A Very Risky Business
On April 28, 2021, a brief article appeared in the news about a police officer in Arvada, Colorado who executed a daring mission. She removed a Chick-fil-A milkshake cup which was stuck on a skunk’s head. Now, when I say “daring” I’m not being facetious. Few of us would get that close to a skunk for fear of getting sprayed with one of nature’s most powerful irritants.
Yet, police and wildlife personnel take this risk many times to free skunks from yogurt, ice cream, and peanut butter containers. They do this in an effort to help the adorable, but stinky, animals.
Once it gets on you, it’s not easy to remove the skunk smell. You can purchase special cleansers. Or you can concoct your own. Home remedies usually call for a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and detergent. But getting the stink out of your nose, eyes, hair, and skin will probably take longer. Yes, trying to free a skunk from its entrapments can be a dirty and daring business.
The same day I read these articles, I also read a biblical passage in Numbers 19. This chapter describes the slaying and burning of the red heifer. This was a special sacrifice, one whose entire purpose was to provide ashes which were to be mixed with water. And this special purification water was for the cleansing of everyone who became ceremonially defiled. The branch of a hyssop plant would be dipped in the ash-water mix and used to sprinkle the defiled person – making them clean.
The symbolism here is great. It is echoed in such passages as Ezekiel 36:25: “I will sprinkle clean water on you and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.” The very ashes of the heifer testified that the fire of God had already fallen upon and consumed the sacrifice for sins.
In other words, divine wrath has been poured out, sin has been atoned for, and God’s justice has been satisfied. Therefore, all sin and guilt are gone. This points to the finished work of Christ, whose sacrifice of Himself took away the sin of the world (John 1:29) and forever satisfied God’s justice (Romans 3:25-26; 1 John 2:2; 4:10).
Another peculiarity of the offering of the red heifer is that everyone who participated in its sacrifice became unclean by doing so. That’s right. The priest who slaughtered it, the Levite who burned it, and the Levite who stored its ashes all became defiled in the process (Leviticus 19:7-10). Yet, by their defilement they would make many others clean.
And even here there is great symbolism. For we are told in the Scripture that Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). Is delivering a skunk from its entrapments a dirty business? Yes. But infinitely more defiling, painful, and deadly was the work of Jesus Christ to take away our sins, satisfy God’s justice, and extinguish His fiery wrath. Jesus was drenched with our defilement. Yet by doing so He brought cleansing – even the righteousness of God – to billions of sinners who place their faith in Him.
Do not neglect this great salvation. Embrace the Lord Jesus as your Savior and God and thank Him eternally for all that He endured to save you.
PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for all that You suffered for me. Into Your loving and healing embrace I flee. Please cleanse me. Please save me. Please transform me into Your holy and glorious image, I pray. Amen.
(Information from: https://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2021/04/28/skunk-Chick-fil-A-cup-Apex-Recreation-Complex-Arvada-Police-Department-Colorado/5071619624129/; https://komonews.com/news/offbeat/police-officer-helps-skunk-with-container-stuck-on-head; https://www.thedodo.com/skunk-stuck-yoplait-yogurt-container-1897293314.html)