July 10, 2019

Sin: It's a Big Deal, Even the Little Ones!

Numbers 19

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Laws for Purification

Now the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, “This is the statute of the law that the LORD has commanded: Tell the people of Israel to bring you a red heifer without defect, in which there is no blemish, and on which a yoke has never come. And you shall give it to Eleazar the priest, and it shall be taken outside the camp and slaughtered before him. And Eleazar the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger, and sprinkle some of its blood toward the front of the tent of meeting seven times. And the heifer shall be burned in his sight. Its skin, its flesh, and its blood, with its dung, shall be burned. And the priest shall take cedarwood and hyssop and scarlet yarn, and throw them into the fire burning the heifer. Then the priest shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp. But the priest shall be unclean until evening. The one who burns the heifer shall wash his clothes in water and bathe his body in water and shall be unclean until evening. And a man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and deposit them outside the camp in a clean place. And they shall be kept for the water for impurity for the congregation of the people of Israel; it is a sin offering. 10 And the one who gathers the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes and be unclean until evening. And this shall be a perpetual statute for the people of Israel, and for the stranger who sojourns among them.

11 “Whoever touches the dead body of any person shall be unclean seven days. 12 He shall cleanse himself with the water on the third day and on the seventh day, and so be clean. But if he does not cleanse himself on the third day and on the seventh day, he will not become clean. 13 Whoever touches a dead person, the body of anyone who has died, and does not cleanse himself, defiles the tabernacle of the LORD, and that person shall be cut off from Israel; because the water for impurity was not thrown on him, he shall be unclean. His uncleanness is still on him.

14 “This is the law when someone dies in a tent: everyone who comes into the tent and everyone who is in the tent shall be unclean seven days. 15 And every open vessel that has no cover fastened on it is unclean. 16 Whoever in the open field touches someone who was killed with a sword or who died naturally, or touches a human bone or a grave, shall be unclean seven days. 17 For the unclean they shall take some ashes of the burnt sin offering, and fresh1 water shall be added in a vessel. 18 Then a clean person shall take hyssop and dip it in the water and sprinkle it on the tent and on all the furnishings and on the persons who were there and on whoever touched the bone, or the slain or the dead or the grave. 19 And the clean person shall sprinkle it on the unclean on the third day and on the seventh day. Thus on the seventh day he shall cleanse him, and he shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water, and at evening he shall be clean.

20 “If the man who is unclean does not cleanse himself, that person shall be cut off from the midst of the assembly, since he has defiled the sanctuary of the LORD. Because the water for impurity has not been thrown on him, he is unclean. 21 And it shall be a statute forever for them. The one who sprinkles the water for impurity shall wash his clothes, and the one who touches the water for impurity shall be unclean until evening. 22 And whatever the unclean person touches shall be unclean, and anyone who touches it shall be unclean until evening.”

Footnotes

[1] 19:17 Hebrew living

Sin: It's a Big Deal, Even the Little Ones!



Key Verse | Numbers 19:1-2

Now the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, "This is the statute of the law that the LORD has commanded: Tell the people of Israel to bring you a red heifer without defect, in which there is no blemish, and on which a yoke has never come."

 

Bio | Scott Michael

Hello, travelers. My name is Scott Michael. I am thrilled to be on this Journey with you.

There was a day not long ago when my life was defined by the pursuit of riches, happiness, and comfort. Jesus has changed and is changing all of that. He's given my life purpose—to know Him, enjoy Him, and make Him known.

Because of Him, I am a better husband to my wife (Sally) and a better dad to my three kids (Ryan, Abby, and Gracie); and I have the desire to be a blessing to all those around me.

Central Truth

Just as God, through the sacrifice of a red heifer, provided a way for the Israelites in their "wandering" to be clean in the midst of their sin, He has provided a way for us, while in the midst our own sin, to be cleansed, renewed, and made righteous in His eyes.

Devotional | Numbers 19

Writing this devotional was timely, as I just finished going through the Book of Numbers with a group of friends. As you're learning as well, this book is so much more than just a few opportunities for the...

Writing this devotional was timely, as I just finished going through the Book of Numbers with a group of friends. As you're learning as well, this book is so much more than just a few opportunities for the Israelites to "stand and be counted" or for a census to be taken. It is also a reminder of the consequences of disobedience and rebellion against God.

With those consequences, though, we get a picture of the goodness of God, His love for his chosen people, His provision for them, and His desire for them to dwell with Him. We also see a foreshadowing of the coming Christ who would be our provision, the final sacrifice, so that we too might be "made clean" before God, forgiven and fully reconciled to a good, holy and perfect Father (see Romans 10:9-10).

