Leviticus 13

Leviticus 13 is all about leprosy.  Aaron and the priests not only were responsible for the Tent of Meeting and the sacrifices, they also had to examine and make decisions on whether or not people were affected by leprosy.  It appears from the scripture that there were many variations of the disease.  If someone was suspected of having it, they were to come to the priests to be examined.  If it was not perfectly clear, they were quarantined for seven days and then re-examined.  If no changes occurred, they were diagnosed as clean, otherwise as a leper.

Leprosy was no little issue.  Their life was very different from the rest of the population.  “The leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean.  He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp”.  Being diagnosed as a leper meant you moved outside the camp and had to live alone.  In many cases for the rest of your life – but certainly until the disease was gone.

The text describes a number of scenarios where leprosy exhibited itself.  White hair, yellow hair, reddish-white area, dull white skin, black hair, itching disease and even baldness.  It seems to take on a number of different expressions and it would be up to the priest to identify the source.  The quarantine was the best method to watch it.  If leprosy was identified, clothing and anything that had been in contact had to be burned.  “You shall burn with fire whatever has the disease”.  Left unchecked this disease would spread to others, which is why they took rather drastic means to deal with the problem.  It may seem harsh and cruel, but these actions were to protect the rest of the  community.

So what if we took this approach to dealing with the biggest disease we have as Christ Followers – sin?  What if we treated sin like leprosy?  We burned the things that caused us to continue to fall into it.  We were quarantined for a week when we sinned.  Lots of fires and people away for a week at a time.  We need to view sin as a bad thing because it is – maybe the worst thing possible for us.  The result of sin is actually far worse than leprosy.  As a leper, you experienced pain and suffering in your body, and were put out of the camp to live, but it ended with your death.  Sin doesn’t end when we die.  In fact, the real consequence of sin begins then.  We may experience some consequences here on this earth, but it is the eternal separation that is the big price to pay.  We need to treat sin very differently.  Thankfully God has created a way for us to deal with it through Jesus.  We can be cleansed of our sin.  Have you taken that step?

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Brad Kowerchuk on September 27, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    Knowing what we learn of leprosy in Leviticus 13, how much more does that emphasize the compassion that Jesus showed in Luke 5:12-14! How do these accounts show the fulfillment of the prophecy in Psalms 72:13? And, how will there be a further, future, fulfillment during Christ’s Kingdom rule?

    Reply

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