Outside the Camp

The laws that Yahweh gave Israel through Moses included many activities that had to happen outside of their camp. Anyone who became unclean had to spend time outside the camp. Activities that were unclean had to be conducted outside the camp, from disposing of trash and excrement to stoning someone to death.

Being dismissed even temporarily to life outside of the fellowship was something that held a stigma – it indicated a rejection or condemnation. When Jesus was tortured to death on a cross, it happened outside of the gate of the city. As He indicated to the church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:20, He still experiences being cast outside the acceptable – displaced from His appropriate position of being worshiped and of being honored as our King.

Many of the most devoted believers I know are currently not participating in any of the meetings that happen all around them on Sunday mornings. They all have their own reasons, but they include being done with shallowness, purposelessness, and lack of genuineness that is almost everywhere among congregations.

Being outside because of bitterness is the cause for some people. These are not the people I have anything to say about here.

If you are separated from meetings, be careful not to be separated from relationships with believers. Don’t fear being outside the camp, and don’t be shy about connecting with others – inside or outside. The programs may have no value, but the people all do. When you find someone with whom you can pray and rejoice and worship and work, you are connected to the body in more real ways than some of the most loyal meeting attenders.

Remember your leaders who have spoken God’s word to you. As you carefully observe the outcome of their lives, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Don’t be led astray by various kinds of strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be established by grace and not by foods, since those involved in them have not benefited. We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle do not have a right to eat. For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy of holies by the high priest as a sin offering are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also suffered outside the gate, so that He might sanctify the people by His own blood. Let us then go to Him outside the camp, bearing His disgrace. For here we do not have an enduring city; instead, we seek the one to come. Therefore, through Him let us continually offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of our lips that confess His name. Don’t neglect to do good and to share, for God is pleased with such sacrifices.
(Hebrews 13:7-16 Holman Christian Standard Bible ® ©)