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Numbers 5:1-31 (The Holy Polygraph)

Oct 7, 2018   //   by Charlie Garrett   //   Numbers, Old Testament, Old Testament (written), Sermons, Torah, Torah (written), Writings  //  No Comments

Numbers 5:1131
The Holy Polygraph

I have a friend, Tom, who is a police officer out in Point Roberts, Washington. He has been itching for me to get to today’s passage. Being a cop, he is obviously aware of folks who will lie, even when it’s pretty obvious that the truth is already evident. He is also surely aware of those who can convincingly lie with a such a straight face that nobody could ever tell they were lying. And then, he’s surely seen lots of people who have been accused of wrongdoing, but who are actually innocent.

One of the tools we use for this type of thing, although not legally admissible in court, is the polygraph test. He’s the one who was reading this passage and equated its contents to a “holy polygraph,” and he has been wanting to know what it is picturing, if anything. When he emailed me, he used the term “holy polygraph,” and so he saved me the trial of trying to think up a name for the sermon.

There are times where, whether you believe it or not, choosing a name for the sermon is as hard as anything else involved in its preparation. Really, it’s true. If you don’t believe me then I’ll take a lie-detector… never mind. But it is true. As far as what this passage is picturing, I’d never given it much thought. But like everything, the words used begin to shed light on the matter. Why an earthen vessel? Why holy water? Why uncovering the head? It is things like this that begin to develop a picture for us.

Text Verse: Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.” Hebrews 2:13

The passage today concerns feelings of jealousy in a husband towards his possibly unfaithful wife. That seems to be the main idea of the account, but the penalty for the wife is what bears attention. In Israel, the penalty for adultery was stoning. However, here, the penalty speaks of things which seem rather odd. Why would her thigh rot, and her belly swell? Although not nearly a literal translation, the intent is well stated in the CSB. They translated it, “her belly will swell, and her womb will shrivel.”

We’ll explain why the difference when we get there, but for now, it’s good to understand that it is the womb which is drawing the attention in the penalty phase of the rite. That really becomes evident when one gets to verse 28. The faithful wife is said to be free from the curse and able to bear children. What is that meaning to show us?

For now, I’ll leave you with a warning to pass on to others. Be careful when you read books on theology, and be careful who you believe in whatever church you decide to visit or attend. The scholars at Cambridge did their absolute best on this account to degrade the Bible into a bunch of myths and superstitions. To them, reading a passage like this is no different than reading a book on spells and incantations written by Aldetha Teach.

The whole thing to them is an exercise in debating what verse was inserted into the Bible by which ancient Hebrew author. They reject that the Lord directed Moses to write these words, they reject that they actually bear the ability to bring a curse upon the adulterous wife, and it seems that, apart from trying to look intelligent by making the Bible look stupid, their only objective in writing a commentary is to weaken your faith in the truth of the word. Maybe they are somehow pictured in the verses of this passage. Maybe so…

One thing is for sure, this is God’s word, and it points to real truths concerning Jesus Christ. It’s all to be found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. A Spirit of Jealousy (verses 11-15)

11 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,

The words now introduce the third main section of Chapter 5. The first (v.1-4) spoke of maintaining purity in the camp by putting out lepers and others who were defiled. The second (v.5-10) referred to the need for confession and restitution for unfaithfulness against the Lord. Now, a third section is brought in which will continue to the end of the chapter, beginning with the words…

12 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them:

The first section said to “command the children of Israel.” Something needed to be done, and it was commanded to be so. The second section said to “speak to the children of Israel.” It was a conditional thing. If something came about, then the Lord gave directions concerning what to do about it. This section again says to “speak to them.” It again concerns a conditional thing. “If what I now submit comes about, then here is what you are to do about it.” And that is…

12 (con’t) ‘If any man’s wife goes astray and behaves unfaithfully toward him,

The passage, like the first two, deals with a type of defilement. In this case, it is suspected defilement of a woman who has been unfaithful to her husband. In this, a new word is introduced, satah. It will be found four times in this chapter, and twice in the Proverbs. It signifies, turning away, and it is is always used in regards to the faithfulness or unfaithfulness of an individual.

