5 And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering. 6 And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house. 7 And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 8 And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. 9 And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD's lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. 10 But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.
Do you sometimes take
your salvation for granted. "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16) What a wonderful privilege we have to be welcomed into the throne room of the Lord anytime we wish. It was not that easy for even the high priest in Moses' day, because there had been no real atonement made for our sins by the sacrifice of the Son of God. The priest could only enter behind the veil into the Holy of Holies one time each year, and this is what he had to do to be worthy.
Along with the bullock for Aaron's sin offering and the ram for his burnt offering, Aaron was also directed to take two kid goats from the congregation for their sin offering and one ram for their burnt offering. He would sacrifice the bullock to make an atonement for himself and his household.
The next step in the ritual was to bring the two goats from the congregation to the door of the tabernacle and present them before Yahweh. Then, he would cast lots for the two goats to see which would be "for the LORD" and the other "for the scapegoat."
The goat that was chosen by lot for the LORD is almost unanimously thought to represent the Christ who would die for the atonement of man's sins. The scapegoat, however, has been vigorously debated.
The Hebrew word for "scapegoat" is Azazel. The meaning of the word is unknown, although there seems to be some consensus that it probably means, "goat of departure." A large number of scholars believe that Azazel is a proper name of someone in direct opposition to God, such as a demon or the devil himself.
There are some scholars who believe that both goats represent Jesus. The first goat is Jesus, sacrificed for our sins; the second goat represents His atoning work whereby He removes our sins from us as far as the east is from the west.
I believe that the second goat represents the devil, who must one day pay the penalty for leading man's fall into sin. The first goat is sacrificed for the atonement of Israel's sins. The second, however, is "presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with (lit. because of) him." Because of the sacrifice of the first, the second is defeated and led away as far as the east is from the west.
"And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever." (Revelation 20:10)
There is a serious consequence for those who stand in opposition to God and refuse to be covered by the blood of the Savior. Jewish folklore held that the wilderness, i.e. the dessert, was the home of demons. Azazel was sent to his proper place.
In the last days Jesus will separate the goats from the sheep. He will put the sheep at His right and the goats on the left. "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:" (Matthew 25:41)
Although Jesus' sacrifice made atonement for all who receive Him, complete atonement for the creation of God can only be realized when all evil is departed from it. As we study the Day of Atonement and place it in context with the other seven annual sabbaths in Chapter 23, I think it will become clear that the fast is a shadow of things that are still yet to be accomplished in the kingdom of God.
Before The Throne:
Do not take your sins lightly. They do separate you from your God. Confess them daily and claim the blood of Jesus for their remission. Refrain from judging others for their sins. Instead, pray for them. Ask God to open their eyes so that they might see how much He detests sin. Lift them up to God for a life changing miracle.
For Further Study:
Lev 4:14; 8:2, 14; 9:8-16; Num 29:11; 2Ch 29:21; Ezr 6:17; Eze 45:22-23; Rom 8:3; Heb 7:27-28; 10:5-14;
** which: Lev 8:14-17; Heb 9:7; ** for himself: Lev 9:7; Ezr 10:18-19; Job 1:5; Eze 43:19, 27; Heb 5:2;
Lev 1:3; 4:4; 12:6-7; Mat 16:21; Rom 12:1;
** cast lots: Num 26:55; 33:54; Jos 18:10-11; 1Sa 14:41-42; Pro 16:33; Eze 48:29; Jon 1:7; Act 1:23-26;
** upon which: Act 2:23; 4:27-28;
** to make: Isa 53:5-6, 10-11; Rom 4:25; 2Co 5:21; Heb 7:26-27; 9:23-24; 1Jo 2:2; 1Jo 3:16; ** let him: Lev 14:7;
The Day of Atonement
1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered before the LORD, and died; 2 And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the veil before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat. 3 Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering. 4 He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen miter shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on.
Standing in the center of the book
of Leviticus is this chapter on the Day of Atonement. It has become perhaps the most important Jewish holiday, a day of fasting and self affliction, but, it is no longer observed in the manner prescribed in this chapter, since the most significant portions of the liturgical work had to be done by the high priest in the Holy of Holies, which no longer exists.
The instructions were passed from Yahweh to Moses then to Aaron after the incident in which Aaron's sons were killed for offering strange fire before the LORD. (See Chapter 10) It would seem that these words were given at this time so that Aaron would be very cognizant of the danger he faced, if he should vary from the instructions. However, John E. Hartley in the Word Biblical Commentary expresses doubt that this chapter is the complete set of priestly instructions, because they are not specific enough for such a sacred ritual. Instead, he believes that this chapter was presented to the people so that they would understand the liturgical process of the day.
Yahweh began with a warning for Aaron. He was not allowed to come into the Holy of Holies anytime he wanted. Yahweh would appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat that rested upon the ark. The seat was a solid gold plate made in one piece with the two golden cherubim who watched over the mercy seat. If a sinner were to stand in the presence of Yahweh without the proper atonement, he would surely die instantly. The Day of Atonement was the only time the high priest could enter the Holy of Holies and it occurred only once every year.
Before entering, Aaron was required to bring a young bullock for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering into the holy place, i.e. to the door of the tabernacle where the altar of burnt offering was located.
Next, he had to put on the white linen garments that were prescribed for the priests, the coat, the pants and the girdle. These were not the elaborate robes that the high priest normally wore but were the common robes of the ordinary priesthood, which the high priest normally wore under the more elaborate garments. Thus, the high priest would enter dressed in humility, purity and holiness. Only the mitre was worn to distinguish him from the other priests.
Although common to the priesthood, these were holy garments, set aside for the Lord's service, and Aaron had to wash himself thoroughly before putting them on. He would be making an atonement for all of the sins of Israel committed over the course of that year and he could only do this if he was holy in the eyes of God.
Over and over again, the book of Leviticus reminds us of how sinful man has become. Even God's chosen high priest, who had made numerous sacrifices, had undergone numerous cleansings and dressed in the most holy of all garments, could not stand before God without so many special preparations to atone for his sins. Every year, this same ritual would have to be repeated, because there was no way to permanently atone for all of any person's sins.
If it makes the student uncomfortable to read about the total depravity of man day after day, it is a good thing. If we get tired of hearing how bad we are, God's word is being effective. We can never appreciate what our Savior did for us when He died once for all sins, until we are thoroughly disgusted with the thought and worn out by the burden of sin.
Before The Throne:
Be silent for a moment and know that He is God. Let the Holy spirit read your heart and make intercession for you before God. Give Him time to convict you of your sins. When your heart is breaking and the tears of sorrow roll down your cheeks, come before the mercy seat and receive His grace. He loves you. Now, praise and worship His holy name, giving thanks for the sacrifice of His dear Son. Think about how you should respond.
For Further Study:
** he come not: Lev 23:27; Exo 26:33-34; 30:10; 40:20-21; 1Ki 8:6; Heb 9:3, 7-8; Heb 10:19-20; ** that he die not: Lev 8:35; Num 4:19; 17:10; Mat 27:51; Heb 4:14-16; 10:19; ** in the cloud: Exo 40:34-35; 1Ki 8:10-12; 2Ch 5:14; ** the mercy seat: Exo 25:17-22;
** Aaron: Heb 9:7, 12, 24-25; ** a young: Lev 4:3; 8:14; Num 29:7-11; ** a ram for a burnt offering: Lev 1:3, 10; 8:18; 9:3;
** holy linen coat. Lev 6:10; Exo 28:2, 39-43; 39:27-29; Isa 53:2; Eze 44:17-18; Luk 1:35; Phi 2:7; Heb 2:14; 7:26; ** therefore: Lev 8:6-7; Exo 29:4; 30:20; 40:12, 31-32; Rev 1:5-6;
Separating from Sin
31 Thus shall ye separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness; that they die not in their uncleanness, when they defile my tabernacle that is among them. 32 This is the law of him that hath an issue, and of him whose seed goeth from him, and is defiled therewith; 33 And of her that is sick of her flowers, and of him that hath an issue, of the man, and of the woman, and of him that lieth with her that is unclean.
