Awesome Hands – Part 125: “The spirit of Jealousy”

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Awesome Hands – part 125

The spirit of Jealousy

November 22, 2017

Our study today finds us with a topic that all can relate to. By the end of this study, I hope we can all appreciate the love the Lord has for us considering we have all been “an adulterous wife and an adulterous generation” in our own time.

Also, the initial thoughts that can come into play with this chapter are something along the lines of “why is the wife addressed here and not the man?”. We will cover some of these details within the study.

The verses for consideration today are found in Numbers 5.

Numbers 5:18  And the priest shall set the woman before the LORD, and uncover the woman's head, and put the offering of memorial in her hands, which is the jealousy offering: and the priest shall have in his hand the bitter water that causeth the curse:

Numbers 5:25  Then the priest shall take the jealousy offering out of the woman's hand, and shall wave the offering before the LORD, and offer it upon the altar:

These verses alone only offer a glimpse of what the Lord has shown us in this chapter. Expanding past this chapter, I hope we can read some additional verses to help is learn how the lessons in this chapter can help us today as Christians.

Given the verses above, I want to read them in their context so that we can gain a clearer picture of what is happening in these verses.

Remember, if you commit adultery in the old testament law, the penalty was death.

Leviticus 20:10  And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

The fact that we have the procedure we are about to read, indicates that there is “more than meets the eye” since the wife in this scenario has not been CAUGHT in the act.

Numbers 5:11  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Numbers 5:12  Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man's wife go aside, and commit a trespass against him,
Numbers 5:13  And a man lie with her carnally, and it be hid from the eyes of her husband, and be kept close, and she be defiled, and there be no witness against her, neither she be taken with the manner;
Numbers 5:14  And the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be defiled: or if the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be not defiled:

Notice, in either case of a man being jealous, whether or not she is known to have committed adultery, this is the procedure that is prescribed for the husband, wife and priest.

Numbers 5:15  Then shall the man bring his wife unto the priest, and he shall bring her offering for her, the tenth part of an ephah of barley meal; he shall pour no oil upon it, nor put frankincense thereon; for it is an offering of jealousy, an offering of memorial, bringing iniquity to remembrance.

The fact that this situation was being brought before the priest is a testament as to why barley meal was being used instead of the normal fine grained wheat powder that was normally used.

Barley meal was worth half as much as fine wheat.

2 Kings 7:1  Then Elisha said, Hear ye the word of the LORD; Thus saith the LORD, To morrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria.

Barley cakes/loaves were also fed to the poor. The poor were not highly looked upon, similar to this situation being brought before the priests.

John 6:9  There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?

The woman is not yet condemned or found guilty, because if she was found guilty, then she couldn’t have been making any offerings what so ever. However, needing to go before the priest to “prove” herself to her husband via the miraculous happenings that occur through this process, would have caused quite the stir within the home and family unit.

Numbers 5:16  And the priest shall bring her near, and set her before the LORD:
Numbers 5:17  And the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel; and of the dust that is in the floor of the tabernacle the priest shall take, and put it into the water:

I searched for any other mentioning of the floor of the tabernacle being mentioned and I can’t find any other references to its use. This is the sole use of the floor of the tabernacle other than it’s obvious one which is to be walked upon.

A significant parallel can be seen in knowing the we are dust and to dust we shall return, and the serpent was cursed to eat dust.

Genesis 3:19  In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Genesis 3:14  And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

Isaiah 65:25  The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.

Now, we have the dust of the floor mixed with the holy water which shows us a spiritual connection to the temple we are, being connected to, the flesh that covers it.

Numbers 5:18  And the priest shall set the woman before the LORD, and uncover the woman's head, and put the offering of memorial in her hands, which is the jealousy offering: and the priest shall have in his hand the bitter water that causeth the curse:
Numbers 5:19  And the priest shall charge her by an oath, and say unto the woman, If no man have lain with thee, and if thou hast not gone aside to uncleanness with another instead of thy husband, be thou free from this bitter water that causeth the curse:
Numbers 5:20  But if thou hast gone aside to another instead of thy husband, and if thou be defiled, and some man have lain with thee beside thine husband:
Numbers 5:21  Then the priest shall charge the woman with an oath of cursing, and the priest shall say unto the woman, The LORD make thee a curse and an oath among thy people, when the LORD doth make thy thigh to rot, and thy belly to swell;
Numbers 5:22  And this water that causeth the curse shall go into thy bowels, to make thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to rot: And the woman shall say, Amen, amen.

The oath being given is being agreed to by the wife before she takes the bitter water and drinks it. The water itself was not bitter as we normally think of something being bitter, but the fact of this whole situation needs to be dealt with, is a bitter ordeal indeed.

The wife must commit herself to this “oath of cursing” which would have been quite a thing to proclaim before God. The priest and the husband have no way to know if adultery has happened, so the result of drinking this water would either show guilt or innocence.

There must also be some belief on the part of all involved. Remember, divorce was allowed in the law, but this would be a very bold thing for a woman to do if she in fact were guilty. Naturally, just the drinking of the water would be an act of proclaiming yourself innocent because the woman is taking the oath of a curse if she is found guilty by God.

Having “your sin” mixed with water and then drinking it was something that was not to be taken lightly as can be seen with the golden calf and Israel.

Exodus 32:20  And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it.
Exodus 32:21  And Moses said unto Aaron, What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them?

This whole event brought a plague upon Israel.