13 and a man lies with her carnally,

Two similar words are used here, shakav, meaning to lie down, and shekavah, meaning an emission of zera, or seed. The intent of the words leaves no doubt. The wife lays with a man in a carnal manner. However, though speaking as if it actually occurred, for the husband it is only an occurrence in the mind at this point, through suspicion…

13 (con’t) and it is hidden from the eyes of her husband,

The husband at this point is suspicious of her unfaithfulness, but there is no actual witness to the matter. The truth of the matter is veiled from his eyes, as the Hebrew word signifies.

13 (con’t) and it is concealed that she has defiled herself,

The woman has done the thing she is suspected of having done, and has thus defiled herself. It is the same word used in verse 3 concerning those who needed to be put out of the camp, lest they defile it. She has committed the act but there is no proof to the fact. Despite continuing to speak of it as a surety, the woman is still only suspected of the act.

13 (con’t) and there was no witness against her, nor was she caught—

Again and in a different way, it is considered as if the thing has happened, but there is no way of substantiating that it occurred. The wording has been presented in several ways to ensure that there is no doubt that there remains complete doubt. If there was actually no doubt, then the punishment would be stoning. That is seen in Leviticus 20 –

The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death.” Leviticus 20:10

However, in this case, the husband suspects that the woman has done exactly what is presented. Then…

14 if the spirit of jealousy comes upon him and he becomes jealous of his wife, who has defiled herself;

The ruakh qinah, or “spirit of jealousy,” has come upon the husband. This noun, qinah, is introduced here. It refers to jealousy, or being zealous concerning a matter. It can be applied to man or to God. It will be seen in this chapter seven times. The next time it will be used after this chapter will be when the Lord says –

Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned away My wrath from the sons of Israel in that he was jealous with My jealousy among them, so that I did not destroy the sons of Israel in My jealousy.(Numbers 25:11/NASB).

The Lord was jealous for the sake of His holy name, and Phinehas defended the Lord’s honor with the same zealous attitude. Here, the man has a burning jealousy and it is well-founded. However, jealousy can also be unfounded…

14 (con’t) or if the spirit of jealousy comes upon him and he becomes jealous of his wife, although she has not defiled herself—

The ruakh qinah, or “spirit of jealousy” is an inward feeling which can either be true or false. It is something that wells up in a person, rightly or wrongly, and it can become a huge problem if not resolved. There is a question as to why this only pertains to a woman and not a man. Several reasons become obvious when the matter is thought through, one of which is as much a protection for the woman as it is for the man.

The first and most obvious reason is that the idea of Israel is one of purity. The Lord speaking to the men about divorcing their wives in Malachi gives His reason for retaining the marriage –

But did He not make them one,
Having a remnant of the Spirit?
And why one?
He seeks godly offspring.
Therefore take heed to your spirit,
And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.” Malachi 2:15

The sacredness of marriage is a given, even from the creation of man, but the sacredness of offspring becomes the focus of attention from that point on as well. The two lines mentioned in Genesis 6 speak of this – the sons of God, and the sons of men. The Lord expected the purity of Israel in particular as they led to the coming Messiah. The name and family of the male, including the transfer of his land and property, is an honor to be bestowed upon a legitimate son. It would disgrace that, and dishonor the man, for a woman to bear another man’s child.

Another reason this applied to women and not to men, is because it is the man who could severely mistreat the woman if he suspected her of infidelity. He could physically harm her, or treat her no longer as a wife to be respected, but as a slave to his animal desires. This is something a woman could not do to a man. And so despite the law being directed at the woman, it was still a safeguard and protection for her. If no harm came to her from this rite, then she would be vindicated. If harm did come, she would be proven a faithless wife. Either way, it is an appropriate measure as given by the Lord. And so, if a ruakh qinah arises in him…

15 then the man shall bring his wife to the priest.