These words were spoken
to Moses and Aaron (15:1) to inform them of the seriousness of the sins of their people. Uncleanness is contagious, and it was both the civic and the religious leaders' responsibility to enforce these laws for the safety of their people.
The laws did not apply to the Gentiles, because they were not allowed into the tabernacle. Only the people of Israel and their proselytes had to be aware of their uncleanness, because they were God's chosen people. "Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel." (Exodus 19:5-6)
Matthew Henry has pointed out in his commentary on this passage that familiarity breeds contempt. There was always the danger of taking for granted the wonderful presence and blessings of Yahweh and of neglecting to keep one's self holy and clean in His presence. These laws of cleanness would have served as a constant reminder that God's holiness demands that man be perfect in His presence.
The Hebrew word for tabernacle in verse 31 is mishkan
, meaning "my dwelling place." It is used only four times in Leviticus to emphasize the purity of the place due to God's presence. In other places the word 'ohel
is used, meaning "tent."
It is a terrible thing to die in one's uncleanness, especially if it is for defiling God's holy dwelling place. "Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully." (Psalms 24:3-4)
Although these laws applied only to the Old Testament nation of Israel, they have some very important applications for the Christian church, New Testament Israel. There are far too many people in our churches who have taken their salvation for granted. The body of Christ is the temple of the Holy Spirit, the dwelling place of God, but too many people have become comfortable with their sins and defile the temple. Familiarity has bred contempt.
Paul pointed out the problem to the church at Corinth with these sharp words of rebuke. "What? know ye not that he which is joined to a harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." (1 Corinthians 6:16-20)
But, it is not only sexual sins that make a person unclean. Every sin defiles the temple in which the Holy Spirit now lives. We should be careful to have clean hands and a pure heart, living out our salvation in a way that honors God and pleases Him.
Before The Throne:
Ask God to forgive your sins and to separate you from your Uncleanness. Thank Him for the privilege of living in your body, which serves as the temple of His Holy Spirit. Ask Him to make you more aware of the awesome power of His presence in you, so that you will never become too familiar and comfortable with the idea. Pray that everything that you do will honor that presence and bring glory to the name of Jesus Christ.
For Further Study:
** Thus shall: Lev 11:47; 13:59; Num 5:3; Deu 24:8; Psa 66:18; Eze 44:23; Heb 10:29; 12:14-15; Jud 1:4; ** that they: Lev 19:30; 21:23; Num 5:3; 19:13, 20; Eze 5:11; 23:38; 44:5-7; Dan 9:27; 1Co 3:17;
** Lev 11:46; 13:59; 14:2, 32, 54-57; Num 5:29; 6:13; 19:14; Eze 43:12;
** and of him: Lev_20:18;
An Issue of Blood
19 And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even. 29 And every thing that she lieth upon in her separation shall be unclean: every thing also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean. 21 And whosoever toucheth her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. 22 And whosoever toucheth any thing that she sat upon shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. 23 And if it be on her bed, or on any thing whereon she sitteth, when he toucheth it, he shall be unclean until the even. 24 And if any man lie with her at all, and her flowers be upon him, he shall be unclean seven days; and all the bed whereon he lieth shall be unclean. 25 And if a woman have an issue of her blood many days out of the time of her separation, or if it run beyond the time of her separation; all the days of the issue of her uncleanness shall be as the days of her separation: she shall be unclean. 26 Every bed whereon she lieth all the days of her issue shall be unto her as the bed of her separation: and whatsoever she sitteth upon shall be unclean, as the uncleanness of her separation. 27 And whosoever toucheth those things shall be unclean, and shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. 28 But if she be cleansed of her issue, then she shall number to herself seven days, and after that she shall be clean. 29 And on the eighth day she shall take unto her two turtles, or two young pigeons, and bring them unto the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 30 And the priest shall offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for her before the LORD for the issue of her uncleanness.
A woman who had an issue of blood,
whether from her menstruation or from some other cause, was considered unclean and, like the man with the running issue she had to be separated from contact with others. Numbers 5:2 indicates that she had to be put out of the camp.
We can only imagine how stressful and embarrassing this must have been for the women of that day. They could not touch other people, they were not allowed to sit where others would sit and, in short, everything that they touched was considered to be unclean, and everyone who touched anything she touched was unclean.
Imagine the plight of the poor woman who came to Jesus to be healed of her issue of blood. "And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole." (Mark 5:25-28)
This woman was an outcast for twelve long years, treated like a leper and, we could assume, physically weakened by the constant loss of blood. I do not know what methods the physicians of that time would have used to try to stop her flow of blood, but the passage tells us that she had "suffered" many things at their hands. Physicians would also have been unclean after touching her and unable to treat other patients for the rest of the day, so they probably charged her exorbitant fees. She had spent all that she had but she was not healed.
This woman is the perfect image of the plight of non-believers. The flow of her blood represents the constant flow of sin from her heart. (Perhaps it even represents her part in the original sin in the Garden of Eden.) No matter how hard the sinner tries, he or she is unable to stop the pollution that flows from within.
When all else fails, she must recognize that only Christ can cleanse her from her sins. She makes the appropriate sacrifices for her sin offering and atonement, but they do not work. Then she tries worldly solutions... physicians, witches and sorcerers, and pagan priests... all to no avail.
The sinner becomes desperate as he or she realizes that there is nothing he or she can do to stop sinning. He or she is an outcast from the kingdom of God and everything he or she does is counted as sin. The sinner is a captive of sin, getting older, getting weaker, nearing death and running out of time.
Someone speaks of a man named Jesus who claims to be the Son of the living God, "Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;" (Psalms 103:3-4)
With renewed hope and a powerful belief that now is the time of salvation, the sinner reaches out just to touch the hem of His garment. "And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague." (Mark 5:29-34)
The Greek word that Jesus used for "to be made whole" is the word sozo
, which means, "to be saved." This is more than a story about a physical healing, and the Levitical Law is about more than mere physical uncleanness. It reaches to the truth about the nature of mankind; and the only remedy is Jesus Christ.
Before The Throne:
Can you feel the damage that your sin does to your relationship with God? Be like the woman in Mark 5 and reach out for the hem of Jesus' clothes. He will take the fountain of your blood, dry it up and replace it with the fountain of life. Come to Him today with a humble and broken spirit. Ask for newness of life. Submit yourself wholly to Him and give thanks for the opportunity.
For Further Study:
** and her issue: Lev 12:2, 4; 20:18; Lam 1:8-9, 17; Eze 36:17; Mat 15:19; Mar 5:25;
Pro 2:16-19; 5:3-13; 6:24, 35; 7:10-27; 9:13-18; 22:27; Ecc 7:26; 1Co 15:33;
Isa 22:14; 2Co 7:1; Heb 9:26; Rev 7:14;
Lev 20:18; Eze 18:6; 22:10; 1Th 5:22; Heb 13:4; 1Pe 2:11;
Mat 9:20; Mar 5:25; 7:20-23; Luk :43;
Lev 17:15-16; Eze 36:25, 29; Zec 13:1; Heb 9:14; 10:22; 1Pe 1:18-19; 1Jo 1:7;
Mat 1:21; 1Co 1:30; 1Co 6:11; Gal 3:13; Gal 4:4; Eph 1:6-7;
Curse of the Flesh
13 And when he that hath an issue is cleansed of his issue; then he shall number to himself seven days for his cleansing, and wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in running water, and shall be clean. 14 And on the eighth day he shall take to him two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, and come before the LORD unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and give them unto the priest: 15 And the priest shall offer them, the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for him before the LORD for his issue. 16 And if any man's seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall wash all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the even. 17 And every garment, and every skin, whereon is the seed of copulation, shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the even. 18 The woman also with whom man shall lie with seed of copulation, they shall both bathe themselves in water, and be unclean until the even.