Exodus 32:35  And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.

So, for the wife to take on the oath of a curse, if she were indeed secretly guilty, would be a very bad thing for her indeed. Her belly would swell and her thigh would rot, and most likely her husband would have kicked her to the curb. Not good. Additionally, she has to say “amen, amen” and if she didn’t then guilt would be presumed.

Before we get to down on the husband for not believing his wife and bringing her before the priest, let us remember that the man could not even covet his neighbors wife without sinning. It was a commandment!

Exodus 20:17  Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.
Exodus 20:18  And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.
Exodus 20:19  And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.

Hebrews 13:5  Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Time to drink up! I don’t know about you all, but I find this whole scenario very intense!

Numbers 5:23  And the priest shall write these curses in a book, and he shall blot them out with the bitter water:
Numbers 5:24  And he shall cause the woman to drink the bitter water that causeth the curse: and the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter.
Numbers 5:25  Then the priest shall take the jealousy offering out of the woman's hand, and shall wave the offering before the LORD, and offer it upon the altar:
Numbers 5:26  And the priest shall take an handful of the offering, even the memorial thereof, and burn it upon the altar, and afterward shall cause the woman to drink the water.

The wife drinks the water and it is bitter in her belly. An offering is made and the woman takes this judgment into her.

Numbers 5:27  And when he hath made her to drink the water, then it shall come to pass, that, if she be defiled, and have done trespass against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse among her people.
Numbers 5:28  And if the woman be not defiled, but be clean; then she shall be free, and shall conceive seed.
Numbers 5:29  This is the law of jealousies, when a wife goeth aside to another instead of her husband, and is defiled;
Numbers 5:30  Or when the spirit of jealousy cometh upon him, and he be jealous over his wife, and shall set the woman before the LORD, and the priest shall execute upon her all this law.
Numbers 5:31  Then shall the man be guiltless from iniquity, and this woman shall bear her iniquity.

What we can take away from this is that jealousy does happen. When it does, there needs to be away to deal with the situation.

We do not have priests today that can perform these procedures in order to prove a woman innocent or guilty. Even if we did, a guilty woman probably wouldn’t want her thigh to rot and belly to swell for the rest of her life, and an innocent woman would most likely find great offense in not being trusted.

Equally of note, a man becoming jealous is not a sin in and of itself. In fact, we, men and women, are permitted to become angry but to not sin in doing so. There are certainly things that will cause us to become angry in life and with our spouses. How we handle that anger is really what we need to figure out before we actually become angry.

Note, our God is a jealous God and He is the Husband in the scenario.

Exodus 34:14  For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:

Deuteronomy 6:15  (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.

Joshua 24:19  And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the LORD: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.

It is very important today to have trust in a relationship. In fact, it is a foundational stone that relationships are built upon. Without trust, your home, family and relationships with struggle tremendously.

I have personally lived in such a home and eventually my parents divorced. This isn’t blaming anything on my parents, but it is simply acknowledging the turmoil that happens due to a lack of trust that comes from adulterous spouses.

Given what we have read so far, how do we generally deal with this topic in our world today?

I hearken back to the “adulterous woman” that Jesus dealt with. I know this is a familiar story, but it fits perfectly with this study today.

Proverbs 30:20  Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness.

John 8:1  Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.
John 8:2  And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
John 8:3  And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
John 8:4  They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.

This scenario is slightly different because this woman was actually caught in the act; whereas, the woman described in our study today in Numbers 5 has NOT been caught.

However, it is really important to note how Jesus looks upon a GUILTY woman. This will give us indications on how we should also treat none guilty or simply accused spouses where there is no proof.

John 8:5  Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
John 8:6  This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
John 8:7  So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
John 8:8  And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
John 8:9  And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
John 8:10  When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
John 8:11  She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

Jesus’ answer was not to cast a stone at her. In fact, He goes a step further and asks her accusers to look at themselves first, THEN convict her of her crime. Where then are her accusers?

When we know, in ourselves, that God knows the sins we have committed, it is MUCH EASIER to show others mercy knowing that we ourselves have been shown mercy.

The one thing that Jesus tells us is permitted for divorce, as far as being a “cut and dry” scenario, is fornication/adultery.

Matthew 5:31  It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:
Matthew 5:32  But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

Matthew 19:8  He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
Matthew 19:9  And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

“Except it be for fornication,” tells us just how serious this is to God the Father. Even then, knowing that we all fornicate against our “Husband”, what does He do in action in forgiving us our sins?

Matthew 19:10  His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.
Matthew 19:11  But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.

Flee fornication.

1 Corinthians 6:17  But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.
1 Corinthians 6:18  Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
1 Corinthians 6:19  What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

Revelation 2:14  But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

Revelation 2:20  Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.
Revelation 2:21  And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.

Just as was with the start of Jesus’ ministry, true Godly repentance, asked for from God and given by God, is what is needed. Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.

Romans 8:38  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Romans 8:39  Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We must all do our part as Christians to make sure that jealously does not cloud or judgment of the situations we must deal with, but when situations do arise, we must also be willing to examine everything to know what has and is happening.

In addition to all of this, I believe it is the calling of us all, where we are given the heart and strength to do so, to forgive those that repent of their actions that cause jealousy to come about, and then do not do it again.

For those of us who have the spirit of jealousy come upon us, we must ask God to guide and direct us in all things so that this jealousy does not get out of control and cause us to sin.



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