Did you ever think about the things that God required of the Israelites regarding purity? Why did ritual things need to be done? Why would water need to be sprinkled on a tent or a house, or for that matter, on a person make them clean? Read on to see the difference between the old laws and the new.
Then a man who is ceremonially clean is to take some hyssop, dip it in the water and sprinkle the tent and all the furnishings and the people who were there. Numbers 19:18 NIV
Did God automatically cleanse them? If that were the case, why didn’t he just supernaturally keep sickness and disease out of the camp altogether?
I think I might have some insight into the answer. If God did supernaturally keep all sickness out of the camp, can you imagine how proud and boastful these people might have become? God is not fond of pride.
The Requirements of the Old Laws
I see two laws at work here. The first was the law of nature. This was the law established when God created the earth and all that is on it.
This chapter is dealing with a dead body. We could call what happens with a lifeless body, the law of decay. When life ceases, decay starts and it can bring with it diseases.
When someone died, the house and the people who were in the house were kept in seclusion for seven days before they were declared clean. Thus keeping any disease quarantined from the rest of the camp.
There is a principal in this command holding validity now until eternity. Verse 19 says, The man who is clean is to sprinkle those who are unclean on the third and seventh days, and on the seventh day he is to purify them.
Verse 20 goes on to say, those who are unclean do not purify themselves. God took the ritualistic ceremony away when Jesus died and rose again so we could be purified.
The second is the law of Moses. Parts of this law don’t make a lot of sense to us. The part of sprinkling a house or burning a cow or lamb.
These are things that the average person wouldn’t even think about doing for any reason at all.
No one gets up in the morning and says, “I think I’ll sprinkle my house today. And to be safe, I’ll do it again tomorrow for God.”
No, these were precise commands that God required. They were acts of obedience. If they weren’t done, there were severe penalties.
As the Israelites followed these rules, they lived with God always on their minds. They lived in continual obedience to him.
What is Different about the New Law?
We don’t have the kind of rules today that were required during the Old Testament times. There was definitely a difference between the old laws and the new.
At the time when Jesus walked on the earth, the law and commands became the center of religion instead of making God the focus.
Today we can also become ritualistic in our worship. Just like in the New Testament days our focus can be on tradition more so than on the Lord.
There is nothing wrong with a well-organized worship service as long as Jesus is at the center of it. And when we leave that house of worship, it is important that we have taken the opportunity to recommit ourselves to the new laws of the covenant established by Jesus.
Those laws are, love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul. The second is like the first, love your neighbor as you love yourself. You can read another post where the law was overtaken by God’s grace.
You may want to read this related post called Is The Law Of The Old Testament Still Valid?
Another related post you might like is How To Live Without Fearing The Law.
Lord, help us to live by the law of love every moment of every day.
Also read an excellent post on Worship called, How To Worship God With All Of Your Life.
To get the complete story read Numbers 19.
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