When the infection in a man's genitals has healed,
he was not to be considered clean until he had shown no signs of infection for seven days. During that time he was to wash his clothes and his body daily in running (living) waters. As with other cases, the running water is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. The corrupt heart that has been harboring its secret sins and that has been issuing forth every form of sinful thought, word and action must be purified by the work of the Spirit.
On the eighth day, the day of a new beginning, two turtledoves or two pigeons had to be offered, one as a sin offering and one as a burnt offering, at the door of the tabernacle and in the presence of the LORD. These birds represented the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. He alone can make true atonement for man's sins.
The care that is taken with this matter demonstrates just how serious God is when it comes to the secret sins of the heart. "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:" (Matthew 15:19) They are treated with as much ceremony as evil works.
To remind men even further that the imaginations of their hearts are evil, God even made the secretion of semen a symbol of his uncleanness. This applied to accidental incidents such as the result of a dream or to deliberate acts between a man and wife, between adulterers adulteresses, and between the sexually promiscuous.
The man, his clothes, and anything touched by his semen had to be washed. The woman with whom he had slept was also required to bathe. After bathing, they were still unclean until evening. Of course, adulterers and fornicators were dealt with in a more severe manner, which we shall study later in the book of Leviticus.
Every desire of the flesh is evil and unclean in the eyes of God. "I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness." (Romans 6:19)
"Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." (2 Corinthians 7:1)
Do not go out and buy two pigeons and take them to your pastor for a sacrifice, because they are insufficient as payment for your sins. They were only used as ceremonial symbols of what was to come later. No, your sacrifice must be Jesus Christ and, until you accept Him as such, there can be no cleansing.
First, you must be born again, receiving Christ as your Lord and Savior, and being cleansed by the blood of His sacrifice. Then, you must walk in the power of the Holy Spirit, living a sanctified and holy lifestyle and setting your affections on heavenly things.
Before The Throne:
Pray for God's guidance. Ask His Holy Spirit to empower you with the ability to remain holy and pure in His sight. Give thanks for your election and the opportunity to serve Him. Pray that others might see your purity, respect you for it and be eager to listen to the gospel when you tell them about it.
For Further Study:
** seven days: Lev 8:33; 9:1; 14:8, 10; Exo 29:35, 37; Num 12:14; 19:11-12; ** wash: Jer 33:8; Eze 36:25-29; 2Co 7:1; Jam 4:8; Rev 1:5;
Lev 1:14; 12:6, 12:8; 14:22-31; Num 6:10; 2Co 5:21; Heb 7:26; 10:10, 12, 14;
** the one: Lev 5:7-10; 14:19-20, 30-31; ** an atonement: Lev 4:20, 26, 31, 35; 12:7; 14:18; Num 15:25; 25:13; Mat 3:17; Eph 1:6; Heb 1:3;
Lev 22:4; Deu 23:10-11; 2Co 7:1; 1Pe 2:11; 1Jo 1:7;
** the woman: Eph 4:17-19; 5:3-11; 2Ti 2:22; 1Pe 2:11; ** unclean: Exo 19:15; 1Sa 21:4-5; Psa 51:5; 1Co 6:12, 18; 1Th 4:3-5; Heb 13:4;
Be On Guard
4 Every bed, whereon he lieth that hath the issue, is unclean: and every thing, whereon he sitteth, shall be unclean. 5 And whosoever toucheth his bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. 6 And he that sitteth on any thing whereon he sat that hath the issue shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. 7 And he that toucheth the flesh of him that hath the issue shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. 8 And if he that hath the issue spit upon him that is clean; then he shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. 9 And what saddle soever he rideth upon that hath the issue shall be unclean. 10 And whosoever toucheth any thing that was under him shall be unclean until the even: and he that beareth any of those things shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. 11 And whomsoever he toucheth that hath the issue, and hath not rinsed his hands in water, he shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. 12 And the vessel of earth, that he toucheth which hath the issue, shall be broken: and every vessel of wood shall be rinsed in water.
Uncleanness is a difficult thing to deal with.
The reason that sin is compared to a person who is unclean is that both are contagious. Consider the fact that a clean cloth will never wipe anything clean without becoming soiled itself. Cleanliness is not contagious, but filth is. Righteousness is not contagious, but sin is extremely contagious and very dangerous.
Any healthcare worker can tell you about the dangers of unseen contagion. Bacteria, viruses, and chemical pollutants are unseen, but can prove to be lethal. So it is with secret and hidden sins. It is very difficult for anyone to know what dwells in the evil hearts of the people around us. If we are not constantly on our guard, we can be gently and gradually led by them into situations that are not wholesome, even by those who claim to be Christians.
This is the whole point of the Levitical laws concerning the running issues from a person's genitalia, whether male or female. The man with this sort of infection would be hesitant to report it to the priest, because no one wants to be branded as unclean. Yet everything with which he comes into contact is to be considered unclean, and anyone who touches those items is also considered to be unclean.
The person who touches anything upon which the man with the running issue has slept on, sat upon, eaten from or drunk from must immediately bathe himself and wash his clothes and be considered unclean until evening. If the unclean man has not washed his hands in water before touching another person, he should also be considered unclean.
Contrast the touch of the unclean man with the touch of Jesus Christ. "And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed." (Matthew 8:3)
Or, consider the incident with the woman who had the issue of blood. "And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour." (Matthew 9:20-22)
Only the touch of our Lord can cleanse a leper or a person with an issue and only the washing of His precious blood can cleanse anyone of their sins. Anyone else would have been made unclean by those people under the Levitical laws.
Notice that the spit of an unclean man also makes the person upon whom he spits unclean. Why is that included here? Wouldn't it seem logical? Think about Jesus' words, "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man." (Matthew 15:18)
Sin is contagious. Those Christians who engage in relational evangelism must be very careful. You must understand that no one has ever been saved by a relationship and no one has ever been saved by seeing someone else's good example. Only the word of God working in conjunction with the Holy Spirit can save anyone.
"How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" (Romans 10:14-15)
Guard yourself against the pollution of sin and never fail to preach the word.
Before The Throne:
Pray for God's protection from the contagion of sin. Continue to confess your secret sins to Him on a daily basis. Pray for those whom you are trying to win to the Lord. Ask God to empower you with His Holy Spirit to use His word effectively.
For Further Study:
** thing: Heb. vessel ** be unclean: 1Co 15:33; Eph 5:11; Tit 1:15;
Lev 11:25, 28, 32; 13:6, 34; 14:8-9, 27, 46-47; 16:26, 28; 17:15; Num 19:10, 22; Psa 26:6; 51:2, 7; Isa 1:16; 22:14; Eze 36:25, 29; Heb 9:14, 26;, Heb 10:22; Jam 4:8; Rev 7:14;
Isa 1:16; Jam 4:8:
Isa 1:16; Gal 1:8-9; 1Ti 4:1-3; Tit 1:9-10; 2Pe 2:1-3; Jam 4:8; Jud 1:4;
Psa 26:6; Jam 4:8;
** vessel: Lev 6:28; 11:32-33; Pro 1:21, 23; 3:21; 2Co 5:1; Phi 3:21; ** shall be broken: Psa 2:9; ** vessel: Lev 6:28; 11:32-33; Pro 1:21, 23; 3:21; 2Co 5:1; Phi 3:21; ** shall be broken: Psa 2:9;
Flowing from the Flesh
1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses and to Aaron, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When any man hath a running issue out of his flesh, because of his issue he is unclean. 3 And this shall be his uncleanness in his issue: whether his flesh run with his issue, or his flesh be stopped from his issue, it is his uncleanness.
When God created man,
He created them male and female in His own image and likeness, blessing them and instructing them to "be fruitful and multiply." (Genesis 1:27-28) We know that God is a spirit (John 4:24), so man was created in His likeness as a spiritual creature. God looked on His creation and felt that it was very good.
Later, in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve chose to sin, and the penalty for their sin was death. They died spiritually and could no longer fellowship with God as they had before. They also lost the ability to produce spiritual children. "And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." (Genesis 6:5) His creation was no longer "very good," because sin had taken over and consumed them.
