The Cleansing of the People Relieved, Aaron leaves the inner sanctuary, walks through the holy place and hands the vessel …
These men “lifted up their voices.” Sometimes we need to get loud when we pray. These men were not allowed to come too close to the Lord, so they reached out to Him with their voices. “JESUS! MASTER! HAVE MERCY ON US!” I believe that often the distance that separates us from the answer to our prayers is directly proportional to the amount of “dignity” we have left. How desperate are we for deliverance? How hungry are we for a touch from Jesus? Loud cries from a humble heart are answered more readily than religious prayers from stiff lips!
Like the scapegoat on the Day of Atonement, these two birds represent one sacrifice, but since they couldn’t kill a bird and bring it back to life again, two birds had to be used. One died as a result of sin; the other was set free, representing the liberty we have when our sins have been washed away.
Staying clean can be a dirty business. When Israelites became unclean through sin, disease, or simple contact with unclean things, they would have to be cleansed before they could once again worship with the covenant community. Sometimes this meant a simple washing. But most often it meant sacrifice and blood for “almost all things are by the law purged with blood.” And then, there was the most curious cleansing agent of all—the ashes of a heifer.