The woman is herein as protected as she is under suspicion. The priest is the judge, and it is his obligation to judge rightly according to the law.

15 (con’t) He shall bring the offering required for her, one-tenth of an ephah of barley meal;

There are several reasons why an offering is required to be brought forth. First, the Israelites were told to not come before the Lord reqam, or empty-handed. At the Exodus, the people were brought out by the Lord, and when this occurred their hands were filled with the plunder of Egypt. And so He instructed them in essence that, “Just as I brought you out of Egypt with hands that were not empty, so you shall come before Me with hands that are not empty. To do so would be a vain (or empty) thing.”

And so each appearance before the Lord required an offering. The type of offering for this instance is specifically stated as one-tenth of an ephah of barley meal, meaning one omer. The omer comes from the word amar, signifying a sheaf. However, it is used figuratively to mean “to chastise,” as if piling on blows. The omer is of seorah, or barley.

Barley is specified for a couple of reasons as well. First, it is the food of poor people, being worth about half as much as wheat. Because of its low quality, it is used as feed for animals. Thus, it signifies the poor state of the relationship between the husband and the wife, as well as the low state – either deserved or undeserved – of the wife because of the expected guilt.

Secondly, barley is known as the crop of hairy ears because of its hairy appearance. The root of it is se-ar or hair. Hair in the Bible indicates an awareness of things. The goat, for example, is used in Leviticus for the sin offering and it is known as sa-ir. We have an awareness of sin in the hairy goat sin offering. These and other examples show that the offering signifies an awareness exists, rightly or wrongly, concerning the matter. The barley then is a petition to bring this awareness out fully by disclosing the truth of the matter.

15 (con’t) he shall pour no oil on it and put no frankincense on it,

As we saw in Leviticus, and without reexplaining all of it here, the flour pictures Christ, oil symbolizes the presence of the Spirit, and frankincense pictures works. Each of these was offered in a normal grain offering, but only the flour is offered here. This is an offering of jealousy. In this, it reveals that God finds sin offensive and detestable. When sin is present, or even suspected as is the case with the husband’s jealousy, the Spirit is quenched and our works are unacceptable. Therefore no oil or frankincense is added…

15 (con’t) because it is a grain offering of jealousy, an offering for remembering, for bringing iniquity to remembrance.

The presence of Christ, signified by the meal offering, indicates that He will be the judge of the matter which is to be brought forth.

16 ‘And the priest shall bring her near, and set her before the Lord.

The words are masculine, and so this is probably referring only to the offering, and not to the woman. However, it could be that the feminine is put for the masculine. If it is only the offering, it should read, “The priest therefore shall offer it, and set it before the Lord.”

Who is unfaithful and going astray?
Who has turned away her heart?
Who has been unfaithful day unto day?
But who is committed to make a new start?

The Lord reads the minds and tests the heart
He looks for those who will turn to Him again
And so, who is willing to make a new start?
Are there any faithful among the sons of men?

Lord, we have been unfaithful, it is true
We have not been faithful in our heart
But we are now turning back to You
We are willing to turn and make a new start

II. Bitter Water That Brings A Curse (verses 17-22)

17 The priest shall take holy water

The holy water, a term used nowhere else, was surely taken from the bronze laver and was intended for sacred uses. The symbolism of the laver, which was made from the mirrors of the women, is found in Exodus 30. It must be repeated to understand its significance. The laver pictures Christ. He is the Word of God and from Him issues the word of God. Both are discerners of hidden things. Christ actively discerns what is hidden in man, whereas the Bible is what passively allows man to see what is hidden in himself. The composition of the laver being mirrors points to Christ’s ability to discern and judge the very thoughts and intents of the hidden heart of man. As He is the Word of God, and the water of the word proceeds from Him, then it is a picture of the word itself; the Bible.