It is not surprising that God would use infections in a man's genitals as a symbol of that wickedness. There are two types of infections identified in the passage. The first type involves a "running issue," i.e. a discharge of some sort. There are several types of infections that could cause the discharge, including gonorrhea and other sexually transmitted diseases. The second type of infection would cause a blockage, which can also be caused by several different types of infections, stopping the flow of the discharge.
It takes little imagination to see that this type of a problem represents the flow of sin from the evil imagination and thoughts of man's heart. The flow typifies the secret sin that only the affected man knows about. It originates deep in his soul, bringing vile thoughts, which are discharged in the most disgusting manner, into his mind.
The secret discharge is a reminder that man no longer has the ability to be fruitful and multiply as God had intended. He is spiritually dead and can only reproduce himself in the flesh. Even Paul struggled with this knowledge. "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not." (Romans 7:18)
Although it did not matter what kind of infection caused the discharge, we might assume that the majority of these infections were caused by sexually transmitted diseases and therefore the products of sexual immorality. Indirectly, they served as a punishment for sin, some of them even being deadly.
Andrew Bonar pointed out that, "To a Jew it was the more hateful, as being pollution where the seal of circumcision had been. Indwelling sin thus shews its existence in closest neighborhood to the blood-sprinkling of Jesus Christ." Even the best of saints, like the Apostle Paul, have to wrestle with the sin that indwells the flesh of men.
What secret sins are you dealing with? They are just as disgusting to God as a urinary tract infection and discharge would be to you. While you can hide such things from your family and friends you cannot hide them from God.
I will leave you with two passages upon which to meditate today:
"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do." (Hebrews 4:12-13)
"For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." (Ecclesiastes 12:14)
Before The Throne:
Oh, those secret thoughts that are so repulsive to God! Confess them right now and ask Him to create a clean heart within you. Pray for the strength and faith to remain pure. Ask God to protect you from the images of the world around you that are so attractive to the flesh. Pray for the anointing of His Spirit to lift your attentions and desires and to focus them on heavenly things. Give Him thanks for enabling you through Jesus Christ to be the victor over sin and death.
For Further Study:
** Aaron: Lev 11:1; 13:1; Psa 25:14; Amo 3:7; Heb 1:1;
** unto the: Deu 4:7-8; Neh 9:13-14; Psa 78:5; 147:19-20; Rom 3:2; * when any man: Lev 22:4; Num 5:2; 2Sa 3:29; Mat 9:20; Mar 5:25; 7:20-23; Luk 8:43;
Lev 12:3; Eze 16:26; 23:20;
48 And if the priest shall come in, and look upon it, and, behold, the plague hath not spread in the house, after the house was plastered: then the priest shall pronounce the house clean, because the plague is healed. 49 And he shall take to cleanse the house two birds, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop: 50 And he shall kill the one of the birds in an earthen vessel over running water: 51 And he shall take the cedar wood, and the hyssop, and the scarlet, and the living bird, and dip them in the blood of the slain bird, and in the running water, and sprinkle the house seven times: 52 And he shall cleanse the house with the blood of the bird, and with the running water, and with the living bird, and with the cedar wood, and with the hyssop, and with the scarlet: 53 But he shall let go the living bird out of the city into the open fields, and make an atonement for the house: and it shall be clean. 54 This is the law for all manner of plague of leprosy, and scurf, 55 And for the leprosy of a garment, and of a house, 56 And for a rising, and for a scab, and for a bright spot: 57 To teach when it is unclean, and when it is clean: this is the law of leprosy.
Upon his conversion, it is necessary
for a man to clean his house. He must train up his children in the way that they should go, bring his wife under subjection to his spiritual leadership and rid his home of sinful activities and materials. Even the temptation to sin must be effectively removed. The cleansing must be as complete as possible. Every area of his and his family's life must be plastered over, white-washed, with the word of God.
However, the world around us suffers under the same curse of sin that plagues our souls, and the truth is that nothing but the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus can completely cleanse it. When Christ comes to gather His people from the four corners of the earth, and we are manifested as the sons of God to the whole world, the whole creation shall be cleansed and benefit from the blood that was shed for us.
Of course, Christ died for mankind and not for the inanimate objects or irrational creatures on the earth. Nevertheless, the sinfulness that has existed on the earth has polluted all of it.
Likewise, the leprous house that has been cleansed and plastered over, did not sin. Instead the leprous growths that occurred inside it represent the effects that man's sins have had on this earth. If, after being plastered and shut up for seven days, the house exhibits no other signs of the leprosy, it is now to be ceremonially cleaned in the same way that the leprous man was cleansed in 14:4-7.
Appearances can be deceiving. The house may look clean, but only the blood of Jesus can cover sin. We all have friends and family members who are "good people." They are generous, loving, kind, mind their own business and do not cause trouble. We might feel comfortable around them, because they are not riotous drunkards like many other sinners. The problem is that they have rejected the blood of Jesus. Our house is still infected, and we must either remove ourselves or sprinkle them with the blood and "running waters," i.e. living waters, of Jesus Christ.
As God's royal priesthood, we must accept the responsibility of sharing the gospel with every sinner who is a part of our life. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. It teaches that only our death, eternal death in the horrors of the lake of fire, or the death of our Lord Jesus is able to satisfy the law's penalty for sin. Jesus has already paid it all. We can cleanse our leprous house by winning those around us to Christ.
The law of leprosy teaches us when it is unclean and when it is clean.
Before The Throne:
Confess your sins and ask forgiveness, so that you will be a qualified priest in the house of God. Then, pray that the Holy Spirit would empower you to be effective at cleaning your house with the blood and water of Jesus Christ. Pray for opportunities to share the gospel. Pray that your friends and family would be prepared to receive the message before you speak to them. Make the commitment to begin cleaning house right away.
For Further Study:
** because. Job 5:18; Hos 6:1; Mar 5:29, 34; Luk 7:21; 1Co 6:11;
** the law: Lev 6:9, 14, 25; 7:1, 37; 11:46; 15:32; Num 5:29; 6:13; 19:14; Deu 24:8; ** scall: Lev 13:30-31;
** the leprosy: Lev 13:47-59;
** a rising: Lev 13:2
** teach: Lev 10:10; Jer 15:19; Eze 44:23; ** this is: Deu 24:8;
46 Moreover he that goeth into the house all the while that it is shut up shall be unclean until the even. 47 And he that lieth in the house shall wash his clothes; and he that eateth in the house shall wash his clothes.
Many of the things that Christians do
today would have gotten them branded as hypocrites, sinners, whores and worse only one hundred years ago. I could not imagine a young girl going to church dressed in a skirt that is cut midway between the knee and the waistline a hundred years ago nor a pastor spending his time reading a book filled with the sexual material that is common on our most popular T.V. series. Yet, these things happen everyday and we do not give them a second thought.
The earth is corrupt and under the curse of God. Just being here makes even the most righteous Christian a little dirty in God's eyes, and what can we do about it? I can turn off a T.V. program that has disgusting language in it and when I make my rounds in the neighborhood I hear a teenage mother use language that would make a sailor blush while pushing her baby in a stroller. Four year olds are speaking of things that are not fit for mixed company among adults. Our public schools are teaching our children that homosexuality is natural and normal, that transgender operations are fine, and that any kind of sex is appropriate as long as they protect themselves against disease.
It is evident that the Christian must take every precaution to guard himself or herself and his or her children against the influences of the world. It is so easy to be lured by the temptations around us, to compromise just a little... and then a little more... and a little more... etc. Soon we love the world and the things that are in it, and the love of the father is no longer in us. "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever." (1 John 2:16-17)
Now, why would one of those Israelites go back into an empty house that had been declared unclean, according to God's word, by the priest? It is because the almost irresistible lure of that which is prohibited draws the sinful nature of man toward it. His love for the world over the things of God motivates him to enter. And, if the house represents the earth upon which we live, it must certainly render anyone who enters into it unclean.