Recently, over breakfast with my youngest, Gracie, I was asking her how this passage could possibly be relevant today. One of the ideas she shared was that, as Christians, if we're not careful, we can grow numb or comfortable with the "little" sin in our lives that we might think is not that big a deal. This passage screams just how big a deal all sin is to God. It shows the lengths those under the law had to undertake to be cleansed once they were defiled. It shows the consequence of being "cut off from the midst of the assembly" that resulted from uncleanliness. 

We reminded each other of God's amazing grace (see Ephesians 2:8-9) in our own lives and His love for us, His calling to confess when we fall short (which is every day), and His promises as we choose to trust Him and walk in obedience (see James 5:16; 1 John 1:9​). ​​​​​​We also talked about how, throughout each day, we make a choice to either walk in sin or walk in the light. And we remembered that He dwells in us (see 1 Corinthians 6:19) and that, as we yield to Him, we have all that we need (John 15:5) to live the abundant life that God promises to those who believe and choose to follow Him (John 10:10).

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Discussion Questions

1. Is there sin that you have either grown accustomed to or become comfortably numb with in your life?

2, Where are you justifying sin in your life rather than calling it what it is and choosing faithfulness?

3. Is there sin in your life that you have not confessed to God and/or another person?

4. Are you regularly confessing sin in your community group?

12 Comments available

Jay Caruso 4 days ago

Thank you Scott for your time breaking this. Since attending regen has given me the ability to recognize my struggles and deal with them daily and confess to others and not feel judged but encouraged. And the daily forgiveness our father and lord of all and savior extends to use is incredible

Linda Green 8 days ago

Thanks, Scott (and Gracie!) Looking backwards at these instructions from a medical perspective, and then at the way Ebola was spread by contact with the dead, these strict instructions add a layer of grace to preserve lives. We can trust God’s instructions to be good even when it doesn’t make sense to us at the time. So thankful that one day in the presence of Jesus we will finally have all the missing pieces and we will understand His goodness.

Michael Scaman 8 days ago

I’m not sure the significant of “the red female cow” the red heifer used to purify someone who came in contact with the dead and to dedicate the temple from verse 1. The idea of a red female cow seems unusual Red Angus and Texas Longhorn can have reddsh fur.

Michael Scaman 8 days ago

A red female cow that never did any work. Seems an unusual sacrifice and why?

Trey Collins 9 days ago

Great devo Scott! Easy to justify little sins, but before a perfect holy God it’s all just “sin”. Be blessed today brother!

John Hill 9 days ago

Scott, Great job with the devotional and great job of leading your daughter, Gracie, through scripture. Once again, a devotional writer has provided insight, clarity, and connection to scripture verses that seemed (to me) difficult to understand or apply. Thanks to you and Gracie for showing me how Numbers 19 applies to my life TODAY!

Jonas Scott 9 days ago

YES!!!

1000 upvotes. This is the work of the church, defeating sin in its members. If not for the free will of God to choose and save me from depravity I would spit in His face. Saved I’m called to proclaim this truth to the unbelieving world not being distracted by those who want to confuse the church with interest that compete with her only mission.

Richard Kirk 9 days ago
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Thanks Hugh and Scott brings both for these reminders!

Hope Harris 9 days ago

It strikes me this morning that as a 21 century person I am far removed from a world far less sanitary than ours. In this I see a God who created the the earth and the human body. He knows what will impact us physically and cares enough to give us the tools to stay healthy and thrive.

That speaks to me of a personal God who deeply care for us

Lindsey Driscoll 9 days ago

Scott, great insight into confession and Gods provision for healing through Christ. We just read of the rebellion of Korah and his followers and the thousands that died along with him, and we know that as the nation of Israel continues to wander in the desert we see old people die and their bodies have to be dealt with. Praise be to God that he provided a way for Israel to be clean from dealing with the dead and those who have died due to their sin. God provides the same for us washing away of sins through Christ’s blood as we confess. “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:11

Hugh Stephenson 9 days ago

Scott!!! So awesome to see you on JTJ this morning!! Love this “It is also a reminder of the consequences of disobedience and rebellion against God.”

Until a few years ago I never connected the dots on purity. It took the great teachings in re:gen to explain that God demands complete purity because He is completely pure. I am…not.

Strive or Surrender? An “acceptable” sin for me is striving. Do. Read. Study. Serve. Lead.

A deeper understanding of God’s goodness and kindness teach me that accepting my worthlessness is the answer. I love this truth in a recent message - “The answer is not trying harder. The answer is giving up.”

BOOM!

I disobey and rebel. God loves me. That’s crazy.

Q1 - The primary sin struggle for me is Resentments. Lots of them. Confessing them lays them bare before the cross.

May my heart be made humble and contrite.

Michael Scaman 10 days ago

It seems there may some protection here for the people against some contagious diseases.

Even people coming into the tent might be unclean and maybe a bit quaranteened

Even things in opened jars are unclean

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