17 (con’t) in an earthen vessel,

The kheres, or earthen vessel, is used to symbolize people while the Lord is the Potter. In this case, it signifies the humanity of Christ. The lesson is that the holy is not to be mixed with the profane and we, as earthen jars, are to be filled with that which is holy. After that, we are to keep ourselves from being mixed with that which is profane. The rite here is to see if what the woman is accused of is true. Has she kept herself pure?

17 (con’t) and take some of the dust that is on the floor of the tabernacle and put it into the water.

Here is a new word in the Bible, qarqa, or “floor.” The priest is to go into the tabernacle and take some of the aphar, or dust, from the floor and put it into the water. Dust signifies that which is poor and lowly and deserving of a curse. Man was formed from the dust being brought forth to honor, but because of sin his curse was that to the dust he is destined to return. The serpent was cursed with the notion that he would eat the dust all the days of his life. It is a fitting description then of the accusation against her, that of being seduced by the serpent once again.

Coming from the floor of the mishkan, or tabernacle, it would be considered holy. Just as Moses was told to take off his shoes in the presence of the Lord, so was this ground hallowed by the presence of the Lord. You can mentally picture it. The holy curse is being put into the word of God which is contained in the earthen vessel which is Christ’s humanity. The water itself is the means of bringing about the divine curse, or the divine blessing of exoneration.

18 Then the priest shall stand the woman before the Lord,

It is now that the woman is brought to stand before the Lord. This means that she was to be brought within the confines of the sanctuary and caused to stand at the brazen altar in the courtyard of the sanctuary and facing the tabernacle where the ark resided.

18 (con’t) uncover the woman’s head,

The Hebrew word, para, gives the sense of loosening or unrestraining, and thus to expose. If her head was covered, the hair was to be uncovered. If her hair was tied up, it was to be loosened and fall naturally. As said earlier, hair signifies awareness. The wife’s hair as a covering is a sign of respect for her husband. This is alluded to by Paul in 1 Corinthians 11. The hair itself is a symbol of authority of the man over the woman. This symbol is now unrestrained, just as she is believed to have been unrestrained. To determine if she allowed her hair to be loosed in the bed of another man, her hair, the symbol of her awareness, is now to be loosed before the Lord.

18 (con’t) and put the offering for remembering in her hands, which is the grain offering of jealousy.

The grain offering that has been brought before the Lord is now placed in her hands. It is an offering of jealousy of the husband, and she is now holding it out as an offering of her innocence, if she is truly innocent.

18 (con’t) And the priest shall have in his hand the bitter water that brings a curse.

While the woman holds the grain offering of jealousy, the priest holds the bitter water, making his pronouncement over both…

19 And the priest shall put her under oath, and say to the woman, “If no man has lain with you, and if you have not gone astray to uncleanness while under your husband’s authority, be free from this bitter water that brings a curse.

Here stated is the obvious claim of the woman. To this point, she has been accused by her husband, and she has denied her unfaithfulness. The priest is, therefore, giving her the benefit of the doubt by stating that if innocent, she will be free from the harm that the bitter water would otherwise cause. The words are in an imperative form as a seal of assurance that if innocent, no harm will come upon her. However…

20 But if you have gone astray while under your husband’s authority, and if you have defiled yourself and some man other than your husband has lain with you”—

The same thought is expressed in three different, but synonymous ways – “if you have gone astray,” “if you have defiled yourself,” and if “some man other than your husband has lain with you.” There can be no evading what is said, and there can be no later excuse that she had misunderstood the intent of the priest’s words. In this verse is the last use of the noun shekobeth, or intercourse, in the Bible. The intent is as clear as the priest could make it.

