow!) 

    I know full well I do not love God as He loves me…and my heart wanders and is self-seeking. I want to be fully and wholly devoted to God in every thought, in every circumstance, in every breath, as He is to me.

    Like Hosea, God has taken for Himself a people "prone to wander." We are guilty…and it is Jesus who drank the bitter cup in our place.  

    That is a mind-blowing thought…He loves us so much.

    "O to grace, how great a debtor, daily I'm constrained to be 
    Let thy goodness like a fetter, bind my wand'ring heart to Thee 
    Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love 
    Here's my heart, Lord, take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above…"

     

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