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The Water of Cleansing (Numbers 19:1~10)
1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron:
2 "This is a requirement of the law that the LORD has commanded: Tell the Israelites to bring you a red heifer without defect or blemish and that has never been under a yoke.
3 Give it to Eleazar the priest; it is to be taken outside the camp and slaughtered in his presence.
4 Then Eleazar the priest is to take some of its blood on his finger and sprinkle it seven times toward the front of the Tent of Meeting.
5 While he watches, the heifer is to be burned -- its hide, flesh, blood and offal.
6 The priest is to take some cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet wool and throw them onto the burning heifer.
7 After that, the priest must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water. He may then come into the camp, but he will be ceremonially unclean till evening.
8 The man who burns it must also wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he too will be unclean till evening.
9 "A man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and put them in a ceremonially clean place outside the camp. They shall be kept by the Israelite community for use in the water of cleansing; it is for purification from sin.
10 The man who gathers up the ashes of the heifer must also wash his clothes, and he too will be unclean till evening. This will be a lasting ordinance both for the Israelites and for the aliens living among them.
The Purification Process (19:1–8)
Like all the other Old Testament customs and rituals, preparing the water of cleansing is an arduous and complicated process, but it is a requirement set by the LORD. It reminds the Israelites of God’s holy standard and how unworthy they are to come before Him. The entire process makes everyone involved, including the priest, ceremonially unclean, but it is a necessary task that will provide the people with the water of cleansing to purify them from their sins. Sinners cannot come before our Holy God unless they are purified according to His standards. Because God loves His people, He makes a way for them to draw near to Him: through these rituals for the Israelites, and through the blood of Christ for Christians today.
- Without Christ, there is no way for us to approach God. Thank Him for His grace, and pray that you would never take it for granted.
Ashes for Cleansing (19:9–10)
The red heifer without defect or blemish is slaughtered and burned so its ashes can be used for the water of cleansing that will purify the people of Israel from their sins. An innocent creature is killed for the sake of sinful Israel, showing us how costly it is for sinners to come before a holy God. We are purified from sin before our holy God at the cost of an innocent life. In the days of the old covenant, this meant offering an animal sacrifice. Under the new covenant, we are purified by the once-for-all sacrifice of the Lamb of God. We are made clean and pure because of Christ alone.
- A proper approach to God’s holiness makes us humble and grateful. Come before God today and acknowledge His holiness.
A letter to God
Almighty God, You are good and gracious. Draw me close to Your holy presence that I might be aware of how glorious and powerful You are. May I never take Your mercy and grace for granted. Thank you for making a way for me to be with You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
* All Copyrights of the text in Living Life belong to Duranno Books.