He must wash his clothes no matter what his reason for entering the house. He has been contaminated by sin and needs to put on robes of righteousness. "And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities." (Revelation 18:4-5)
The sins of this world do not go unnoticed by God simply because everyone is committing them. You cannot be lost among the crowd. If you play in the dirt, you will get dirty, and your sins will reach unto heaven. Furthermore, God never forgets. Everyone will stand in the judgment; everyone will be rewarded according to his or her works.
The good news is that we can be washed in the blood of Jesus Christ. He will give us clean garments, but we must come out of this world's pollution so as not to soil the garments again. Be careful, dear Christian. Once you are born again, you can never be lost again; but born again believers have the Holy Spirit to guide them into all truths and will not be deceived by the world. Make your salvation certain today!
Before The Throne:
Pray for God's protection against the temptations that surround you and bombard your eyes and ears nearly every moment of the day. Ask Him to help you remain clean and pure in His sight. Ask Him to help you be a light in this dark house called earth. Pray that He will help you separate yourself from its influence while you shine the light of righteousness into the eyes of anyone who sees you.
For Further Study:
** shall be unclean: Lev 11:24-25, 28; 15:5-8, 10; 17:15; 22:6; Num 19:7-10, 21-22;
Return of the Plague
39 And the priest shall come again the seventh day, and shall look: and, behold, if the plague be spread in the walls of the house; 40 Then the priest shall command that they take away the stones in which the plague is, and they shall cast them into an unclean place without the city: 41 And he shall cause the house to be scraped within round about, and they shall pour out the dust that they scrape off without the city into an unclean place: 42 And they shall take other stones, and put them in the place of those stones; and he shall take other mortar, and shall plaster the house. 43 And if the plague come again, and break out in the house, after that he hath taken away the stones, and after he hath scraped the house, and after it is plastered; (44) Then the priest shall come and look, and, behold, if the plague be spread in the house, it is a fretting leprosy in the house: it is unclean. 45 And he shall break down the house, the stones of it, and the timber thereof, and all the mortar of the house; and he shall carry them forth out of the city into an unclean place.
After the leprous house had been shut
up for seven days, the priest was to return and make another inspection and, if the plague or infection had spread, he was required to have it cleansed in the following manner.
First, all of the stones that were infected had to be taken out of the walls and carried to an unclean place. This would be the place where dead bodies were thrown or on a dunghill. Lying among the filth, they would be easily identified as unclean and would not be accidentally used by someone else.
Next, all of the walls in the house had to be scraped, and the dust that was scraped off was collected and it was also carried outside the city to an unclean place.
Finally, the missing stones had to be replaced and the entire wall plastered over, just in case anything was missed. God's laws all contain that element of special care to make certain that there is no pollution left after the cleansing of a person or thing. It demonstrates that sin is nothing to be trifled with; that the utmost care must be taken to rid every part of our beings of its effects.
This first seven day period might be representative of the period between the time that Adam committed the first sin and the time that "...God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." (Genesis 6:5) With that, God decided to cleanse the earth with a great flood and begin anew.
What will happen when Jesus returns. Will He find faith on the earth? If the house was discovered to have the leprosy after being cleaned and shut up for another seven day period, it had to be torn down, and all of the stones, timber and mortar had to be carried outside the city and thrown into an unclean place. Likewise, "...the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." (2 Peter 3:10)
God will take great care to make sure that there is no sin left in His house. "Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." (2 Peter 3:13)
Or, consider the parable that Jesus taught to an adulterous generation of people who desired a sign, some kind of proof that He was the Messiah. "When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation." (Matthew 12:43-45)
In this parable, the man represents the house in which the unclean spirit dwells. When the spirit is driven out of the man, he wanders in the desert wilderness where he can find no rest. The desert was considered by many Jews in those days to be the habitation of devils. Wicked spirits probably torment each other when there is no one else to torment, so this wicked spirit decides to come back to the formerly leprous and sinful house. He finds the man's soul has been refreshed, his mind clean, and the house decorated with more beautiful thoughts. The spirit is uncomfortable in this situation, so he gathers seven more spirits to live with him and to torment the man. The man's state is worse than before. He will be cast into outer darkness, and there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
This is the story of the hypocrite, who for a time has found some joy in Christ, but was never born again, never fully committed, and falls back into sin. He is a leprous house ready to be torn down and carried outside the city to an unclean place.
Before The Throne:
What is going on in your house? Does the devil seem to be in and out and back again? So many Christians suffer this symptom because they have not been born again. There is no backsliding for the born again believer. Old things are passed away, all things have become new, and all things are of God. You may stumble and quickly recover, but you will not backslide. The Holy Spirit lives in you and will not allow you to backslide. Pray that God will deliver you by the blood of Jesus Christ and that He will never let you go again. Pray for others who think that they are saved but are backsliding. Ask the Lord to open their understanding and to change their hearts. Ask Him for the words of encouragement that will convey the gospel truths to them in a way that they can understand.
For Further Study:
Lev 13:7-8, 22, 27, 36, 51;
** take away: Psa 101:5, 7-8; Pro 22:10; 25:4-5; Isa 1:25-26; Mat 18:17; Joh 15:2; 1Co 5:5-6, 13; Tit 3:10; 2Jo 1:10-11; Rev 2:2, 6, 14-16, 2:20; ** without the city: Rev 22:15;
** into an unclean place: Job 36:13-14; Isa 65:4; Mat 8:28; 24:51; 1Ti 1:20; Rev 22:15
Gen 18:19; Jos 24:15; 2Ch 17:7-9; 19:5-7; 2Ch 29:4-5; Psa 101:6; Act 1:20-26; 1Ti 5:9-10, 21-22; 2Ti 2:2; Tit 1:5-9;
Jer 6:28-30; Eze 24:13; Heb 6:4-8; 2Pe 2:20-22; Jud 1:12;
Lev 13:51-52; Zec 5:4;
** break down: 1Ki 9:6-9; 2Ki 10:27; 17:20-23; 18:4; 25:4-12, 25-26; Jer 52:13; Eze 5:4; Mat 22:7; 24:2; Rom 11:7-11; Rev 11:2; ** into an unclean place: Lev 14:41;
A People Without A God
9 Therefore I will bewail with the weeping of Jazer the vine of Sibmah: I will water thee with my tears, O Heshbon, and Elealeh: for the shouting for thy summer fruits and for thy harvest is fallen. 10 And gladness is taken away, and joy out of the plentiful field; and in the vineyards there shall be no singing, neither shall there be shouting: the treaders shall tread out no wine in [their] presses; I have made [their vintage] shouting to cease. 11 Wherefore my bowels shall sound like an harp for Moab, and mine inward parts for Kirharesh. 12 And it shall come to pass, when it is seen that Moab is weary on the high place, that he shall come to his sanctuary to pray; but he shall not prevail. 13 This [is] the word that the LORD hath spoken concerning Moab since that time. 14 But now the LORD hath spoken, saying, Within three years, as the years of an hireling, and the glory of Moab shall be contemned, with all that great multitude; and the remnant [shall be] very small [and] feeble.
Isaiah finished his prophecy about Moab by returning to the theme of his compassion for her people (See 15:5). The word compassion means, "to suffer with someone." Thus, Isaiah said that he would cry with the weeping people of Jazer for the loss of their vineyards at Sibmah. Although the vineyards were objects of Jazer's and Sibmah's pride, they were also the town's means of support and their loss would be devastating to the economy.
Isaiah said that he would flood the towns of Heshbon and Elealeh with his tears, because the joyous shouting that normally took place at the harvest would be fallen. There would be no harvest to celebrate. God had made the celebrations of the harvest to cease.
