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Good Morning.

Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: “If any man’s wife goes astray and behaves unfaithfully toward him … if the spirit of jealousy comes upon him and he becomes jealous of his wife, who has defiled herself; or if the spirit of jealousy comes upon him and he becomes jealous of his wife, although she has not defiled herself— then the man shall bring his wife to the priest.” (Numbers 5:12, 14-15)

Some refer to what is described in these passages as the test of bitter waters. In Judaism it is most often referred to as the “Ordeal of Jealousy.” The purpose of this ritual was to remove suspicion of unfaithfulness from midst of Israel — a sin that works to destroy the very foundation of social and moral order. When doubt arose, it sometimes became necessary to discover the truth whether it was to expose guilt or innocence. In fact, it seems to me that the latter may be just as important, if not more important, than the former. In other words, perhaps this ordinance was not engineered solely to expose someone’s unfaithfulness as much as it was to reveal someone’s faithfulness.

The Bible is full of examples of those who have had to endure ordeals even though they weren’t guilty of anything. The first one that comes to mind is Job; a man who feared God and shunned evil. Nevertheless, he was subjected to an ordeal that taxed him to the very limit. Still, in spite of all, he held fast to his faith and was, in the end, proven to be faithful. The congregation of Philadelphia also comes to mind: they were described as “having little strength,” insinuating that they had been put to the test but, nevertheless, had kept God’s Word and had “not denied my name,” meaning that, in spite of their ordeals, they were proven to be faithful.

So then, if we find that we have been going through an ordeal — one that pushes us to the very limits of our faith and confidence, hang on. It might be that, in addition to purging imperfections from you, God is wanting your faithfulness to be exhibited for all to see so that, in you and through you, He is glorified.

Blessings and Shalom,  




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