21 then the priest shall put the woman under the oath of the curse, and he shall say to the woman—

This clause is parenthetical. It is inserted in order to show that the curse he speaks is a result of the offending action she has committed. The curse itself is…

21 (con’t) “the Lord make you a curse and an oath among your people,

The words here indicate the horrific nature of what will result. To be made a curse means that when people wanted to say the worst possible thing to another, they would use her as an example – “I hope that what happened to Adulterous Annie is what happens to you.” To make someone an oath is to say that people would swear your name as a means of seeking exoneration – “I swear I didn’t do it. If I’m lying, may I become like Adulterous Annie.” This is because the thing that happened to Annie was of the Lord, and it was terrible…

21 (con’t) when the Lord makes your thigh rot and your belly swell;

In essence, to use Adulterous Annie’s name would imply swearing before the Lord, because it was the Lord who brought about her judgment. It was He who made her yarek, or thigh, to naphal, or drop. To fall here signifies to go to ruin. The yarek, though literally meaning “thigh,” is euphemistically speaking of her private parts; her womb. It is used this way from time to time, such as in Genesis 24:2 and Genesis 46:26. The very part of her that she used in unfaithfulness in order to bear would be that which was affected by that same act of infidelity.

The second effect would be that her beten, or womb would tsavah or swell. It is a new word which is only seen in this chapter. The idea here is that the act she committed, which when done rightly with her husband would result in a baby in her life-giving womb, causing it to swell as intended. However and instead, the curse would cause a similar appearance in a swollen dead womb.

The act of unfaithfulness would lead to her physical deformity, and that physical affliction would lead to her becoming the curse and the oath among her people. With the name of the Lord so invoked, the priest now pronounces the curse again to settle the matter…

22 and may this water that causes the curse go into your stomach, and make your belly swell and your thigh rot.”

These words end the oath and the curse which began in verse 19. It is to be noted that no variation of the penalty is authorized. In other words, the priest can’t make up a different penalty like, “May your eye fall out of its socket.” The bitter water’s effect was targeted, and thus the oath which precedes the effect is also specific.

22 (con’t) ‘Then the woman shall say, “Amen, so be it.”

v’amerah ha’ishah amen amen – “And shall say the woman ‘Amen, amen.’” It is the first use of the word in the Bible, and due to its repetition, it comes as an emphasis. When names or words are repeated in the Bible, this is what it means. The word alone signifies, “truly,” or “so be it.” In repeating it, the thought is, “May it certainly be so.”

Like an unfaithful wife, so we have been to You
Our thoughts have been on that which is not right
But You have remained faithful and true
You have been steadfast through day and through night

Return us to the Fount of Life once again, may it be so
Let us drink of the pure Water of Life
And we will follow You wherever You go
We will be as a faithful bride and a loving wife

Lord, may the churches that are called by Your name
Be faithful to the call which at first went out
Take away our guilt, and hide away our shame
And we will be faithful, leaving no future reason to doubt

III. Establishing Guilt or Innocence (verses 23-31)

23 ‘Then the priest shall write these curses in a book, and he shall scrape them off into the bitter water.

The term “book” here, as we think of a book today, is a stretch of the intent. The meaning is that the words were written out – be it on a scroll or a piece of wood, or a piece of parchment, and then they were completely wiped out from the face of the document and transferred to the bitter water.

24 And he shall make the woman drink the bitter water that brings a curse, and the water that brings the curse shall enter her to become bitter.

This is actually looking forward to verse 26. In this, if she were innocent, the very words which had been wiped out would come to produce a similar nothingness in her. But if she was guilty, the substance and formula of the words, which were formed by the ink, would bear witness against her and produce the effect that they proclaimed when they were in written form. However, before she actually drinks the water, the offering must be made…

25 Then the priest shall take the grain offering of jealousy from the woman’s hand, shall wave the offering before the Lord, and bring it to the altar;

In this, the priest receives the grain offering from the woman and waves it before the Lord. The word is nuph, and it signifies to move back and forth. By making a waving motion, the offering would thus be “before” or “in the face of” the Lord. It was an acknowledgment of His omnipresence. The offering itself comes after the oath, but before the drinking of the bitter water. If she is innocent, then her offering would be accepted and the water would have no effect on her. If she were guilty, her offering would be as a profane person offering to God, and it would become evident in the effects of the bitter water.