"Wherefore," Isaiah writes, "my bowels shall sound like an harp for Moab." This may sound unpleasant to us today, but in Isaiah's day the bowels were the upper internal organs... the heart and lungs. This was the seat of emotions. "As the hand that plucks the strings of a lyre gives forth a sound, so the threatenings and punishments decreed upon Moab would play upon the strings of his own inner heart and bring forth an echoing response." (Edward Young)
Young also points out that Isaiah speaks only for God. The emotions that he experienced were from God. Compassion is God's greatest attribute, and He takes no pleasure in seeing the destruction of any of His creatures. He cries for Moab, because they did not come to Him for help. They went to the high place to pray to their idols and to their god, Chemosh. Jeremiah called them "the people of Chemosh." (Jeremiah 48:46) Of course, Chemosh offered them no relief from their problems and they would eventually become weary of praying to him.
It must be a horrible feeling to know that your god is not there for you, does not answer your prayers, and is not reliable in time of trouble. Those of us who worship the one true God cannot imagine having to go through life without Him, but we have the assurance of knowing that He is a faithful God who has promised to never leave us.
Heathen people, on the other hand, have no god. They think they have one, they trust in him, they worship and make sacrifices to him, they labor to be obedient to him but, when they truly need him, he is not there. How heartbreaking and frightening such an experience must be. Through Isaiah, God showed His heartfelt sympathy for the godless, helpless, ruined people of Moab.
The prophecy against Moab had been spoken many times previously (See Exodus 15:15; Numbers 21:29; 24:17; Psalms 60:8; 108:9; Amos 2:2; Zephaniah 2:9.). Perhaps Isaiah had prophesied against her in his earlier years of ministry. This, then, is the word that the Lord had spoken. It is the final word, since there were only three years before its fulfillment. Then, there would be left only a very small and feeble remnant of the Moabitish people.
The majority of the people today are just like the Moabites; they worship gods that are no gods. When judgment comes, they will look to their gods for help, but they will not be there. Money will fail, loved ones will fail, corporations will fall and careers will be useless. Modern philosophers will have no answers, politicians will be on the run, there will be no rule of law and law enforcement will not exist. Can you picture the public panic, chaos and general feeling of hopelessness that will prevail? Does God not play a song of compassion for those people on your heartstrings?
There are only two kinds of people in this world... Christians and people without a god. If you are crucified with Christ and the life that you live in the flesh is lived by the faith of the Son of God, you must be suffering for those people who are without a god. Do something about it. Be like Isaiah and let the love of Christ flow to others. Tell them how the blood of our precious Lord can save them. Perhaps you will witness God's miraculous work in someone's heart, as He opens his/her eyes to the truth and welcomes him into His kingdom.
Before The Throne:
Express your deepest thanks to God for having saved you. Thank Him for being faithful and available when you need Him. Praise Him for loving you and for the compassion that He has even for His enemies. Ask Him to use you the way He used Isaiah. Pray that He will give you a burden for telling others how they can avoid eternal destruction through Jesus Christ who died for them. Pray for each person whom you plan to tell about Jesus. Pray with a sincerely compassionate heart for each one. Thank the Lord for the opportunity to be His servant.
For Further Study:
(v.9) ** I will bewail. Isa 15:5; Jer 48:32-34; ** O Heshbon. Isa 15:4; ** for. Isa 9:3; Jud 9:27; Jer 40:10,12;
(v.10) Isa 24:8,9; 32:10; Jer 48:33; Am 5:11,17; Hab 3:17,18; Zep 1:13;
(v.11) ** my. Isa 15:5; 63:15; Jer 4:19; 31:20; 48:36; Ho 11:8; Php 2:1;
(v.12) ** when. Isa 15:2; 26:16; Nu 22:39,41; 23:1-3,14,28; 24:17; Pr 1:28; Jer 48:35; ** he shall. Isa 37:38; 1Ki 11:7; 2Ki 3:27; Jer 48:7,13,46; * but. Isa 47:13; 2Ki 19:12,16-19; Ps 115:3-7; Jer 10:5;
(v.13) ** since. Isa 44:8;
(v.14) ** three. Isa 7:16; 15:5; 21:16; De 15:8; ** the glory. Isa 17:4; 23:9; Ge 31:1; Es 5:11; Jer 9:23; Na 2:9,10; ** and the remnant. Jer 48:46,47;
The Pride of Moab
6 We have heard of the pride of Moab; [he is] very proud: [even] of his haughtiness, and his pride, and his wrath: [but] his lies [shall] not [be] so. 7 Therefore shall Moab howl for Moab, every one shall howl: for the foundations of Kirhareseth shall ye mourn; surely [they are] stricken. 8 For the fields of Heshbon languish, [and] the vine of Sibmah: the lords of the heathen have broken down the principal plants thereof, they are come [even] unto Jazer, they wandered [through] the wilderness: her branches are stretched out, they are gone over the sea.
Isaiah mourned for the fate of Moab, because he knew that her pride would prevent her from responding to the word of God. Pride is perhaps the most powerful tool that the devil has in his arsenal. He has used it to destroy great men and great nations. I have seen preachers and worship leaders lose their ministries because they succumbed to the temptation of pride. Honesty would require each of us to admit that we have a problem with pride.
Moab seems to have been infamous for its pride. Isaiah says, "We have all heard of his pride and of his arrogance." Pride manifests itself in a person in a variety of ways that become obvious to others. One effect of pride is haughtiness or "arrogance." It is a degree of contempt for others and for their accomplishments. Pride causes a person to look down his nose at what others have done, thinking that he could have done it better.
Pride rejects correction or criticism. A prideful person will become very angry when he is criticized. Even the slightest suggestion that he could have done better or could have done something differently will result in an angry reaction from him.
A proud person will have a tendency to boast. Most boasting is based on exaggerations and outright lies. A man's boasting is based on a false perception of himself and of his own abilities. Many times boasting is done in order to cover up one's inadequacies and failures. Isaiah said that the lies of Moab, "shall not be so." They will not stand up to scrutiny. His weaknesses will be exposed, his people will be in flight and the land would be full of suffering. What would their boastful lies have gotten them?
Every person in Moab would howl with grief. One part of the country would howl for the other part. Kirhareseth seems to have been an important city. It might be the same city known as Kir (15:1). Kirhareseth, an object of Moab's pride, would be leveled, and its people would howl when the city's foundations were exposed.
Another source of Moab's pride was their ability to produce wine. The vines of Heshbon and Sibmah, which were located in the territories of Gad and Ruben respectively, are depicted as being very luxuriant. The Keil & Delitzsch Commentary says, "The wine of Sibmah was so good, that it was placed upon the tables of monarchs, and so strong that it smote down, i.e., inevitably intoxicated, even those who were accustomed to good wines. This Sibmah wine was cultivated, as the prophet says, far and wide in Moab - northwards as far as Ja'zer (between Ramoth, i.e., Salt, and Heshbon, now a heap of ruins), eastwards into the desert, and southwards across the Dead Sea - a hyperbolical expression for close up to its shores."
The invading enemy would break down the vines of Moab. There would be nothing left in this country about which the people could brag. The well-known proverb, "Pride [goeth] before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall," (Proverbs 16:18) would certainly be proven true in the history of Moab.
Paul advises in his first letter to the Corinthian church, "That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:29-31)
No man will stand in the presence of God and boast about himself. All of the good qualities that we, as Christians, have to boast about are the qualities that we have acquired a through our relationship with Jesus Christ. If you are wise, it is because Christ has made you wise. Brag about Him. If you are righteous, it is because you wear the robe of righteousness that is given to you by Christ. Boast about Him. If you are sanctified, it is because Christ has called you and set you apart for His service. Brag about Him. If you are redeemed, remember how you were lost and condemned to hell but, by the mercy of God and with the blood of Christ, you were purchased for a price. Give the glory to your Lord. Pride has no place in the heart of a Christian who has confessed that he was a sinner and has begged for God's mercy.
Before The Throne:
Make a list of the things in your life that tend to invoke a feeling of pride... your house, your new car, your profession, your children, your good looks, or your life's accomplishments. If you are honest, you will be able to think of many sources of pride. After each item on your list, write either "Me" or "God," indicating which of you should truly get the credit. Confess your previous feelings of pride to the Lord and pray for His forgiveness. Ask Him to help you boast more about Him and less about yourself. Pray that you would decrease in importance, as He increases in your life. Thank Him for the blessings of wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption that are yours through your relationship with Christ. Acknowledge that these are the truly important things in your life, for which only Christ can receive the credit.
