Journey with Daniel
“Day 19 (Numbers 19)”Categories: 40 Days in the Wilderness
Chapter 19 takes us back to the issue of defilement and the need for purity. Though Israel was to avoid contamination, it was inevitable. The 2nd half of this chapter explains how one became impure through contact with the dead (v. 11-22). God’s punishment for Israel’s rebellion in not entering the promised land was that everyone 20 and older would die (Num. 14:29), as they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. With a nation populated over two million people, it was likely that hundreds died daily. This chapter provides the solution for their defilement.
This chapter began giving the solution first (v. 1-10). They were to take a red heifer with no defect, and upon which no yoke had been placed, kill it, burn it, and use it’s ashes to remove the impurity.
Something I found interesting was v. 7-10 – the priest and those who came to serve this cleansing ritual both became unclean due to their exposure to the dead heifer, and were required to wash their clothes, bathe their bodies, and would remain unclean until evening. There’s an old rabbinic saying that fits this context: “They purify the defiled and defile the pure.” While there’s certainly several lessons to draw from this, the one that stuck out the most to me was the sacrifice of the priest. He gave up his own purity/cleanliness in order to purify a people who became defiled. Not only did he perform a ritual to bring about their purity, but he then had to follow up with a ritual for his own impurity. That’s dedication. That’s compassion.
That’s Jesus. For the sake of a people so defiled by sin, Jesus acted with compassion. Jesus took on flesh – for you. Jesus lived 30+ years as a man – for you. Jesus underwent temptation in a wilderness for 40 days – for you. Jesus lived a perfect life in obedience to God, leaving a perfect example – for you. Jesus wept in the garden – for you. Jesus’ sweat became drops of blood – for you. Jesus was slandered – for you. Jesus was abused – for you. Jesus was scourged, whipped, torn open – for you. Jesus wore a crown of thorns – for you. Jesus carried a cross to Calvary – for you. Jesus was nailed to that cross – for you. Jesus stayed on that cross – for you.
Yes, Jesus died for the whole world. But He died for you. Listen to the words Jesus spoke during the Lord’s Supper: “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me” (1 Cor. 11:24). He gave His life for me. He bore my sins for my sake. As Paul would say, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Great Savior divine, I pray to You this 1st day of the week, the day You rose from the dead, You conquered Satan and death, You claimed the victory! In this prayer on this day I praise You. You are so loving and caring. You came to earth for me. You suffered and died for me. You took my sins upon the cross. You are such an incredible, merciful, loving Savior. I don’t deserve what You’ve done, the gift You’ve given. Thank You just doesn’t seem like enough. Were the whole realm of nature mine, that would be a present far too small. Merciful Lord You are beautiful, clothed in glory. You are perfect. You are victorious. Today I sing Your victory. I praise the God who formed and completed the wondrous redemptive plan. Thank You for Your love, Your sacrifice, for the forgiveness I have in You. All that I am and may be is by Your amazing grace. You are worthy of all honor, of all praise, because You purchased us with Your blood. What precious blood! What a wonderful gift! What an incredible Savior You are!