26 and the priest shall take a handful of the offering, as its memorial portion, burn it on the altar,

The memorial portion of meal offerings was defined in Leviticus. In this case, it is a memorial for either good or for evil, depending on the truth of the matter. This handful is burned up to the Lord for His acceptance or rejection.

26 (con’t) and afterward make the woman drink the water.

One thing is to be remembered here. To this point, the woman has had numerous chances to admit her guilt and ask for mercy. It has been put forward to her again and again. Now, there is only the prospect of being proven true and faithful, or false and faithless…

27 When he has made her drink the water, then it shall be, if she has defiled herself and behaved unfaithfully toward her husband, that the water that brings a curse will enter her and become bitter, and her belly will swell, her thigh will rot, and the woman will become a curse among her people.

Although the rite is now completed for a person standing there, the words here are as much of a warning to the unfaithful woman of Israel as the words leading up to the drinking of the bitter water itself. The surety of the words show that the rite will have its intended effect, and that guilt could not be hidden. Therefore, anyone who heard these words in advance of the rite would have to consider them. The outcome of the rite for guilt is stated absolutely. If she is guilty, what has been said thus far is certain to come about. In this verse is the last use of tsavah, or swell, in the Bible. It arrived in verse 21, and now it is biblical history.

28 But if the woman has not defiled herself, and is clean, then she shall be free and may conceive children.

The words here confirm that the punishment of the guilty woman was upon her reproductive parts. Though it says, “thigh,” it is a euphemistic expression referring to her private parts. The bitter water would cause her reproductive innards to rot and swell. However, if she were not guilty, her ability to bear children would remain unaffected by the mixture. The ability to bear children is biblically a sign of divine favor. Thus, the Lord Himself will have vindicated her.

29 This is the law of jealousy, when a wife, while under her husband’s authority, goes astray and defiles herself,

These words go back and assume that there is no proof of adultery on the part of the woman, but that she has, in fact, been unfaithful. It is the determination of the Lord that there would be a remedy for such unfaithfulness, and that He would be the one to punish that which the law was unable to bring about. Both the adulterer and the adulteress were to be stoned for their act. That is what the law demanded. But the people under the law can only punish what is a known violation. Therefore, the Lord Himself would make the unknown evident.

30 or when the spirit of jealousy comes upon a man, and he becomes jealous of his wife; then he shall stand the woman before the Lord, and the priest shall execute all this law upon her.

The words here do not assume guilt like the previous verse. Instead, they acknowledge assumed guilt and then lead to the means by which that assumed guilt becomes actual guilt, or exoneration from that guilt. The husband is not to act upon his jealousy, but rather he is to allow the Lord to judge through His mediator, the priest. In all such cases, it is the Lord who is ultimately the one who determines the punishment for guilt. In handling it this way, we see the final result of the passage…

*31 Then the man shall be free from iniquity, but that woman shall bear her guilt.’”

If the man personally took action against his wife because of a feeling of jealousy, he would bear guilt for harming her. Or, if he ignored the feeling of jealousy and allowed the iniquity to continue, he would be guilty of tolerating her sin. However, by deferring to the Lord to make the determination, and bringing about the consequences of the woman’s guilt, he would be free from iniquity and only she would bear guilt.

IV. The Holy Polygraph, An Explanation

In the end, what we are seeing here is a picture of what happens when the church is unfaithful to Lord. He is the Head of the church, the people are as is His betrothed spouse. If we have gone out and been unfaithful to Him, we are reckoned as adulterers. An unfaithful wife is a wife which arouses jealousy, and the Lord is a jealous God, just as He said of Himself in Exodus 34:14 – “…the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”

The elements of the rite all point to Christ – the husband; the omer of barley meal – signifying the poor state in which He came and His awareness of our state before God; the holy water – His word; the earthen vessel – His humanity; the dust of the floor – meaning the curse He took upon Himself; the words of law – meaning the judgment upon sin; the priest – signifying Him as Mediator; the altar – which is His sacrifice; and so on. All of these stand as a witness either of our guilt or our innocence.

