Numbers 8:7 “To purify them, do this: sprinkle the water of cleansing on them…”
In the book of Numbers we have detailed accounts of the events that transpired in ancient Israel as they wandered the Sinai Desert through the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy. One of the things that sticks out among all of these historical accounts is this passage about the purification of the Levites for service to God. Moses received instruction from God to purify his relatives for godly service, not priestly service, by sprinkling them with the water of cleansing.
For us modern day, NT believers, we may have (and should be familiar with) heard a passage of Scripture that sounds similar. In fact it is the very verse from which the name of this daily devotion site gets is name Washed by Water Through the Word. The NT verse is Ephesians 5:26, “to make her [the bride of Christ – us believers] holy, cleansing her [us] by the washing with water through the word…”
Paul may have been referring to our OT passage from Numbers 8:7 when he spoke about Jesus preparing us, as the body of believers, to be his bride and making us holy. When we review the case of the Levites, the OT tells us that they were purified to be able to do the work required to move the Tabernacle from place to place whenever God’s Spirit decided to lead on. God forbade these Levites from touching the holy articles used inside the Tabernacle, but they were responsible for transporting all of the curtains, bases, beams, and all equipment except the holy articles, which we carried on their poles by the priests. The Levites were still required to be made holy before handling the Tabernacle items and done so through “the washing with water.”
God still requires his people to be holy today. Peter reminds us in his 1st letter, “He who has called you is holy, so you be holy in all manner of conversation because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:15-16). The way we become holy is by allowing Jesus to cleanse us from all the wrong in our lives by studying his Word, by studying Him. When we read God’s Word, it removes all of the impurity in us like water washing away stains on clothes when detergent is applied to the load. The Word of God is spiritual soap that scrubs us clean from the stains left by sin. When Jesus died on the cross, his blood served as a spiritual detergent. It takes the stain fighting power of the blood of Jesus, the Word of God, to make us bright and new again. If we read the Bible but don’t apply the truths in it to our lives, we are dirty clothes washed in water without soap. We get wet, but there is no cleaning process going on.
Dive into the Word of God and let the spiritual cleansing of Jesus’ blood and truth soak you to the core of your being, so that when you come out of the ringer and hung out to dry, you are sin-stain free. You will be made white as snow.
Father, thank you for sending Jesus to die on the cross and shed his blood to clean away the dirty stain left in me by sin. Your grace is awesome in that if I sin, I can bathe in the fountain of life through your forgiveness and come out unstained. You truly are magnificent to foresee the condition of men’s hearts and knew we would fail you again and again, yet you continually provide a way to let us escape the death sentence we are due. It is encouraging and uplifting to know that your Word washes me whole and makes me holy in order that I may serve you in your house and share the love of my God with others. I feel like an OT Levite sanctified and made holy for your work set before me. Lead me in all truth and teach me how to be holy, as you are holy. In Jesus’ name, Amen.