When we get some greater context to the situation then we have a better understanding of why things were done in such a way.
Reference: v.3 Send all these ritually unclean people out, so that they will not defile the camp, where I live among my people. (Good News Bible)
Explore: In the last year I have started working at a new organization and started attending a new church. When you first attend somewhere different everything seems new. You don’t understand how the organization works, who does what and why, and the unwritten rules have not been highlighted to you. You learn these things over time by either intuitively picking up social cues or by doing the wrong thing and promptly being corrected! It can take quite a while but things finally start to make sense. A routine that seemed strange to begin with slowly starts making sense when you get to know the people and the situation the organization is in.
Application: I will often read things in the Bible – particularly in the Old Testament – and not understand why that would happen. This passage is one of them. If someone told me that God is the type of god who segregates all people who are sick and different and expels them out of the community I would fight black and blue that that is not my God. However, here it is in Numbers 5. If I read this passage with my 2011 understanding of health, hygiene and sanitation then I would find it hard to understand such a command from God. However, these people were nomads who were living in basic structures. They had to protect the wider community from illness and disease. They couldn’t just pop down to the local chemist to pick up some antibiotics. When we get some greater context to the situation then we have a better understanding of why things were done in such a way. It’s important for us not to make judgments from a surface understanding but try to dig a little deeper to see if there is good reason.
Prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Amen —Reinhold Niebuhr
What do you need to seek greater understanding about?
This is my 1000th post. Thanks for reading 🙂
This article was written by Linda Bailey
Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.