There is one true church, but there are churches and then there are churches. The Lord is jealous for His church, and therefore there must be judgment upon it if there is unfaithfulness to Him. All of the symbolism here points to judgment upon the church which is unfaithful to Him. Just as He is said to remove His lampstand from an unfaithful church in Revelation 2:5 so that it is no longer a true church, so He also removes the ability of that church to bear children. It is, as we can say, a woman with a dead womb.

One continuous theme of the Bible is the begetting of legitimate sons and daughters. For a church to commit adultery with the world, or even through an abuse of Scripture, it means that illegitimate children are the result. And so, in a spiritual sense, the woman who drinks the bitter water, and whose thigh rots and her belly swells, pictures that church. She cannot bear legitimate children. Nor even could Israel while still under the law. The only way that a legitimate child can be born is through a legitimate union. When that occurs in Christ, then spiritually legitimate children come about.

This is why the woman’s grain offering was waived and presented before she drank the bitter water. She has claimed that she has been faithful, and that her offering is acceptable. However, only the Lord can determine that. Once that was accomplished, only then did she drink the bitter water.

If you’re not getting what is being relayed, as a real example to consider, we can look at the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They are supposedly a faithful wife to the Lord. But there is the suspicion of jealousy. And so she is presented as an unfaithful wife who continues to claim having been faithful. Ask any Jehovah’s Witness if this is the case, and they will claim they are the epitome of faithfulness. And yet, they have played the harlot and been completely unfaithful in their doctrine. They will be given the bitter water, but before they do, they will present their offering. Is their offering Christ? No, and so when they are given the bitter water, they be shown as an unfaithful wife. They will be unable to conceive children. And, in fact, they have borne none. The same test will be given to all.

The standard is Christ. The barley, the water, the earthen vessel, the words of law – all of it points to the Man, Jesus who is either the Bringer of our curse, or our exoneration from the curse. There is one standard. The priest could not make up another punishment as he chose. The punishment for being a faithless wife is bearing no children because the place where children issue from has been used for unfaithful purposes. Christ is the head of man, just as the head of woman is man. The hair of the wife will be loosed before the Lord and there will be an intimate awareness of the wife at that time.

That hair may be shorter or longer; curly or straight; brown, black, red, or gray; but it will be revealed. If the doctrine isn’t great, but the wife has been faithful to Christ, that will be revealed. If the doctrine is pure, that will be revealed. But if there has been an unfaithfulness to Christ, that will be revealed as well. No children will come from that source. The bitter water’s effect will be profound when none come forth as legitimate children.

The obvious question is, “From where do you receive your instruction?” The Lord has established His church, and He expects it to bear legitimate sons and daughters. But this cannot be when we participate in what is unclean. Will the wife remain faithful and bear sons and daughters for the Lord? Or will she be unfaithful and be unable to conceive? A man of Israel could have more than one wife. There are many churches and even entire denominations which refuse to admit their adultery. They will be tested, and they will be proven false. Unfortunately, those who have dwelt within the womb of such adulterous women will never be conceived as children of God. The earthly wife of Israel had expectations levied upon her which translate into spiritual expectations within the church. We must take heed to ourselves and our doctrine, and ensure that what we accept is founded in the truth of Jesus Christ, and in that alone. In the end, it is all about what God has done, and is doing, through Him. And so we need to be sure that the gospel we accept is the gospel founded on Christ. A different gospel is no gospel at all. And what is that saving message which so many unfaithful women refuse to acknowledge, instead going after another? Well, let me explain it to you.

