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The Test of Adultery and Jealousy- Numbers 5

Scripture - Numbers 5

Observation - Verses 29-31

29 ‘This is the law of jealousy: when a wife, being under the authority of her husband, goes astray and defiles herself, 30 or when a spirit of jealousy comes over a man and he is jealous of his wife, he shall then make the woman stand before the Lord, and the priest shall apply all this law to her. 31 Moreover, the man will be free from guilt, but that woman shall bear her guilt.’”

These last verses of Numbers 5 summarize most of the chapter, but to understand today's devotional you really need to read the entire chapter, or else it makes little sense.

This chapter is extremely foreign to our modern way of thinking, to the point that we probably are going to have more questions about it than answers. But it is God's word, and I believe all of it is applicable in some way, and all of it points to Jesus.

What I notice in this chapter is that although sin can be hidden from people, it cannot be hidden from God, and jealousy is a very dangerous and degrading force when misapplied.

The chapter is about a woman who is believed to have committed adultery, but without any proof. The Bible repeats often that nobody can be convicted of a crime unless there are two or more witnesses.

This begs a question: What if you have a strong hunch that someone did commit a crime, but can't prove it?

In general the Bible says these cases are not cases at all. If you don't have two witnesses, then it is a dead end. But God's standards for marriage and fidelity are so high that there is another option, described here, specifically regarding fidelity in marriage.

The priest basically sweeps the floor and dumps the dust into a pitcher of water. He writes down curses and puts them in the water. The woman has to drink it. If she gets sick from it she was guilty, and if she doesn't she is a innocent. It is implied that God alone will determine whether she gets sick or not, because God alone knows. The water will taste nasty, but it won't make her sick if she is innocent. So she has nothing truly to fear.

The husband, on the other hand, gets seriously embarrassed if he makes his wife drink the nasty water innocently, and he is vindicated if his jealous hunch was correct.

Observation - I can hide my sin from other people, and perhaps get away with it, but I cannot hide from God, and it is foolishness to try. Sin will always be found out, because nothing is hidden from God.


Am I living my life to please God? Or am I living my life to please someone else. Am I avoiding sin because I don't want to get caught? Or am I avoiding sin because I am serving a master I love, who knows all? Am I thinking of things I can get away with? Or am I thinking of ways to "do everything as to the Lord?" (Colossians 2:23.) If I am thinking of God I won't be in a position of trying to get away with something. It is useless to hide sin from God.


God forgive me for often living my life as though I am serving myself, or someone else. I am accountable to you first, and everyone else is a distant second. Thank you that you see all things and cannot be deceived.


Jesus was truly sinless, yet he took the curse that I deserve, the full punishment of guilt that he did not deserve.

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