Numbers 19 … Consider His Purifying Water

I found myself with so many questions in Numbers 19. This statute of the law was different.

Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “This is the statute of the law which the Lord has commanded, saying, ‘Speak to the sons of Israel that they bring you an unblemished red heifer in which is no defect and on which a yoke has never been placed. You shall give it to Eleazar the priest, and it shall be brought outside the camp and be slaughtered in his presence. [19:1-3]

The red heifer was not an atoning sacrifice for sin. There are distinct differences between the red heifer and the animal sacrifices. To begin with, this was not a male, but a female. The red heifer was not sacrificed; it was slaughtered, not on the altar inside the courtyard, but outside the camp. From the ashes of the slaughtered red heifer, His Purifying Water would be prepared.

Consider His Purifying Water

  • His Purifying Water, the ashes of the red heifer mixed with flowing water, was kept for the removal of impurity; it was purification, not atonement, from sin.
    • …and the congregation of the sons of Israel shall keep it as water to remove impurity; it is purification from sin. [19:9]
    • Then for the unclean person they shall take some of the ashes of the burnt purification from sin and flowing water shall be added to them in a vessel. [19:17]
  • And who was in need His Purifying Water? Anyone contaminated by death; anyone who touched death, happened to be near death, or had touched the mere remnant of death, such as a bone or grave. Even an inanimate vessel left uncovered would be rendered unclean by its exposure to death.
    • Anyone who touches a corpse, the body of a man who has died, and does not purify himself, defiles the tabernacle of the Lord; and that person shall be cut off from Israel. Because the water for impurity was not sprinkled on him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is still on him… 15 Every open vessel, which has no covering tied down on it, shall be unclean. [19:13, 15]
  • His Purifying Water was required to prevent the sanctuary of the LORD from becoming defiled by death.
    • But the man who is unclean and does not purify himself from uncleanness, that person shall be cut off from the midst of the assembly, because he has defiled the sanctuary of the Lord; the water for impurity has not been sprinkled on him, he is unclean. [19:20]
  • His Purifying Water was to be a perpetual statute.
    • So it shall be a perpetual statute for them. [19:21]

How do we respond to His Purifying Water?

I still have many questions about Numbers 19, but one thing is abundantly clear; death is defiling and contaminates mankind, and the contaminating defilement of death is absolutely forbidden in God’s holy presence.

Your eyes are too pure to approve evil,
And You can not look on wickedness with favor…
[Habakkuk 1:13]

Let us be motivated to holy life by the truths of His Purifying Word:

  • The end result of sin is death.
    • but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” [Genesis 2:17]
    • Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned— [Romans 5:12]
  • Though death has spread to all, the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ received by faith has provided His grace gift of eternal life.
    • For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Romans 6:23]
  • By His grace He has given us the gift of life, freedom from the penalty, defilement and contamination of the wages of sin we have earned, death. Are we taking His grace for granted?
    • What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! [Romans 6:1-2]
  • Sin is insidious and none of us is immune. We must carefully guard our hearts from lustful enticements, making wise choices to enhance God’s good gift of life.
    • But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. [James 1:14-15]
  • May we be so arrested by His grace we would joyfully become His willing servants of righteousness, purposely avoiding even the slightest exposure to sin.
    • Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? [Romans 6:16]
  • Until we are fully transformed in Heaven we will fall. When we sin, let us be cleansed by His Purifying Water, freed from the guilt and shame of dead works.
    • For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? [Hebrews 9:13-14]
  • His Word sanctifies and cleanses His church. Let us pray our churches become vessels cleansed from the world’s contamination and defilement by His Purifying Water; that the church Jesus loved and gave His very life for, would be holy and blameless before Him.
    • …just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. [Ephesians 5:25-27]
  • We may always have questions, but we are called to holiness by faith in His grace; oh may we never take His grace or His holiness for granted but always remember the ravaging and deadly affects of sin. Let us be cleansed by His Purifying Water as we reflect on His perfect purity and be spurred to holy life as we depend on His life in us; for it is only the life of the Son of God in us worthy of approval.
    • Your eyes are too pure to approve evil,
      And You can not look on wickedness with favor…
      [Habakkuk 1:13]
    • I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. [Galatians 2:20]

Let’s Grow Together!

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