Acorns From Oakes

Seeing With Our Father's Eyes

…Outside The Camp

 “We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through His own blood. Therefore let us go to Him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.” (Hebrews 13:10-14)

What is it that’s out there? Outside the camp? Danger? The unfamiliar? Suffering? Reproach? Ragged, homeless, lost  people? Death? Well then, I’m not going. It doesn’t make sense to me to take the chance. In here…in the gaited community amongst the tent-servers sounds good to me. What’s that you say? There’s one more thing to consider? There’s Another out there? Who? The suffering Servant, Jesus our Lord! And so the Hebrew writer says, reminscent of Captain Joshua, “I’m going to Him outside the camp! You coming?!”

And why would we be going out there? Because He went out there for us first. Because He went out there bearing our shameful reproach. I deserved it. But He took it. It would have killed me. I know because it killed Him. He became a prisoner that I might be free. He was lifted up that I might be drawn in wonder, gratitude and love towards Him. He took my reproach that I might lift up my head for the first time. He atoned for all my sins that I might be forgiven. He died that I might live. He went out there to suffer terribly…to die the most horrible death in all of history (I’m not speaking only of His crucifixion)…because that’s the only way He could provide what we most needed. 

Let me ask you…where are you going to be when your beloved suffer? If it is in your power…if it can be humanly done…where will you be? In the days when scarlet fever killed many, the plague came to a little daughter. The doctor told the child’s mother to avoid all contact or risk the same death. But the little one couldn’t understand why her mother wasn’t kissing her…she kept asking her for a kiss. What’s a mother to do? What would you do? The mother sealed her fate by lavishing many kisses upon her dear daughter while life remained. What would you do? I know what you would do. And so our Jesus saw us miserable and suffering in our sins. But His kiss wouldn’t just be a token…it would be salvation for us…death for Him. What will He do? Love left Him no real choice…none that He wanted. It was a done deal as far as He was concerned, wasn’t it? What a Savior!

So He did it…and here we are today praising Him with all our hearts and lives because of it. But, help me with this…if you have the time to give it some thought…since Jesus isn’t out there on Calvary’s hill hanging on the cross right now, how do you think we can go to Him outside the camp bearing His reproach today? I would really love to hear your thoughts…if you’ve the time. His love is forever new…full of joyful surprises…and is seeing us all the way home to glory with rejoicing. Blessed be His Name!

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5 thoughts on “…Outside The Camp

  1. Wow … this post is quite a bit over my head. I’ve read it a few times … looked up the verses in Hebrews … consulted the footnotes in my Bible … and am still not sure I quite understand it all.

    So teach me … if I’m missing the point … please teach me.

    Outside the camp is where all the unclean things were. It’s where the unclean people were sent … the unclean portions of the sacrifice were burnt.

    Jesus took on the role of the unclean and became an outcast. He went outside the camp for us … and it killed Him.

    Am I willing to do the same? Am I willing to go out there where my loved ones may be … where the hurting are … or am I going to stay all comfy cozy inside the city gates … where I’m “presumed” holy … where the unclean are not welcome?

    I feel like I’ve been “outside the camp” for a long time. For part of that time it was because I was outcast due to my uncleanliness. When I realized God had made me clean … I guess I might have been able to go back into the city, but I chose to stay outside the camp with my own kind. Hoping to pass on the hope I was given. Jesus was here, outside the camp, and He has provided us a way to be clean … really clean. Not an “inside the city” clean … but a genuine “I belong to Christ clean”.