Closing Verse: “Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.”
18 “I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:17, 18

Next Week: Numbers 6:1-27 What is the Nazirite to do? There is no need for guessing… (Separation and Blessing) (11th Numbers Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. It may seem at times as if you are lost in a desert, wandering aimlessly. But the Lord is there, carefully leading you to the Land of Promise. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

The Holy Polygraph

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying
Speak to the children of Israel
And say to them:
These words to them you shall tell

If any man’s wife goes astray
And behaves unfaithfully toward him
And a man lies with her carnally
And it is hidden from the eyes of her husband
———-a situation quite grim

And it is concealed that she has defiled herself
And there was no witness against her, nor was she caught—
If the spirit of jealousy comes upon him
And he becomes jealous of his wife, who has defiled herself
———-as she ought not

Or if the spirit of jealousy comes upon him
And he becomes jealous of his wife
Although she has not defiled herself—
But has remained faithful in her married life

Then the man shall bring his wife to the priest
He shall bring the offering required for her, so to you I submit
One-tenth of an ephah of barley meal
He shall pour no oil on it and put no frankincense on it

Because it is a grain offering of jealousy
An offering for remembering
For bringing iniquity to remembrance
Is what is to be done with this thing

And the priest shall bring her near according to this word
And set her before the Lord 

The priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel
And take some of the dust
That is on the floor of the tabernacle
And put it into the water, this part is a must 

Then the priest shall stand the woman before the Lord
Uncover the woman’s head; so shall it be
And put the offering for remembering in her hands
Which is the grain offering of jealousy

And the priest shall have in his hand
The bitter water that brings a curse
———-so we are to understand

And the priest shall put her under oath
And say to the woman, “If no man has lain with you
———-something so perverse
And if you have not gone astray to uncleanness
———-while under your husband’s authority
Be free from this bitter water that brings a curse 

But if you have gone astray
While under your husband’s authority
And if you have defiled yourself
And some man other than your husband has lain with you
———-such as should not be— 

Then the priest shall put the woman under the oath of the curse
And he shall say to the woman; so to her he shall tell—
The Lord make you a curse and an oath among your people
When the Lord makes your thigh rot and your belly swell 

And may this water that causes the curse
Go into your stomach, as to you I now submit
And make your belly swell and your thigh rot
Then the woman shall say, “Amen, so be it

Then the priest shall these curses in a book write
And he shall scrape them off into the bitter water
———-the words that will determine her plight

And he shall make the woman drink
The bitter water that brings a curse
And the water that brings the curse
Shall enter her to become bitter
———-according to this written verse 

Then the priest shall take
The grain offering of jealousy from the woman’s hand
Shall wave the offering before the Lord
And bring it to the altar; so we are to understand 

And the priest shall take a handful of the offering
As its memorial portion, so he shall do
Burn it on the altar
And afterward make the woman drink the water
———-as I am instructing you 

When he has made her drink the water
Then it shall be, if she has defiled herself
———-like a bird she did flitter
And behaved unfaithfully toward her husband
That the water that brings a curse will enter her and become bitter

And her belly will swell, her thigh will rot
———-a fate grim and glum
And the woman will a curse among her people become

But if the woman has not defiled herself, and is clean
Then she shall be free and may conceive children
———-a happy family will be seen

This is the law of jealousy
———-When a wife, while under her husband’s authority
Goes astray and defiles herself in a faithless life
Or when the spirit of jealousy comes upon a man
And he becomes jealous of his wife

Then he shall stand the woman before the Lord
And the priest shall execute all this law upon her
Then the man shall be free from iniquity
But that woman shall bear her guilt for sure

Lord God, we are even now in a wilderness
And we are wanting to be led by You
Without You to direct, our lives would be a mess
And so be our guide, O God; You who are faithful and true

We long for the water in this barren land
May it flow forth from the Rock, our souls to satisfy
Give us this refreshing, spiritual hand
And may we take it, and to our lives daily it apply

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to you for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

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