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For the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you and give your enemies over to you; therefore your camp shall be holy, that He may see no unclean thing among you, and turn away from you. (Deuteronomy 23:14)

As I have said before, God doesn’t skip over the mundane and uncomfortable when it comes to instructing us about what is acceptable and what is not. For instance, in the verses preceding this one, God instructed Moses to address the need for cleanliness and sanitation within the camp of Israel. Needless to say, with a community of 2 – 3 million people, proper hygiene and adequate sanitation would be a very important issue in the camp. That is not something anyone would want to ignore because things could get out of hand very quickly. Even so, the primary issue addressed in relation to this is the fact that “God walks in the midst of your camp,” and therefore, it must be kept clean and holy. He doesn’t want to see any “unclean thing among you.”

In Hebrew, that phrase — “no unclean thing among you” — could be rendered as “the nakedness of anything.” In other words, as He walks among the camp, He doesn’t want to see anything that would bring shame on someone. Obviously the use of the word “unclean” in this verse is speaking of hygienic issues, nevertheless, the verse hints that nothing unclean of any type should be among the people of God because, from the beginning, uncleanness that results in shame is connected to disobedience. When God walked in the garden calling for Adam, the man hid himself because he was naked and ashamed.

In Hebrew, the word translated as “naked” is related to the word that describes the serpent as being “cunning, crafty.” My point is, when man disobeyed God, he exhibited traits that are associated with the serpent, who is the Adversary. As a result, when in the presence of God, the man and his wife were overcome with shame. As we know, there were grave consequences for this misdeed, however, there was compassion as well — God clothed the man and the woman with the skins of animals. But there is more to it than that: the word translated as “clothed” is related to the Hebrew word for “shame.” In other words, when God clothed them, He covered their shame.

We’ve all been presented with this scenario at one point or another: if God came to your house unexpectedly, would He find anything that would embarrass you and cause you to feel shame? If so, that “thing” is probably connected to disobedience in some way. Thankfully, we have a recourse for our mistakes; Messiah, the One who was stripped bare to suffer the shame that was our due, clothes us with His righteousness. Still, it is our duty to respect and honor Him and His sacrifice by removing any unclean thing from our camp.

Blessings and Shalom,  




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