At first glance this may seem to be a strange passage to choose for a devotional. As with many things, the second or third glance will uncover a deep and practical truth.
Take a pencil and circle the phrase “go to him outside the camp” in v. 11. Here is a paraphrase of what this passage is saying.
“The world you live in wants to teach you all kinds of crazy things about the nature of God. They are going to tell you that you must do this or you have to do that in order to be accepted by God. They will try to suck you into their system of thought that will ultimately kill you. That is what life is like “inside the city;” inside the accepted ways of doing things. They want you to “go with the flow” and not make trouble. Jesus calls you to go outside the camp. Jesus came to set the institutions and traditions of the kingdom of man upside down. To follow Jesus is to risk being ridiculed by the world — both the secular and the religious — in order to find the heart of God in the realm of truth. To follow Him is to go outside the safety of the familiar and risk the unpredictability of the unknown. Jesus suffered disgrace and was thrown out with the trash. Are you willing to do that? It is only there that you will find true meaning and the road that leads to the true city, the true Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God has never changed; it has always been available to those who would receive it. Unfortunately, most people choose to build their own cities, with their own laws, and throw the true King out with the garbage. So, go outside the city walls, be considered trash in the world’s eyes, and really start living. Only out there will you be free to love God and love others. Only there will you be truly free.”
May this loose and much embellished paraphrase spark a thought upon which you can meditate today. We are called to a higher standard, to march to the beat of a different rhythm. If we will focus our energy on being transformed by the presence of God, outside the camp, then we will be able to shine like beautiful lighthouses of hope in the world around us.
Have fun on the trash heap today!