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This chapter contains an order for the removal of the unclean, from the Camp. Here is also a repetition of the law, concerning the restitution to be made in cases of trespass; and the mode of trial to be observed, in the instance of a wife suspected of adultery.
It is always both pleasing and profitable, to observe in the letter of the law, the spiritual meaning of it! And here, if I mistake not, in the precept issued, concerning the removal of the unclean, from the camp; a very striking allusion is intended to that blessed dispensation of mercy in the gospel, in which, as the LORD himself, hath tabernacled in substance of our flesh among us, nothing that is unclean can be suffered to dwell. Here again, dearest JESUS! as in former instances, so in this, how delightfully art thou pointed out to me! Oh! give me grace to come out from among all that is filthy, and to touch no unclean thing; but as He who hath called me is holy, so may I be holy in all manner of conversation. 1 Peter 1:15 . And is there not an allusion also in this doctrine, to that kingdom of glory, which is above, as well as to the kingdom of grace, which is leading to it here below? Certainly, our GOD will one day come, and gather out of his kingdom all things that offend. LORD grant that I may be found, in that day, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; and that I may he holy, and without blame before thee, in love. Ephesians 1:4 .
Is there not, under this precept, concerning trespasses in general, somewhat couched, respecting the special and particular atonement made for offences universally by our nearest kinsman, the LORD JESUS? As the recompense here, was ordered to be made by the kinsmen, so there, it was the kinsman who made restitution for all our injustice and trespasses. It was JESUS that put his name in the bond debt, to answer for all his people. He, and he only, could say: then I restored that which I took not away. Psalms 69:4 . Dearest JESUS! praised be thy mercy, that I am not in the situation of the man, spoken of in this scripture, that hath no kinsman to recompense the trespass for him, for thou art my kinsman Redeemer! And I hope that I can say, and with the same well grounded assurance of faith, as Job did, I know that my (GOD) Redeemer liveth. Job 19:25 .
Is there not somewhat of a spiritual adultery intended also to be conveyed here? As JESUS was the husband of his people: and as He had said, thou shalt not play the harlot, and thou shalt not be for another man, so will I also be for thee; is not this going aside, intended to show how very jealous the LORD is and will be of his own honor? Hosea 3:3 .
These verses contain a very circumstantial account, of the law of jealousy. The process of trial is very solemn and awful; and the event, suited to the nature of the dispensation, under which the church then was. But among the disciples of a better dispensation, founded upon better promises, there can need no waters of jealousy, for we know that GOD judgeth the secrets of all hearts by JESUS CHRIST, the Great High Priest of our profession; and though in the present day of abounding transgression, sins of uncleanness and unfaithfulness abound; yet that scripture is not less in force, whoremongers and adulterers will GOD judge. LORD! keep us from all our enemies, and especially from the defilements of our own corrupt nature, and may we learn as members of CHRIST'S mystical body, to say with the same holy zeal and indignation, as the Apostle: shall I then take the members of CHRIST, and make them the members of an harlot? GOD forbid! 1 Corinthians 6:15 .
BLESSED GOD! here let me learn the sanctity, which ought to be preserved in those that approach thy church, and the place where thine honour dwelleth. LORD! do thou enable me to keep my foot when I go to the house of GOD; and do thou keep my heart from all defilement. Precious Redeemer! here again let me behold and rightly prize thy invaluable redemption; by which alone, my soul, which hath deserved to be banished without the camp, by reason of the uncleanness I have contracted; yet being cleansed from all sin by thy blood, is brought within the vail, and come within the holy place! Oh! GOD of my salvation, let me upon earth be forever singing the glories of the LAMB that was slain, and hath redeemed poor sinners to GOD by his blood; and by and by, I hope, through thy grace, most loudly to proclaim it, amidst the glorified inhabitants of heaven. And do thou, dearest LORD, who hast paid all the fine of trespasses for me, graciously rule, and so govern every affection of my heart, that there may be no allowed trespasses in me. To thee I look up, with the same awakened earnestness of prayer and supplication as one of old, and cry as he did: Search me, O GOD, and know may heart; try me and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
And blessed Redeemer, since thou last graciously condescended to make me thine, and hast betrothed me to thee forever. Oh! let nothing tempt me to go aside or wander from thee; no LORD not in thought, or word, or deed. But like the church of old, let it be my glory that I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine, and thy desire is toward me.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Numbers 5". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29