For the Lord thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee. — Deuteronomy 23:14
Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas produced by incomplete combustion. It is particularly dangerous because it cannot be seen, smelled, or tasted. When a person inhales excessive amounts of smoke, automobile exhaust, or fumes from poorly ventilated charcoal or gas stoves, carbon monoxide poisoning occurs. The severity of the poisoning depends upon the duration of exposure and the concentration of carbon monoxide in the air. Mild exposure may produce a headache and shortness of breath. Somewhat higher concentrations can cause severe headaches, dizziness, weakness, extreme shortness of breath, and nausea. Greater and/or more prolonged exposure can result in coma, seizures, permanent organ and brain damage, and even death.
Purity of air quality is vital to our physical health. How much more important it is to maintain a spiritually pure environment, allowing no taint of “poison” to contaminate it! In today’s text, it is made clear that purity and holiness were to mark the Lord’s community; the camp of the Lord could have nothing offensive in it. This law of cleanliness teaches us the high value God puts on purity. The filthiness of sin is obnoxious and defiling to God’s people, although, like carbon monoxide, it may be subtle and almost “unnoticeable” at times.
One example of this might be parents who discuss “people problems” and challenges in the presence of their children, unaware that they are slowly poisoning their little ones. The first time the children hear negative attitudes or thoughts expressed, they may forget what was said. The second time, there may still be little impression. However, as negative words continue, there is an accumulative affect, and life long harm to the children’s respect for their church may be the result. Those words may even have a fatal effect on their spirituality.
The first steps in curing carbon monoxide poisoning are the removal of the cause and then the substitution of 100% pure oxygen for the contaminated air. The cure for impure or contaminating influences in the spiritual realm is the immediate removal of those influences, and the substitution of the pure truth and obedience to God’s Word.
How is your environment? Are you guarding against any possible contamination? Ask for God’s help in maintaining the purity that He requires!
The laws given to Israel were for the preserving of moral, ethical, and physical purity so that the people could maintain a relationship with a holy God. They were to preserve the purity and honor of the camp by excluding what would be a disgrace to them.
Israel was now encamped and this vast army was ready to enter the Promised Land and settle down as a nation. They were given particular directions for the good of the whole congregation. The charge to them was to be “clean,” and this meant they must take care to keep their camp pure from moral, ceremonial, and natural pollution.
The soldiers were charged to avoid sin when they were encamped away from home. The basic principles were the same as when they were back with their families, because the Lord was with them even on the battlefield. In executing their commission, they were to refrain from malice, covetousness, or uncleanness. They were to keep themselves from idols, or accursed things they found in the camps they plundered. Even those who stayed at home were to keep from every wicked thing, lest by sin they provoke God to withdraw His presence from them.
Instructions for the holiness of the assembly and the camp were dictated by the presence of God in Israel’s midst. The people were taught both to fortify themselves against sin and to encourage themselves against their enemies by trusting in God’s holy presence. The “assembly of the Lord” refers to the people of God gathered in His presence for worship.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The second discourse: exposition of the Law
C. The exposition of the principle laws of Israel
3. Social legislation
f. Laws concerning personal or family morality
(2) Concerning exclusion from the assembly (23:1-8)
(a) Those excluded (23:1-6)
 The eunuch (23:1)
 The illegitimate (23:2)
 The Ammonite or Moabite (23:3-6)
(b) Those included (23:7-8)
(3) Concerning the cleanness of the camp (23:9-13)
(4) Concerning the treatment of runaway slaves (23:14-16)
(5) Concerning the treatment of prostitutes (23:17-18)
(6) Concerning interest on loans (23:19-20)
(7) Concerning vows (23:21-23)
(8) Concerning a neighbor’s fields (23:24-25)
(9) Concerning remarriage after divorce to the same individual (24:1-4)
(10) Concerning military exemption of a newly-married (24:5)
g. Laws concerning economic and social injustice
(1) Concerning a wrong pledge (24:6)
(2) Concerning kidnapping (24:7)
(3) Concerning leprosy (24:8-9)
(4) Concerning pledges from the poor (24:10-13)
(5) Concerning hired servants (24:14-15)
(6) Concerning responsibility for criminal action (24:16)
(7) Concerning justice toward the helpless (24:17-18)
(8) Concerning care for the helpless (24:19-22)
Sinful behavior should never be regarded as a harmless or temporary dabbling in forbidden pleasure. It has consequences! Ask for God’s help in maintaining a spiritually pure environment.