February 10, 2023
“For the purification of the unclean person, they are to take some of the ashes of the burnt sin offering, put them in a jar, and add fresh water to them. A person who is clean...”
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“For the purification of the unclean person, they are to take some of the ashes of the burnt sin offering, put them in a jar, and add fresh water to them. A person who is clean is to take hyssop, dip it in the water and sprinkle the tent and all its furnishings, and the people who were there. He is also to sprinkle the one who touched a bone, a grave, a corpse, or a person who had been killed.” Numbers 19:17-18
The majority of commands in the Torah make perfect sense by today’s medical and scientific standards. For instance, the kosher dietary laws have been proven to direct people into healthier eating patterns. Concerning matters of personal hygiene, the Lord directed Israel to avoid mold spores and contagions centuries before the microscope was invented.
Forgive me for not detailing the practical nature of all 613 Torah commands. My point is simply that it took great faith for the community of Israel to follow what seemed like senseless orders from Moses. There was only God’s Word, with no practical science to support it. Only later (many generations later) did scientists begin to discover practical, observable scientific foundations for God’s instruction.
I wish I could identify with Moses more in the book of Numbers. Sadly, I find myself empathizing with the grumbling Israelite community. This was especially true when I was a younger disciple. So many of God’s commands seemed needlessly inefficient and laborious. I wondered when I was ever going to enter that life of “freedom and abundant joy” I heard other followers of Messiah talk about.
Shortly after choosing to follow Jesus, I found myself longing for (and taking a few) day trips back to “Egypt,” so to speak, just to remember the good old days of guiltless abandon. Those short returns to Egypt never really turned out like I wanted, and eventually, I learned to appreciate God and take Him at His Word.
I’m writing this to encourage you to trust Jesus by faith, and stick with it. Proverbs 3:5-12
All that said let’s return to today’s (above) passage, Numbers 19 17-18. How does ash from an offering mixed with water purify a man and his household? Is it purely symbolic, or is there some medicinal property to this elixir? I have no idea. I simply know to trust the Lord’s Word over my instincts. My instincts have failed me, yet the Word of the Lord will always prove right in the end. So, let’s hold on, pressing on until the end!
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©Steve Wiggins 2021