And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,…
Here we have, in type, the only Divine principle of cleansing. It is the application of death to nature and all its habits. It is the word of God brought to bear upon the heart and conscience in a living way. Moses, as representing the claims of God, cleanses the Levites according to those claims; and they, being cleansed, are able to bring the sharp razor to bear upon all that was the mere growth of nature, and to wash their garments, which expresses, in typical form, the cleansing their habits according to the word of God. This was God's way of meeting all that appertained to Levi's natural state — the self-will, the fierceness, and the cruelty. The pure water and the sharp razor were called into action — the washing and shaving had to go on, ere Levi was fit to approach the vessels of the sanctuary. Thus it is in every case. There is, there can be, no allowance of nature among God's workers. There never was a more fatal mistake than to attempt to enlist nature in the service of God. It matters not how you may endeavour to improve or regulate it. It is not improvement, but death that will avail. What is the meaning of the initiatory act of Christianity — the act of baptism? Does it not set forth the blessed fact that "our old man" — our fallen nature — is completely set aside, and that we are introduced into an entirely new position? Truly so. And how do we use the razor? By rigid self-judgment, day by day; by the stern disallowance of all that is of nature's growth. This is the true path for all God's workers in the wilderness.
(C. H. Mackintosh.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,