in the midst of your camp

Today's devotion from Deuteronomy 23.

In Israelite culture, vows were important and marriage was truly supposed to last a lifetime. While marriage may look different today, is it really any better? People talk about how they couldn't imagine marrying with love, but then are divorcing at insane rates. This is because they view love as some cosmic mythic force instead of a choice and commitment. Maybe the issue is our definitions of these words and ideas?

However, it looks like our reading derails when it talks about cleanliness in the encampments of battle. I mean, the people are supposed to be fighting for their lives, but here the Bible is telling them to prioritize both spiritual and physical cleanliness. What's up with that?

Besides just being incredibly practical (sometime study the outbreaks of disease in Civil War encampments because men were defecating in water upstream from their camps), the idea was that the people were to live as though God were in the midst of their camp. This is the main point of much of the law in the Old Testament.

The reasons for many of the "odd" practices mentioned in Scripture is because these people were set aside by God for His own purpose. While He was sovereign over all things, ever-present in all places, and fully knowledgeable of every thought and act in creation, He specifically chose to walk among this people. Therefore their actions in the home, in business dealings, or even in the battle encampment is to reflect that He is among them and they are His people.

This is why unbelievers will never understand believers. Unbelievers can be moral. They can be dedicated to an ethical standard. They can and will live in accordance with their accepted and integrated worldview. They can live in the academic awareness that God is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent, but they cannot fully comprehend the dynamic power of God's presence in the midst of the camp. They just can't come to terms with God in the home or God's presence in the business deal. There is an absolute difference between an abstract and theoretical knowledge that God is here and the ability to intimately feel His actual presence.

Today, no matter what you find yourself doing, do it with the full knowledge and awareness that God is with you. Feel His presence, and respond accordingly.