Thursday, 3 March 2011

Communion and Conquest

Observations on Numbers 5-6:

The sending away of those with a defiling skin disease (not leprosy in this case - apparently) was not permanent, just for the time it was contagious.

There doesn't appear to be any occasion recorded in Scripture when a man actually used the test for an unfaithful wife on his spouse. Some have made connections between this test and Jesus' judgment on the woman caught in adultery.

But God used it on his people after the incident with the golden calf, and Jordan argues (convincingly in my opinion) that this is one element of what's going on in communion. Just as the woman would drink a judgment on herself in this test, so too at communion, believers/churches drink a judgment on themselves. If she had been unfaithful, she would have a fruitless womb, but if she had been faithful, she would continue to bare children. So too, the unfaithful believer/church will ultimately be fruitless in their spiritual endeavours, whilst the faithful believer/church will abound in life-giving spiritual vitality. This should not be a provocation to fear, but rather to an earnest, honest opening up to a loving God: asking that he remove any offensive ways far from our hearts.

Praise God that in Christ you can know he will be true to his word.

The Nazarite vow could be taken by those who wanted to seek the LORD earnestly on some matter or to seek his favour for an activity (conquest). The head -which is symbolic of authority in Scripture - is left untouched. Perhaps (and I'm not sure) this is because as the person had set themselves apart to seek the LORD, the LORD would in some sense draw near to the head and make it (ritually) holy. Hence the need for extra rituals should it get defiled, (but like I say, I'm not sure - offers welcome).

Jesus clearly made a Nazarite vow at his last supper with the disciples, which came to an end after his three hours of abandonment, just before he died on the cross bringing forth the Kingdom of God, hence he could have some wine (vinegar) again.

The priestly blessing is one of the high points of Scripture. Life is not about what you know, but about who you know. Knowing the living God personally is the source of all blessing. When the LORD turns his face away all return to the dust, but in Christ, he will NEVER turn his face away from those who look to him in hope of eternal life! That is worth singing about!! and these guys do.

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