A Worshipful Journey Through the Book of Numbers
Four hundred years of compromise, sin, suffering and darkness at the hands of evil authorities. Israel’s only way to be healed is to come out of slavery and into the freedom of the Lord’s authority. Picture yourself when reading of Israel. As you follow our study through the often overlooked book of Numbers, you will see how God rehabilitates and frees broken people.
Day 5: The Leper and the Nazarite Comparison
The natural inclination of the human heart is to respond to authority in two different ways—in “rebellion” or through “religion.” In order to demonstrate what resides at the basest heart motives of those within the ranks of humanity, God once again devotes time and attention in Numbers 5-6 toward two “dramatized” people groups within Israel itself—the Nazarites and the Leper.
Leprosy is a very common thing in the Old Testament, and its prevalence continued even on into the time of Jesus. It is often used as an external “diorama” that points to what sin has done to us internally. Leprosy’s spread produces numbness within a person’s body or the cancerous venom travels about a person’s body, exposing nerves, breaking open sores, and creating painful discharge.
Leprous people are closely linked to the state of Israel, and to all of humanity throughout Scripture. Sin’s destruction, brought upon us by our own rebellion toward God’s authority, can make us calloused (numbing us), or it can make us like a live wire (explosive).
On the other hand, the Nazarite’s were also an odd group. Their name literally means to “separate oneself and consecrate oneself.” Some of the tactics included in their regiment was not showering. They did not eat anything from the vine, nor did they touch or have anything to do with anything dead. They were also to let their hair grow long and un-manicured.
The Nazarite vow of “religion” is not the end, however. Religion means “to bind back,” and is an attempt to get back to God. Religion is a killer. Rather, their lifestyle is to point to the true end of enjoyment in God alone. A nugget of meaning can be mined from Numbers chapter 6 verse 19 when God instructed, in the aftermath of such a display by the Nazarite, that “the Nazarite may drink wine.” The goal of the Nazarite’s purity was to train them to enjoy all things in creation for God’s glory—not in rebellion nor in religion.
These two people groups, one outwardly ugly and the other outwardly put together, were to point to the same reality—there is a balance between rebellion and religion, and it’s God. In coming out of slavery we are tempted to either underperform, or overperform, but the gospel is that Jesus performs for us and makes us right inwardly by his grace so we can live FREE.
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