    GREAT COMMENT, PAIGE. IF THE PASSAGE IS OVER YOUR HEAD, IT’S NOT OVER YOUR HEART. I DON’T THINK I UNDERSTAND IT EITHER. BUT THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT IT THAT DEFINITELY SPEAKS TO MY HEART TOO. WE HAVE THE ILLUSION THAT IT’S SAFER TO BE INSIDE THE CITY WITH THE OTHER “TENT”-SERVERS…THE KEEPERS OF THE STATUS QUO. BUT THE HEBREW WRITER TELLS US THAT WE HAVE NO CITY HERE THAT LASTS (EVEN IF IT LOOKS LIKE IT WILL). WE DON’T HAVE TO STAY CLOSE TO THE “TENT” BECAUSE WE HAVE AN ALTAR (JESUS) THAT IS ALWAYS WITH US WHEREVER WE ARE. GIVEN THE CHOICE, WHAT DID JESUS DO? HE WENT OUT BEARING OUR REPROACH. HE WENT OUT BEARING HIS CROSS. HE WASN’T GOING ON A FIELD DAY. HE WAS GOING TO SUFFER AND DIE IN ORDER TO BLESS THE PEOPLE. AND SO HE DID. GIVEN THE CHOICE, WHAT WILL WE DO? WHAT WILL I DO? I THINK YOU ARE RIGHT ON TARGET…WHEN WE GO, IN HIS NAME, TO HELP ANYONE WHO IS HURTING WE ANSWER THE WRITER’S CALL…”LET US THEREFORE GO TO HIM…” WHEN WE DO SO EVEN WHEN IT IS UNPLEASANT…EVEN WHEN IT IS COSTLY…EVEN WHEN IT IS UNAPPRECIATED AND EMBARRASSING…EVEN WHEN OTHERS DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT WE DO…EVEN WHEN NO ONE ELSE IS WITH US…EVEN WHEN NO ONE APPLAUDS US OR ENCOURAGES US…WHEN WE DO IT EVEN THEN, WE ARE GOING TO OUR JESUS OUTSIDE THE CAMP, BEARING HIS REPROACH. ONLY NOW, REPROACH HAS BEEN REDEEMED…IT IS A CROWN OF GLORY ON OUR HEADS, BECAUSE IT IS HIS REPROACH. BLESSED BE HE! THANKS FOR WORKING THIS ONE OVER AND FOR HELPING US, PAIGE. YOU HELP US WANT TO KEEP GOING TO HIM.

  2. I do not think that I understand all that I need to about these verses. Like Paige, I’m afraid it’s over my head a little. But I do understand outside the camp, unclean, outcast…I know that feeling well. I was not included by my family for several years after my sin. It was not a good feeling…not the place I wanted to be. Because I did not realize that Jesus was out there…I thought I was alone. I was wrong. He WAS there. I chose to ignore Him. He had taken all that sin and shame on Himself when He died on the cross. He lifted my head. I cannot begin to understand why….I am just thankful that He did!!

    Am I able to see past myself enough to help others that may feel that same outcast-ness? I think I am more able to do that at this point in my life than ever before….I just hope that I will. That I will be more like Jesus every day. Jesus loved sinners…He loved ME…enough to suffer the shame of the cross. I want to set aside my own comfort more, to do more for those folks that need to know that Jesus understands our pain and He is our Healer.

    GREAT INSIGHT, SHERRY. YOU SAID, “I do understand outside the camp, unclean, outcast…” DOESN’T IT BEGIN THERE FOR US? WHATEVER GLORIES WE DON’T YET UNDERSTAND, WE DO UNDERSTAND DESPERATE SPIRITUAL NEED. MAY WE NEVER FORGET WHAT EXISTENCE WAS LIKE FOR US ON THE OUTSIDE. WASN’T IT BECAUSE JESUS CAME AND LIVED LIKE US, KNEW WHAT HELLS WE ENDURE BECAUSE OF OUR SINS AND THOSE OF OTHERS, THAT HE DID WHAT HE DID? YOU SAID THAT YOU FELT YOU WERE MORE ABLE NOW TO HELP OTHERS AND THAT YOU JUST HOPED YOU WOULD. LET ME TELL YOU…YOU ALREADY ARE. WHEN A CROSS-SOFTENED HEART SPENDS TIME WITH JESUS, WONDROUS THINGS BEGIN TO HAPPEN. YOU MIGHT NOT NOTICE IT SO MUCH IN YOURSELF, FOR THE LORD IS BLESSING YOU WITH A HUMBLE SPIRIT. BUT WE, YOUR SISTERS AND BROTHERS, SEE IT IN YOU. YOUR HEART THROBS WITH ENCOURAGEMENT FOR OTHERS. YOUR LOVE OF THE LORD IS SHOWING ITSELF IN KINDNESS, EVEN TO STRANGERS (LIKE ME, FOR INSTANCE). YOUR DEVOTION TO HIM IS LEADING YOU INTO ALL KINDS OF OPPORTUNITIES “OUTSIDE THE CAMP” TO SERVE HIM BY TURNING ON A LIGHT FOR THOSE IN THE DARK, BY OFFERING A GRACIOUS WORD TO SOMEONE WHO HASN’T HEARD ONE IN A LONG, LONG TIME, BY LISTENING TO AND FOR BROKEN HEARTS. IT IS NO SMALL WORK YOU DO. HE IS HONORED. AND I KNOW HE LOVES THE FACT THAT YOU CAME TO HIM OUTSIDE THE CAMP. GOD BLESS YOU.