For Further Study:
(v.6) ** have. Isa 2:11; Jer 48:26,29,30,42; Am 2:1; Ob 1:3,4; Zep 2:9,10; 1Pe 5:5; ** but. Isa 28:15,18; 44:25; Jer 50:36;
(v.7) ** shall Moab. Isa 15:2-5; Jer 48:20; ** Kir-hareseth. Isa 15:1; 2Ki 3:25; ** mourn. Isa 8:19;
(v.8 ) ** the fields. Isa 15:4; 24:7; 2Sa 1:21; ** the vine. Nu 32:38; ** Shibmah. Jos 13:19; ** the lords. Isa 10:7; Jer 27:6,7; ** Jazer. Nu 32:3; Jos 13:25;
Throne of Mercy
1 Send ye the lamb to the ruler of the land from Sela to the wilderness, unto the mount of the daughter of Zion. 2 For it shall be, that, as a wandering bird cast out of the nest, so the daughters of Moab shall be at the fords of Arnon. 3 Take counsel, execute judgment; make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noonday; hide the outcasts; bewray not him that wandereth. 4 Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler: for the extortioner is at an end, the spoiler ceaseth, the oppressors are consumed out of the land. 5 And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness.
In typical fashion, Isaiah has put the fear of God into the people of Moab by what he has said in the previous chapter. Now he says, "BUT, there is a way for you to avoid the devastation." We serve a God of second chances. Our problem is that our pride keeps us from accepting the offer of a second chance. In the message that follows this passage, Isaiah saw that Moab would not accept God's offer of a second chance, because they were too proud.
The way to avoid complete destruction is by treating God's people, Judah, kindly. First, God wants Moab to submit to the authority of the Davidic king. In those days, lambs were used as tribute. Moab was told to pay their taxes to the king of Judah by sending the lamb to mount Zion where the palace of David was built.
Failure to pay the tax would result in the daughters of Moab, the women, fleeing for safety like a bird whose nest had been destroyed. They would be at the River Arnon looking for safe crossings into the land north of Moab.
Secondly, Moab was to use good judgment concerning the people of Judah. They were to take counsel and think about how they treated God's people. While the Assyrian threat still existed, many of the people of Judah would be looking for a place to hide. Moab was to make their shadow as the night in the midst of the noonday. In other words, they were to hide the outcasts of Judah and give them safe shelter.
The "extortioner" was nearing his end and would no longer be able to spoil the land of Judah. By the mercy of God, the Davidic throne would once again be established. The one who would sit on it would be a man of truth, justice and righteousness. He would be a King who would treat them fairly and judge them honestly.
The immediate king to whom Isaiah was referring was Hezekiah, a type of Christ, but the passage has a strong messianic flavor and seems to take us back to 9:6. Jesus Christ is the only king who could rule over Zion, the church, with perfect truth, justice and righteousness. Without Him, God's mercy would only be temporal. In Christ, however, there is a permanent, an eternal pardoning of sin.
Christians have the same message for the world as Isaiah had for Moab. "Pay tribute to the King who sits on David's throne. Honor Him and His church; because He extends to you the mercy of His Father, the truth of the gospel, the promise of justice, His cloak of righteousness and eternal life. The alternative is complete destruction under the wrath of God. The choice is yours."
Like it did for Moab, pride often gets in the way of our better judgment, blocking us from making good decisions. Nevertheless, we owe it to Jesus to deliver the message.
Before The Throne:
Before we pray for sinners, perhaps we should evaluate our own lives. Too often, we do not treat our fellow Christians as kindly as we ought. Pray that God would forgive you for the many times when you have thought poorly of a brother or sister in Christ or treated them with less respect than they deserved. Pray for those around you who have not accepted the second chance that Christ offers to them. Ask the Lord to have mercy on them, to break the power of their pride, to humble them and to give them understanding of the gospel message. Pray that He will prepare their hearts to respond to your testimony.
For Further Study:
(v.1) ** the lamb. 2Sa 8:2; 2Ki 3:4; Ezr 7:17; ** from. 2Ki 14:7; ** the mount. Isa 10:32; Mic 4:8 ;
(v.2) ** as. Isa 13:14; Pr 27:8; ** the fords. Nu 21:13-15; De 2:36; 3:8,12; Jos 13:16; Jud 11:18;
(v.3) ** execute. Isa 1:17; Ps 82:3,4; Jer 21:12; 22:3; Eze 45:9-12; Da 4:27; Zec 7:9; ** make. Isa 9:6; 25:4; 32:2; Jud 9:15; Jon 4:5-8; ** hide. Isa 56:8; Ob 1:12-14; Mt 25:35; Heb 13:2;
(v.4) ** mine. De 23:15,16; 24:14; Jer 21:12; ** for. Isa 14:4; 33:1; 51:13; Jer 48:8,18; Zec 9:8; ** oppressors. Isa 15:6; 25:10; Zec 10:5; Mal 4:3; Lu 21:24; Ro 16:20; Re 11:2;
(v.5) ** in mercy. Ps 61:6,7; 85:10; 89:1,2,14; Pr 20:28; 29:14; Lu 1:69-75; ** in the. Isa 9:6,7; 2Sa 5:9; 7:16; Jer 23:5,6; Da 7:14,27; Am 9:11; Mic 4:7; Lu 1:31-33; Ac 15:16,17; ** judging. Isa 11:1-5; 32:1,2; 2Sa 23:3; 1Ki 10:9; 2Ch 31:20; Ps 72:2-4; 96:13; Ps 98:9; 99:4; Zec 9:9; Heb 1:8,9; ** hasting. 2Pe 3:11,12;
A Compassionate Spirit
5 My heart shall cry out for Moab; his fugitives shall flee unto Zoar, an heifer of three years old: for by the mounting up of Luhith with weeping shall they go it up; for in the way of Horonaim they shall raise up a cry of destruction. 6 For the waters of Nimrim shall be desolate: for the hay is withered away, the grass faileth, there is no green thing. 7 Therefore the abundance they have gotten, and that which they have laid up, shall they carry away to the brook of the willows. 8 For the cry is gone round about the borders of Moab; the howling thereof unto Eglaim, and the howling thereof unto Beerelim. 9 For the waters of Dimon shall be full of blood: for I will bring more upon Dimon, lions upon him that escapeth of Moab, and upon the remnant of the land."
Most of us want to see justice done. The recent acquittals of a few celebrities, whom everyone believed were guilty of some heinous crimes, seemed to anger the public. If they had been found guilty, most people would have felt like they had received what they deserved and might have even gloated a little. But, that is not the way a godly person should think. Certainly, justice must be done, but we should not be happy to see someone punished or condemned.
Isaiah exemplifies the compassionate spirit that each of us should have. "My heart," he says, "shall cry out for Moab." Moab was one of Judah's enemies. How could their greatest prophet cry over the enemy's destruction? It is only possible when one has a godly spirit of compassion for all people.
The reasons why Isaiah's heart would be grieved for these people are spelled out in the following verses. The people of Moab would be like fugitives fleeing to Zoar at the southern end of the Dead Sea where lot fled when Sodom was destroyed. They would be like a three-year-old heifer that panics when the yoke is placed upon his shoulders for the very first time. Luhith might have been the name of one of the mountains along the way, and the people would climb its slopes with tears in their eyes. On the way to the village of Horonaim they would raise the cry of people who had seen their homeland destroyed.
Isaiah writes short sentences as though he were speaking between his own sobs of sorrow for the people of Moab. He cries for them, because the water of Nimrim would be dried up; because there would be no hay for the animals; because the grass would not grow and there would be no greenery left in the land.
Isaiah cried for the Moabites, because he could see that the abundance to which they were accustomed would be gone. They would carry their belongings like vagabonds to another place called the brook of willows, searching for food and water.
He mourned for Moab because of the wide extent of their sorrows. Isaiah could hear their howling and see their pain years before it happened. He saw the rivers running with blood and the wild animals devouring the helpless, fleeing people.
The destruction of our fellow human beings is not something that should cause a Christian to rejoice. King David, who was a man after God's heart, did not rejoice when King Saul, his enemy, was killed. He told the people, "Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph... Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights, who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel." (2 Samuel 1:20, 24)
And, we should never forget Jesus' compassion for Jerusalem. "And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation." (Luke 19:41-44)
Jesus clearly instructed us to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44). We should desire justice, but we should not rejoice over the suffering of those who are the objects of its wrath. Every one of us deserves to be cast into the eternal fires of hell, because we are all sinners. However, every Christian has experienced the compassion and mercy of God who expects us to extend that same compassion to others. If the suffering of our enemies does not bring us to the point of tears, there is something wrong with our relationship with God. If Jesus truly lives within you, His compassion for others will control your expression of love for them.
Before The Throne:
Pray for a compassionate spirit. Ask God to let the love of Jesus Christ overwhelm you. If your heart breaks for those who are perishing, you will be more determined to win them to Christ. Pray for the lost. Ask God to give you the gift of evangelism so that you can play a role in the salvation of your friends, family and community. If you have experienced any kind of joy over the suffering of someone whom you thought deserved to be punished, confess it to God and beg His forgiveness. Praise him having shown mercy to you through the suffering of His only begotten Son.
For Further Study:
(v.5) ** My heart. Isa 16:9-11; Jer 8:18,19; 9:10,18,19; 13:17; 17:16; 48:31-36; Luk 19:41-44; Ro 9:1-3; ** Zoar. Ge 13:10; 14:2; 19:22; ** three. Isa 16:14; Jer 48:34; ** the mounting. Jer 48:5,34; ** with. 2Sa 15:23,30; ** destruction. Isa 22:5; Jer 4:20;
(v.6) ** Nimrim. Nu 32:3,36; ** Nimrah. Jos 13:27; ** the grass. Isa 16:9,10; Joe 1:10-12; Hab 3:17,18; Re 8:7;
(v.7) ** the abundance. Isa 5:29; 10:6,14; Na 2:12,13; ** to the. Ps 137:1,2;
(v.8 ) ** the cry. Jer 48:20-24,31-34; ** Eglaim. Eze 47:10;
(v.9) ** more. Lev 26:18,21,24,28; Jer 48:43-45; ** lions. Lev 26:22; 2Ki 17:25; Jer 15:3; Am 5:19;
Making the Wrong Turn
1 The burden of Moab. Because in the night Ar of Moab is laid waste, and brought to silence; because in the night Kir of Moab is laid waste, and brought to silence; 2 He is gone up to Bajith, and to Dibon, the high places, to weep: Moab shall howl over Nebo, and over Medeba: on all their heads shall be baldness, and every beard cut off. 3 In their streets they shall gird themselves with sackcloth: on the tops of their houses, and in their streets, every one shall howl, weeping abundantly. 4 And Heshbon shall cry, and Elealeh: their voice shall be heard even unto Jahaz: therefore the armed soldiers of Moab shall cry out; his life shall be grievous unto him.
Moab was Lot's son by his eldest daughter. His descendants settled in the very mountainous area east of the Jordan River and adjacent to the Dead Sea. Officially, the northern border of Moab was the river Arnon, but they also populated the area immediately north of the Arnon in the territory that was given to the tribes of Ruben and Gad. Over the years, there had been a lot of hostility between the Israelites and the Moabites. However, we should remember that Ruth was a Moabitess and an ancestor of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:5).
This prophecy about Moab's burden extends through the sixteenth chapter of Isaiah and is also found in Jeremiah 48 (See the notes in "For Further Study"). In these first four verses, we are told about the utter sorrow of the Moabites and how they would turn to their idols for help that would never come. The time of the prophecy appears to be shortly after the material that proceeds it, probably during Hezekiah's first year as king. The fourteenth verse of the next chapter tells us that it was to be fulfilled within three years.
The exact location of all of the cities that are mentioned is not known, however, Ar was the capitol of Moab and was near to (or on) the Arnon. Kir was a short distance south of Ar. Their destruction would come in the night when the people least expected it and assumed that they were safe in their beds. The phrase, "brought to silence," is another way of saying that there would be a total destruction of the cities. It does not mean that there would be utter silence, because the very opposite is true.
"He is gone up to Bajith and to Dibon, the high places to weep..." This could refer to the king of Moab or to the average citizen. He would go up to the high places where the temples and groves were erected to their idol gods. Mount Nebo, overlooking the Dead Sea, was the place where a temple was supposedly built. The men would go to their places of worship clean-shaven on both their heads and faces, a sign of intense grief. The beard was considered to be almost a sacred thing and was only shaved off to show overwhelming sorrow.
Sackcloth was the fabric worn for mourning, and professional mourners were often hired to howl at funerals. This time, however, everyone would howl and weep abundantly. Even the professional soldiers would cry out, because their lives would also be very painful, difficult, and filled with sorrow.
The Moabites would turn to their gods for help, but it would be the wrong turn. There is only one God who could have helped them, and they turned away from Him. This was nothing new for them. Ever since Lot separated from Abraham, the family seems to have continually made bad choices, which dramatically impacted their lives. They were a heathen tribe that had totally rejected the God of Abraham, and that choice would end in their destruction.
How often, when things go wrong for us, do we make the wrong turn? We tend to think that we can solve our problems ourselves and we take matters into our own hands instead of turning to God for help. We forget that God is already in control of our problems and has allowed us to suffer them for a very good reason. However, we turn to our money, our attorneys, our doctors, our own common sense, our friends or our families... everyone but God.
The result is that our lives are often miserable, just like the people of Moab. Making the wrong turn away from God leads us to a path of destruction. It does not make any difference how good your attorney or your doctor is. If God is not on your side, if you have turned some other way, you will not find the peace and comfort that you are seeking.
Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." He is everything that you need. Turn to Him when problems strike. Trust Him and he will never abandon you.
Before The Throne:
Evaluate the problems that you are facing in life today. Where have you gone for help? There is nothing wrong with doctors, lawyers, mechanics etc., but what they can do is limited by what God will allow or enable them to do. Turn to Him first. Pray for His help with each problem. Ask Him to show you why you have that problem. How does he want you to respond to it? Perhaps He just wants you to trust in Him more or He may want you to change your lifestyle completely. You must respond to Him in the proper way, if you want His help.
For Further Study:
(v.1) ** Moab. Isa 11:14; 25:10; Jer 9:26; 48:1-47; Eze 25:8-11; Am 2:1-3; Zep 2:8-11; ** in the. Ex 12:29,30; 1Th 5:1-3; ** Ar. Nu 21:28; De 2:9,18; ** Kir. Isa 16:7; ** Kir-hareseth. Isa 16:11; ** Kir-haresh. 2Ki 3:25; ** Kir-haraseth. Jer 48:31,36;
(v.2) ** is gone. Isa 16:12; Jos 13:17; Jer 48:18,22,23; ** Moab. Isa 14:31; 16:7; Jer 48:31,39; ** Nebo. Nu 32:3,38; De 34:1; Jer 48:1; ** Medeba. Nu 21:30; Jos 13:16; ** all. Isa 3:24; 22:12; Le 19:27,28; 21:5; De 14:1; Job 1:20; Jer 7:29; 47:5; 48:1,37,38; Eze 7:18;
(v.3) ** their streets. 2Sa 3:31; 2Ki 6:30; Jon 3:6-8; Mt 11:21; ** on the. Isa 22:1; De 22:8; Jer 19:13; 48:38,39;
(v.4) ** Heshbon. Isa 16:8,9; Nu 32:3,4; Jer 48:34; ** Jahaz. Nu 21:23; De 2:32; Jos 13:18; Jud 11:20; ** his. Ge 27:46; Nu 11:15; 1Ki 19:4; Job 3:20-22; 7:15,16; Jer 8:3; 20:18; Jon 4:3,8; Re 9:6;