Also you shall have a place outside the camp, where you may go out; and you shall have an implement among your equipment, and when you sit down outside, you shall dig with it and turn and cover your refuse. For the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you and give your enemies over to you; therefore your camp shall be holy, that He may see no unclean thing among you, and turn away from you. Deuteronomy 23:12-14
When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go
There are critical issues being addressed in this seemingly insignificant passage. The first revolves around the matter of privacy and/or those things we do that we think God knows nothing about. God knows. What better way to drive that fact home by His addressing this particular subject. Our God is omniscient–all knowing, omnipotent–all powerful, and like it or not, omnipresent–always in attendance. The biblical application is not that we merely cover-over the refuse of our lives, but we bury it as if it were worthless and as if it were dead.
It is in our gratitude and reverence of Him we clean-up after ourselves, reckoning our old man dead and buried. He is in our midst; therefore we should not subject Him to an untidy home, filthy language, and/or inappropriate television programming. And that’s just the short list. If our Lord is concerned with our basest functions (and He is), is it not safe to assume He cares deeply about purity in all these other areas of our lives.
But it Doesn’t Make Any Sense
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways, ” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
To the Jews of this day, the idea of going outside the camp in order to do one’s business, and then burying it, was ludicrous. Today, we see the wisdom, but to Israel [then] it made no sense whatsoever. This passage demonstrates, as do so many others, that although we may not understand the reasoning behind our Father’s mandates, it is still a wise thing to execute them.
Consider for example the mom signaling her child from the road because she sees the truck barreling closer. She perceives the eminent danger, but in the time it might take to explain the circumstances, the child would be exposed to a great danger. Similarly, and with greatest accuracy, God sees down a much bigger road and the dangers that loom ahead for all humanity. God provides direction that may seem illogical in the present, but will be proved righteous in the passing of all time. Sometimes, God does take the time to explain, but when He does not we must trust His counsel.
Who is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? Let him know them. For the ways of the Lord are right; The righteous walk in them, But transgressors stumble in them. Hosea 14:9