Walking Amongst His People
I am nearing the conclusion of the Torah (actually now I'm well past it but this was drafted up awhile ago). The NASB audio Bible has been pretty amazing. The reading pace is different from the ESV and that took some getting used to but I'm moving right along and ready for the historical books. Nevertheless, as with every trip through the Bible, you always find yourself stumbling over those verses. The silly ones about bodily omissions or something of bodily uncleanness. The ones that you struggle to put in their context of God's plan for redemption or the gospel. These verses are even more fun to hear,
12 “You shall also have a place outside the camp and go out there, 13 and you shall have a spade among your tools, and it shall be when you sit down outside, you shall dig with it and shall turn to cover up your excrement. - Deuteronomy 23:12-13
How is the church supposed to look at laws about excrement? How does this even get close to the borders of relevancy for the modern day Christian? Thankfully I didn't need to do serious exegesis of excrement to come to a conclusion. I just had to listen to the next verse,
14 Since the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp to deliver you and to defeat your enemies before you, therefore your camp must be holy; and He must not see anything indecent among you or He will turn away from you. - Deuteronomy 23:14
This brought back a wave of Old Testament symbols. Up to this point, God has not walked with many people in the Torah. He walked in the garden with Adam and Eve in the intimacy and cool of the evening (Gen 3:8). He walked with Enoch to the extent that He took him up (Gen 5:22-24). He walked with Noah before delivering him from the flood (Gen 6:9). All of these are spectacular and meaningful symbols of God's relationship with His people; and yet here in the midst of a stubborn people in the wilderness God has given them a law concerning excrement because He already walks among His redeemed people. He walks among them to deliver them by His own might and power.
This all points forward to Jesus Christ and his dwelling among His people (John 1:14). Not only does Christ walk among His people but His life and death makes them holy. This doesn't pull the obligation upon Christians to act holy (1 Peter 1:15-16) but our status as holy is not based upon our works. This giving of Christ redeemed His people. It delivered us and defeated our enemies. And it put into motion the greatest Biblical recording of God walking with His people,
3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” - Revelation 21:1-4