Today we finish and leave behind the book of Numbers and most of Deuteronomy. So how do we begin but with war of course. Well, war and a touch of rebellion as the warriors disobey by attempting to bring Midianite women into camp. These are the same women who just earlier had attempted to destroy Israel by sexually enticing them to worship the Baal of Peor.
In our modern sensitivities it is a difficult passage to begin with, there is bloodshed by God’s people in time of war as well as in the aftermath of war. I definitely want to work through some of these hard questions on the blog, but unfortunately this isn’t the time for it. I have a rather large portion of Scripture to read today and thus I must move on. But I cannot leave the 31st chapter of Numbers without observing that impurity must be purged even from the artifacts of another culture. It brings to mind the Haitian market which I’ve visited in the past.
Unwary tourist’s will often buy items that they find fascinating and in so doing many will attempt to buy articles that are right out of Voodoo, and some of them blatantly so. Fortunately the missionaries with whom I’ve gone have been wise enough to notice and to discourage the purchase of these items. It is not wise to bring the idols of another nation into your home. I can’t tell you how my heart breaks and to a certain extent frets when I see people with Buddhas or other little idols in their homes. They often say, “Oh, it’s just a decoration.” But they do not realize that these items are often associated with demonic spirits and by bringing them into their homes they are in effect inviting the devil into the den. Thus even the common metal artifacts had to be purified with fire and the water for impurity. This same theme is repeated in Deuteronomy 7:25-26.
“The carved images of their gods you shall burn with fire. You shall not covet the silver or the gold that is on them or take it for yourselves, lest you be ensnared by it, for it is an abomination to the Lord your God. And you shall not bring an abominable thing into your house and become devoted to destruction like it. You shall utterly detest and abhor it, for it is devoted to destruction.” ESV Dt 7:25-26.
Throughout the rest of the book of Deuteronomy, Moses begins with a solemn warning not to forget God and get spiritually lazy once their physical needs have been satisfied (Chapter 8) and then he recounts their voyage and God’s faithfulness, and explains for the second time the Law of God. (the meaning of Deuteronomy).