  3. These are great verses for reflection. Their message is not so obvious…even with meditation they provide some challenges to our understanding. Though I do not presume to understand it all…after several moments of pause, here is what I think enables us to go to Christ outside the camp even today:

    It helps me to break this down a bit. One, we know it is possible to answer this request b/c the Hebrew writer made the same request of his audience…Jesus was not literally hanging on a cross outside the city at that time either. Two, it is important to realize for this audience that to meet Jesus outside the camp is not in this instance about gaining re-entrance into the city (by city I mean the spiritual inheritance in Christ). We know this is true b/c the writer says we HAVE an altar (v.10). He is not talking to a people who do not have hope. This knowledge leaves us with one reason for continuing to go outside the city to meet Christ and bear the reproach he endured…it is the reason that the Hebrew writer has been arguing for the last 3 chapters…in chapter 11 by describing the people of faith who went before…those whom the world was not worthy of…in chapter 12 by reminding the audience of the cloud of witnesses that surrounds them…specifically that of Christ who for the joy set before Him endured the cross despising its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. In chapter 13 the writer brings it closer to home by saying in verse 7 to consider the outcome of the way of life of the leaders who were before them (I presume these leaders to be recent martyrs or those who died faithful). Because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever…this audience knows that the outcome of their way of life is one in which they gained a rich inheritance…but not only that, but they have left an inheritance for those who consider their example.

    So…I think the Hebrew writer comes to these concluding thoughts with an intense desire for his audience to live in a place and in a way where they can witness by their faithful lives to the faithfulness of Christ. The only way to do this is to eat, drink, sleep and walk where Jesus walked…and to die to ourselves where he died to himself. Though he reigns in victory, I believe there must be a sense of Christ’s abiding presence on that cross outside the camp for those who have not gained entrance to that lasting city. For those of us who have entrusted our lives to Christ and who choose to become his disciples…we have no choice but to imitate our Savior…the world will struggle to see what took place 2000 years ago unless the Christian gives them a glimpse of the crucified Savior. How would this ever be possible from within the comfort of the city walls? Ironically…if we understand the kingdom we live in…we can enjoy the present-future reality of the secure home we have…and will learn to care very little about the pain we endure as we allow ourselves to be crucified with Christ so that others may consider the outcome of our way of life and will see that Christ is the only way to share in this hope.

    Paige/Sherry – I appreciate your candid thoughts. I have read most of your comments on this blog. Isn’t it amazing how God creates beauty in the broken. Though we do not keep on sinning that grace may abound it is nevertheless true that grace shines brightly in those who have been lost and our now found. It shines brightly in your lives in large part because you have simply been willing to lay your wounds open to his healing. Thanks for sharing your hearts.

    Dad – Thanks for the spiritual food.

  4. oakesclan on said:

    IT’S TIMES LIKE THESE THAT I AM SO GRATEFUL I TAUGHT YOU EVERYTHING YOU KNOW? (MY TONGUE IS IN MY CHEEK.) SERIOUSLY, SON, GREAT THOUGHTS. I PARTICULARLY LIKE THIS INSIGHT “…the world will struggle to see what took place 2000 years ago unless the Christian gives them a glimpse of the crucified Savior…” AS LONG AS I THINK THE SMALL THINGS ARE ONLY A BOTHER, AS LONG AS I FEEL “PUT UPON” WHEN SOMEONE NEEDS TRANSPORTATION OR GROCERIES, AS LONG AS I EXCUSE MYSELF FROM ENTERING INTO ANOTHER’S STORY BECAUSE I DON’T WISH TO TAKE THE TIME…SO LONG WILL THOSE OF MY ACQUAINTANCE MISS THE CHANCE TO GLIMPSE THE CRUCIFIED SAVIOR IN ME. WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR? AM I WAITING FOR A CROWD TO FORM…FOR THE SPOTLIGHT TO SHINE…FOR THE MUSIC TO BEGIN…BEFORE I GO TO MY LORD OUT THERE…OUTSIDE THE CAMP…OUTSIDE THE ACCEPTABLE…OUTSIDE THE RESPECTABLE…OUTSIDE THE SAFE? I LOOK AROUND OUT HERE…OUTSIDE THE CAMP…AND I THINK TO MYSELF, THESE PEOPLE DON’T LOOK LIKE MY JESUS…DON’T SOUND LIKE MY LORD…MANY OF THEM SEEM BARELY HUMAN. THEN I REMEMBER WHAT ISAIAH SAID OF MY CRUCIFIED JESUS… “Many were horrified at what happened to him. But everyone who saw him was even more horrified because he suffered until he no longer looked human.” ISAIAH 52:14 (CEV) THE REAL TRUTH IS THAT THE SAFEST PLACE IN ALL THE WIDE WORLD IS WITH MY LORD. OF COURSE, HE IS CHANGING MY DEFINITION OF “SAFE” ALSO, ISN’T HE? THERE’S NO SAFETY IN THE CITY OR IN THE TABERNACLE OR IN THE STATUS QUO. WE MUST GO TO HIM. HE IS SAFETY AND SECURITY FOR OUR SOULS, IF NOT FOR OUR BODIES. HE IS LIFE TO OUR EFFORTS TO HELP OTHERS, EVEN IF HE IS DEATH TO OUR EGOS. HE IS JOY TO OUR HEARTS AND TO THE WORLD WHEN ALL EARTHLY REASONS FAIL. HE IS OUR LIVING HOPE. THERE IS NO RIVAL. NONE! THANKS FOR THE FRUIT OF YOUR THOUGHTS AND FOR THE ISSUE OF YOUR LIFE. I WANT TO IMITATE YOUR FAITH AND HOPE THAT MY LIFE WILL BEAR AN UPWARD CALL TO YOU AS WELL. I LOVE YOU, SON.

  5. Rex Boyles on said:

    Doug, my beloved friend, several years ago I was telling the favored son of one of the “tent-keepers” about our trip to Bombay. I described to him some of the sights and smells – hardships and horrors for so many of those people. I intended to then share with him the incredible thrill of witnessing the glory and power of the gospel as it dawned on the hearts of those we taught. But before I could get to the “good stuff”, he stopped me and asked, “If those people are so dirty and things there are so terrible, why would anyone go there to preach?”

    WHAT?????

    I don’t understand the passage either (Paige or Sherry), but I know this … He found me “out there”. And I have watched Doug follow Him “out there” in Bombay … in hospital rooms in Troy … in East Dayton living rooms … in Bellbrook back alleys … and in a car parked along a highway, as I sobbed my confession of shame. I understand Jesus better, because of you, Doug. I love you, friend. R

    REX, I ALSO REMEMBER TRYING TO TELL SOME GUYS AT A MENS’ RETREAT ABOUT BOMBAY AND ITS DESPARATE MASSES. ONE PREACHING BROTHER STOOD UP AND SAID, “WE JUST NEED TO GO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THEM AND THEN THEY WILL KILL THOSE OXEN AND FEED THEIR PEOPLE.” HE MADE IT SOUND SO SIMPLE…TOO SIMPLE…AS THOUGH A SIMPLE SOLUTION EXISTED FOR BOMBAY. YES, I KNOW HE WAS RIGHT THAT WE NEED TO GO PREACH THE GOSPEL. AND IF HE MEANT BY THAT WHAT PAUL AND OTHERS DID IN THE FIRST CENTURY, THEN I AGREE. BUT MERE TALKING WON’T SOLVE THE PROBLEM. CHRISTIANS WHO ENTER INTO THE CONDITIONS AND THE LIVES OF THOSE PEOPLE…WHO WILL LOVE THEM AND LET THEM SEE JESUS IN THEM…WHO WILL SERVE THEM LOYALLY WITHOUT MAKING MERCHANDISE OF THEM…WELL, GOD CAN USE SUCH PEOPLE TO OPEN A DOOR OF FAITH TO THE INDIANS. WHAT IS NEEDED THERE IS NEEDED HERE…ISN’T IT?
    REX, YOUR LAST TWO SENTENCES HUMBLE ME…SPEAK A SORT OF HEALTH INTO MY BONES…GENERATE A WARMTH THAT HOLDS ME ON A COLD WINTER’S DAY. I LOVE YOU, FRIEND, INDEED, WHO IS CLOSER THAN A BROTHER.

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