The camp must be holy, for the LORD your God moves around in your camp to protect you and to defeat your enemies.
He must not see any shameful thing among you, or he might turn away from you.
While my husband and I were engaged, there were a couple of wedding planning events that we had so much fun doing, we planned to continue doing them on a regular basis after the wedding. One of those events was the cake tasting.
The first place we went to was so outstanding that I can still practically taste it today. The entire experience was out of this world. The air had that perfect butter cookie scent – a subtle, soft hint rather than an overwhelming blanket. The sounds present had the anticipation of a Thanksgiving dinner preparation with the peace of mid-morning coffee house. They left us alone as we sampled four different options. They wrapped up our time together in confidence and a cup of coffee rather than the pressure and desperation of a verdict.
The second place we tried was the opposite of this experience in every possible way. The tasting was at the baker’s home, which also housed a small zoo. There wasn’t a square inch that didn’t have evidence of dogs or cats. She quickly ushered us into the dining room area and pelted us with questions as she then rushed out of the room and down to the basement leaving us quizzical and alone with her animals. She came back up and handed us a top-hat sized cake saying “I don’t know what your thoughts were on style or type but this is MY favorite! It’s a chocolate chip cake with a butterscotch filling.” She then regaled us with tales of the past 24 hours with her vomiting cats as we flipped through her books of her past masterpieces. After a while, she sent us on our way with the small cake advising us to take it home, try it and get back to her.
Guess which baking agency we were NOT considering. Amidst all the decisions that had to be made for the upcoming event, this was an easy one. We wanted to work with someone who placed the highest degree of purity in even the smallest of details regarding our monumental day.
In Deuteronomy chapter 23, Moses relays some of God’s commands regarding purity. He even speaks specifically about being away at war.
“Each of you must have a spade as part of your equipment. Whenever you relieve yourself, you must dig a hole with the spade and cover the excrement. The camp must be holy, for the LORD your God moves around in your camp to protect you and to defeat your enemies. He must not see any shameful thing among you, or he might turn away from you.” (Deut. 23:13-14 nlt)
When I first read this, I laughed. After I got past my third grade humor, I realized that this concept is an awesome analogy for my life today. In my world, the battle going on is an internal one. My camp site is within my soul. The enemy I battle is myself and on the side victorious is my master and commander, Jesus. His Holy Spirit dwells within me, moving around in my camp to protect me and to defeat my enemies. That being the case, I would begin to consider what my camp looks like.
- Do I have piles of old sins lying around? Has God forgiven me for something that I can’t seem to let go of? Dig a hole and cover the excrement. It is finished.
- Do I have piles of current sin lying around? Identify their names and confess them humbly to my Father. Ask for forgiveness. Then dig a hole and cover the excrement. It is finished.
- Do I have piles in places I never even think to assess? Pray Psalm 139:23 “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” Then dig a hole and cover the excrement. It is finished.
“as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalms 103:12 niv)
Today, I will grab a spade and clean my camp up for battle. I want my soul to have an ambiance that welcomes God. As God moves around my soul camp, I want him to be surrounded by uprightness and pleasant smells, not fur and piles.