Thursday, February 25, 2010

2010 – Feb. 25 – Water, Water, Everywhere

Study from God’s Word Lev. 12: 1-8; Lev. 14: 1-32; Lev. 15: 13-15, 28-30; Num. 19: 1-22 [Num. 9: 10]; … Passage for Reflection: Lev. 14: 8a … NIV "The person to be cleansed must wash his clothes, shave off all his hair and bathe with water; then he will be ceremonially clean. …”

My Journal for Today: My readings for today focused on the ceremonial cleansing, such as actions or offerings, which were required by God and the Israelite Priesthood, especially when God’s people confronted certain elements of life such as childbirth, certain diseases [especially skin diseases], bodily secretions, and contact or close presence with a dead body. My devotional shepherd, Dr. Smith, had me reading about many of the Hebrew ceremonies, offerings, and actions required of the people who were confronted with some of these life challenging issues which God’s Law had laid out to help protect His people.

For example in my focus verse/passage for today, I read about how someone with a skin disease was required to be cleansed by the Priests, … first outside the camp; and then, after that ritual cleansing, he was to stay outside his own tent for seven days and be cleansed for a week with ceremonially blessed waters by the Priests until he was bodily healed and ceremoniously cleansed.

As Dr. Smith points out, many religions have ceremonial cleansing with water in their rituals; and often these rituals picture the basic sinfulness of man and the need to be cleansed from sin. Hindus actually “bath” themselves in the polluted waters of the Ganges, believing that it cleanses the soul of the one so cleansed. I’ve been to the Dome of the Rock, in Jerusalem; and I know that the Muslims entering their temple there have to be “cleansed” by a ceremonial washing before entering the Temple. And even Christ submitted Himself to the ceremonial cleansing of the waters of the Jordan River as He, being baptized by John, the Baptistizer, wanted to paint the picture of the need for man to be cleansed of sinfulness by submitting himself to the cleansing of God’s Spirit. This latter process, of course (i.e., Baptism) doesn’t save the believer who is baptized. No, it merely signifies that the person has surrendered to God, in submission to the cleansing of the blood of the Lamb of God, who shed His blood for our sins on the Cross at Calvary. And if you go back to Leviticus 14: 1-8, you’ll read how the blood of a clean dove was sacrificed by the Priest who combined that blood with the ceremonial water for cleansing of the one with the skin disease. All of these are pictures of God’s desire that we be cleansed of our sin and redeemed by the blood of the Lamb of God.

When asked about the saving power of baptism, I once heard a preacher say, “That water [in the Baptismal font] doesn’t save anyone. If you haven’t surrendered your life to the Lordship of Christ when you’re baptized, you’ll come up out of the water, and all you’ll be is a wet sinner.” And that is Dr. F. LaGard Smith’s point today, as he closes his devotional entry with this application question, “If God has painted me pure in the waters of baptism, have I allowed myself to become polluted?” And it is so true that we can be made positionally holy by believing in and receiving the baptism of God’s Spirit with our faith in the atoning and finished act of Christ’s death and resurrection; but practically, our sin choices can make us as unclean as those Jews with skin diseases who needed to be ceremonially cleansed from their disease.

We need to ask ourselves if we are living out the holiness which became our right of cleansing when we were cleansed by the blood of Christ. If not, we need to be cleansed by our own personal surrender in confession to God so that we can receive His promised cleansing by His Spirit (see 1st John 1: 9 - linked) How about it? Are we keeping short accounts for our sins; and are we living out the cleansing which has been given to us by our Savior on the Cross?

My Prayer for Today: Lord, help me to live holy because You are holy; and my only reflection of Your holiness comes in the way I make my choices and live my life. I am cleansed by the blood of the Lamb; and so, may I live cleanly to show Your presence in my life. Amen

No comments: