Numbers 5

The Cup

 In the first few chapters of Numbers we see the people are being organized by God. In Chapters 3&4 we see the jobs in regards to the care and transport of the Tabernacle have been assigned to the clans of Levites and the instructions are very specific. Then, out of the blue comes Chapter 5 and we are now focused on the test given to a wife that is suspected of being unfaithful to her husband. Where did this come from? It doesn’t seem to fit into the context of what was in the previous chapters, nor does it seem to fit with the chapters to come. Or does it? I believe it does.

 The Old Testament uses physical pictures to help us understand spiritual principles. We have been talking about the larger nation of people not an individual. We have seen various tasks assigned to the tribes and Levites who are serving the Lord.  We know that the covenant made by the people with God is like that of a marriage. God has proposed, Israel has accepted and become the wife of God. The question then is, will Israel, or the Church (The bride of Christ) for that matter, be faithful to the covenant she has made with God?

 I believe this cup is the cup of faithfulness.  It is an event, or series of difficult events which God allows to prove our faithfulness. We do not see this specific test ever given in scripture but there are many verses in the Bible that speak about the cup. It would seem no one is immune from the cup. Not even Jesus, His disciples, or the church.

 I believe this chapter was placed here as a warning to Israel and us that serving the Lord is serious business. The chapters that follow deal with the Nazirite vow to commit one’s life to the service of the Lord, Chapter 6. The offerings committed to the Lord by the leaders of the tribes, Chapter 7. The setup of the tabernacle and the service of the priest in regards to the Tabernacle, Chapter 8, and the worship of the people in Chapter 9. It is the cup that will prove if one’s commitment is faithful or fake.  

 So, in order for us to get a better understanding of the cup of faithfulness, here are some verses where the cup is used and, yup, this looks a lot like homework.

 Psalm 75:8; Isaiah 51:22; Jeremiah 8:14, 25:15, 49:12;

Lamentations 4:21; Zechariah 12:1&12; Matthew 20:22, 26:39; John 18:11; 1Corinthians 12:13; Revelation 14:10, 16:18.

 It appears to me from scripture that Judas drank from the Cup of Communion just before he went out to betray the Lord. Acts 1:18 gives us the result of his wickedness.

 The Apostle Paul gives us a stern warning regarding our partaking of the Lord's Supper and the Cup of Communion in 1 Corinthians 11:17-34. I encourage you today to make time to study these verses and apply them.


Keep the Faith!

Pastor Dave