OT 2012: Num 4-5

Well we’re 3 books down in our goal to finish the entire OT in 2012.  How are you doing?  Did you enjoy Leviticus?  I hope you did.  I certainly did.  By the way, let me apologize for not blogging recently.  It’s been a busy last 5 days (we closed on our house in Lexington and moved all our stuff to Owensboro!).

We’ve just begun the book of Numbers, and like Leviticus, this can be a tough book to get through.  But let’s remember that all Scripture is God-breathed and therefore it’s all useful (2 Tim. 3:16).  There are good lessons to be learned here.

One such lesson comes from chapter 5.  In the latter part of this chapter we see a law/test introduced to settle a matter of a husband who suspects his wife has been unfaithful to their marriage.  At first this law seems very sexist and unfair toward women.  But as we will see below, it’s actually a good law for both men and women.

First, the entire ordeal was to be done at the door of the tabernacle – a very public event where everyone would see and know about it.  This means that if the woman had committed such a sin her punishment would come, but if she hadn’t the man who was unjustly jealous would be shamed in front of the entire community.  That’s a big risk to take so it’s reasonable to assume that men didn’t just flippantly bring their wives to this test any time they had a jealous feeling or thought.

Second, the law is partially meant to be a picture of our relationship with God, which is probably why the woman is focused on so exclusively.  In Scripture God is constantly revealing himself as our husband who has taken us as his bride.  Furthermore the sin of idol worship by his followers is often likened to adultery – a promiscuous bride going after another husband that is not God.  We do this every time we sin.  Therefore God is showing us that our sin has consequences (see 5:27).  It can be forgiven and we can continue to live with God, but there are consequences we will suffer.  But don’t take this analogy too far… God would never be wrong, or make a mistake in a false accusation.

I don’t have all the answers to this section of Scripture.  Admittedly this seems more than a bit biased toward the man.  However, when I don’t have the answers I don’t question God.  I trust him and I search for an answer that fits within his character.  We should make this a consistent practice any time we read Scripture and throughout the rest of this year.