Numbers 5 – Underlayment
I would like to point out something present in the text we are studying in Numbers chapter 5. This “something” is maybe less obvious but nonetheless influences our understanding of the passage. I’m not sure this thing I want to discuss is necessarily a theme, it’s almost more of an underlayment supporting and keeping level the foundation for the passage.
I see this underlaying concept all throughout scripture, both Old and New Testaments. When I mentioned it your response may very well be, “oh yeah, that”. Before I introduce this concept I offer a warning. Because of its prolific presence throughout the scriptures, many have suggested it is the central theme of the entire Bible. If we determined the Bible to have a single central theme, then I would disagree that this is it. We must take care not to reach conclusions about the Bible’s overall theme without doing our due diligence examining the evidence thoroughly. But we’ll leave that discussion for another time lest we get pulled too far off the topic.
In a word, this underlaying concept is “relationship”. Maybe the best example can be found in the so-called ten commandments expressed in Exodus 20. Have you ever notice the first four commandments establish relationship principles between man and YHWH? And the following six commandments are concerning relationship between man and man?
Now would be a good time to pause and read Numbers 5 keeping the relationship concept in mind. As you pay attention to this “underlayment” of relationship, you’ll begin to notice some particular attributes about it. For example, there is a definite order of importance. Relationship between man and God must be given priority over relationship between man and man. If the priority is reversed, one will never obtain right relationship with God. What people pleaser ever pleased God? As an example consider the following scripture.
34 But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together.
35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying,
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
37 Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Another attribute of this relationship concept I have observed is the inextricable nature of the relationships between God and man, and man and man. If you are going to relate to God you are also going to relate to man. If you are going to relate poorly to God I can pretty much guarantee you will also relate poorly to man. A great example of this concept can be found right here in Numbers 5:5-10.
In verse 5 a man or woman commits sin breaking faith with YHWH. As we keep reading we discover the sin was not only against God but also against an individual. He/she must confess, denoting relationship with God, then make reparation or restitution denoting relationship with man. If restitution cannot be made with the offended man or his family, then it is made to God (verse 8).
There is one more attribute of the relationship concept or underlayment that I want to point out. Traces of the previously mentioned attributes can be found in this one. There is the relationship between God and His Word. John chapter one is, of course, the best example. Read all of John chapter one, but here are three summary verses.
Jn 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He was in the beginning with God.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
I absolutely love plumbing the depths of God’s Holy Word! When I take the time to prayerfully study the Word in relationship with my Redeemer Jesus, I am blessed beyond measure. Nothing can reveal the face of our God except His Holy Word by the power of His Holy Spirit.
As John 1 begins to reveal, if we are to be in right relationship with God, it must be through His Word as represented in the person of Jesus the anointed one, the Christ.
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
7 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”
If you are down, if you are in despair, need encouragement, lack strength. Spend your last little bit of energy surrendering to YHWH. Invest in relationship with God and His Word through prayer and he will renew your strength.
All Scripture Quotations from The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print.