God calls Moses and the people to “clean up” the camp. This is accomplished by moving the “unclean” outside the camp.
In God’s laws we have already read about one of these groups listed being put outside the camp; the lepers. They would have to live outside the camp while they were infected. Now God calls for more of the unclean people to be put outside the camp. He calls for those with a discharge and those made unclean by being around the dead.
I’m curious if this means women during their periods too. Was this for a long term discharge or one of any length? Also people who were unclean because of contact with the dead could be clean again after evening fell and they had a bath. So was there a short term encampment outside the camp and a long term one? I don’t see these second groups wanting to be in the encampment of lepers. It would be too risky for them.
I’m also wondering if this is a short term command or a long term one. Was this for a specific season or was it enforced all the time? I tried looking ahead but didn’t see any answer to my question. If there is one I haven’t read far enough to find it.
Just because these people were outside the camp didn’t make them any less part of the people of Israel. They were to be cared for just like the rest of the families. They were important to the people AND to God.
God’s separating the unclean from the camp was not a punishment for those who were put out. It was a protection for those who remained. It was to keep His camp holy. This was where He made His home among His people. He had several “buffer zones” between Himself and the people. First there was the outer portion of the Tabernacle tent. Next was the outer court. Then were the Levites who camped around the tabernacle. And finally, the rest of the camp. And finally came the outskirts of the camp where these people were assigned to. This separation didn’t make the camp “sin free” but it pointed out the most obvious separations. It identified those who were unclean for some reason.
Thinking over Jesus’ ministry, He came in contact with ALL of these groups. He healed lepers on several occasions including one instance where ten of them came to Him together. He healed a woman who had a discharge for twelve years. And He raised the dead on several occasions, even going into the bedroom of a girl who had just died.
Jesus wasn’t afraid of the “unclean” and He never became unclean by association. He loved these people and ministered to them wherever they were at. He opened the way for them to “rejoin the community” they had been removed from. He opened the way back to the Father.
God loves the hurting people as much as Jesus does but He cannot be in the presence of sin. That was the ONLY reason He had to draw this line. Even after drawing the line He made a way back for each of these individuals. He didn’t cast them away permanently. They were to remain separate until their status changed; their uncleanness was dealt with.
We are separated from God by our sins too; specifically those that we choose to continue to participate in. He can’t reach in and pull us out. Jesus can meet us there and the Holy Spirit can call us back from those places but God can’t dwell with us in those places. We have to repent and come back to Him and renew our relationship. He doesn’t leave us alone and never takes His eyes off of us and NEVER stops loving us. But our relationship has a kink in it until WE decide to address our issues. Jesus paved the way back for us and we are only a 180 degree turn away from His arms. We don’t even have to pack up our tent and move back into the camp. He has our place ready and waiting for our return.
Father God, I “fell down” again today. Thank You for Jesus’ grace that makes it possible for me to come back. Help me STOP falling into the same traps. Heal my heart from this. I honestly can’t name it but I know You see it and have the ability to deal with this issue in my life and my heart. Thank You that You have never kicked me out of Your family. Show me how to live with this “monster” in me. Tame it or take it please Father! FOREVER I pray!