Apr 28, 2022

(Numbers 5, Psalm 39; Optional Romans 13:1-7, Proverbs 21:1-5)

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NUMBERS 5 – I was very helped and both convicted / encouraged by this ~45 min sermon (“Dealing with Sin” by Edward Donnelly): https://mp3.sermonaudio.com/filearea/52309941110/52309941110.mp3

Several of my notes are summarizing some of the most stand-out points to me…

Num 5:1-4 – Folks with skin disease, discharge, or contact with a dead body hadn’t SINNED by this, but were still unclean by living in this fallen, post-Gen 3 world. Jesus in His ministry touched and cleansed / raised from the dead folks in all these categories. For those who trust Him, He took OUR uncleanness and sin on Himself and HE went “outside the camp”. Hebrews 13:12–13 (ESV) – “So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured.”

Num 5:5-10 – Those in this section DID sin against another person in the camp, realized it, then: confesses the sin (compare Prov 28:13, 1 Jn 1:9), makes restitution (compare Matt 5:23-26), but atonement by blood sacrifice was also needed (again compare so much of the book of Hebrews and 2 Cor 5:21).

Num 5:11-31 – By far the longest section, and a very interesting glimpse of life under a theocracy where the one true God is willing to actually adjudicate in marriages where the husband is deeply suspicious a wife has been adulterous but there’s no proof. In many cultures when Numbers was written a husband would simply have has wife executed just on his suspicion, but Yahweh would have none of that!

A couple reasons why maybe such a huge focus on this… 1) Marriage is so important to God and the foundation of society.  2) Marriage is a key picture of the relationship between God and His people (see the whole book of Hosea, Eph 5:22-33), and when His people are spiritually unfaithful, God calls it adultery (Jer 3, Ezek 23, James 4:4).

In Num 5, a POTENTIALLY adulterous wife would drink from the bitter cup of holy water and call down on herself judgment from God if she has indeed been unfaithful.  In Ezek 23, God says that adulterous Israel will have to drink the bitter cup of His righteous wrath. Flash forward to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus cries out to His Father over drinking the bitter cup of God’s righteous wrath not for His OWN unfaithfulness (because He was PERFECTLY faithful), but on behalf of His bride (those who would trust in Him). He drank the bitter cup for OUR unfaithfulness, and when He cried “It is finished,” He was saying that the unfaithfulness of His repentant people is paid for IN FULL. Oh, may we show our deep love and devotion to Jesus who KNOWS all of our unfaithfulnesses and STILL bears the punishment we deserve. Oh Lord, help us grow in faithfulness to Jesus!

PSALM 39  – This and Psalm 88 have no happy ending apparent and are reminders that there are significant seasons of darkness in the life of a believer. Job also gets to the almost hopeless depths of Ps 39:12-13. And Ps 39:4-6 sounds like a summary of Ecclesiastes.

Ps 39:1-2 – See also Ps 73:15 – There ARE times not to say everything we’re thinking/feeling.

Ps 39:4 – Very similar to the prayer in Ps 90:12! It IS vital in rough times to reflect on the shortness of this life on this fallen world.

Ps 39:7 – Even when we are heartbroken and can’t understand what God is up to, we must still turn to Him. Compare Peter’s response when many were leaving Jesus, frustrated by His hard teaching. When Jesus asked if His closest disciples would also leave, Peter answered “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life…” (John 6:68, ESV).

Optional Rom 13:1-7 – Pretty straight forward! There are exceptions (Ex 1:15-20, Acts 5:29 – “We must obey God rather than men.”), but God calls government to execute HIS justice. This includes capital punishment and just war (“the sword” – v 4). And it includes believers paying taxes (v 6-7). And yes, they’ll misuse taxes for awful things (and be held accountable to God one day for that)… When Rom 13 was written, the government was using tax money to have Christians executed (see Rom 8:35-36). Paul himself was executed several years after Romans was written.

Optional Proverbs 21:1-5 – Reflect on v 1, 3 in light of Rom 13:1-7. Prov 21:1 does NOT mean that a king is off the hook for responsibility for his decisions – compare Rom 9:14-24 and the example of Pharaoh.