Numbers 35:34 “Do not defile the land where you live and where I dwell, for I, the LORD, dwell among the Israelites.”
In this chapter we read of the laws God established for the sin and crime of murder and what God defined as a murderer. The bottom line came down to this: the murderer was to be put to death at the hands of the avenger of blood whomever that might have been. God also told Israel not to pollute the land because bloodshed pollutes the land, and the only way to rid the land of the pollution was the shedding of the murderer’s blood. There were other ways to defile the land—disobedience to God regardless of what “law” was broken.
Notice the seriousness of God’s Word to the Hebrews: “Don’t’ defile the land where you…and…I live.” He dwelled among the Hebrews as their God, the LORD. Wherever God was (and now is) was a holy place, as He told Moses when speaking to him from the burning bush. Wherever the Hebrews dwelled was holy because God was holy and lived there also.
Now let’s look at this idea through a modern lens. Paul asked us the question, “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?” When we are converted, God’s Spirit takes us residence within us. IF we truly believe that God is triune: Father, Son, and Spirit, as the Shema states, “The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” THEN God dwells in us, the temple of God not made with human hands.
If it was so imperative to the Hebrews not to defile the land where they lived because God lived there with them, how much more should we not defile ourselves, “…the land where…I dwell, for I, the LORD, dwell among…”and in my people! God is holy, so we are to be holy! We are not to defile ourselves with sin, as the Hebrews were not to defile themselves with sin. Although we may not live under the Mosaic Code, we are to still obey God not out of coercion as under the Law but out of love as Jesus said, “IF you love Me, keep My commandments.”
Father, I am deeply moved by Your Word today. The message is clear and straight to the point for me, and it should be for all those who declare themselves to be Your children. The world will not understand this message because the prince of this age blinds their minds to the Truth. However, I understand via Your Spirit that sin defiles me no differently than it did ancient Hebrews. You desire to live in a holy, consecrated place that is undefiled. You told us that what comes out of a man’s mouth is what defiles him. Help me to guard every word I speak and thus reduce and eventually eliminate the possibility of defiling this living, earthen temple. I will never be without sin in this life, but I work at it with the empowerment of Your Spirit to be as holy as You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.