Not only must His Tabernacle, the place of His dwelling, be undefiled; but His people’s dwelling place, their camp, was to be a place of purity as well.
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Command the sons of Israel that they send away from the camp every leper and everyone having a discharge and everyone who is unclean because of a dead person. 3 You shall send away both male and female; you shall send them outside the camp so that they will not defile their camp where I dwell in their midst.” 4 The sons of Israel did so and sent them outside the camp; just as the Lord had spoken to Moses, thus the sons of Israel did, (5:1-4).
Okay, let’s just get it out in the open right now. This chapter is perplexing to say the least. As a female, I admit I was a tad miffed about this “adultery test” as only applied to the woman. After all, adultery does require two. What about the man? Was there no test for him? And what about that test?
As I wrestled with my questions, I couldn’t get away from one recurring thought: While this chapter opens with depictions of that which is blatantly and visibly unclean to the naked eye, the adultery test deals with that which was seemingly undetectable to others.
While perhaps hidden to all, but the guilty and the LORD, concealed defilement was equally offensive and would not be tolerated in the camp, the place where Holy God was to dwell in their midst.
Consider Him Who Revealed the Concealed
The LORD would bring to light what was hidden, whether faithfulness or defilement, the LORD, through this test, Revealed to the congregation that which was Concealed.
Then the priest shall bring her near and have her stand before the Lord… (5:16).
When he has made her drink the water, then it shall come about, if she has defiled herself and has been unfaithful to her husband, that the water which brings a curse will go into her and cause bitterness, and her abdomen will swell and her thigh will waste away, and the woman will become a curse among her people. 28 But if the woman has not defiled herself and is clean, she will then be free and conceive children. (5:27-28).
How do we respond to Him Who Revealed the Concealed?
- Throughout the Old Testament, God continuously exhibited His Holy character as well as man’s inability to keep His Law. The Old Testament was never meant to present mankind as achieving righteousness because he proved faithful; but rather was intended to reveal man’s utter failure and desperate need for what only the Lord could provide: His righteousness through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.
- But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor, (Galatians 3:23-25).
- When we place our faith in Jesus, He makes His dwelling place in our hearts and lives. We must be aggressive to protect our camp by sending away all that defiles, and by faith, honor His dwelling place in everything we do.
- Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
- Today, there is still an adultery test; it is found in His Word. And perhaps this sheds some light on why the adultery test was for the woman, picturing the call to fidelity in our relationship with the Lord as our Husband.
- For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the Lord of hosts; (Isaiah 54:5).
- The Lord calls us to faithful purity, period. Whether others can detect our thoughts or motives matters little; it is to Him alone to Whom we must answer. As we spend time with Him in His Word, He will Reveal that which we may attempt to Conceal.
- For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do, (Hebrews 4:12-13).
- Let us carefully guard our hearts’ purity, beginning with our thought life. We must take care what we allow to influence our thinking; our thinking will determine our actions, for as we think so we are.
- For as he thinks within himself, so he is, (Proverbs 23:7).
- For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light. 18 So take care how you listen; for whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him,” (Luke 8:17-18).
- And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect, (Romans 12:2).
- Let us go to Him boldly and ask Him to Reveal the Concealed that we might confess and be cleansed from all unrighteousness so that His temple may be undefiled.
- If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, (1 John 1:9).
- As we partake of His forgiveness, mercy and grace, may we be filled with an overflowing gratitude permeating everything we say and do. Let us pray our Concealed motives and thoughts Reveal an undefiled dwelling place, a temple fit for His Presence.
- Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father, (Colossians 3:17).