Why did God spend as much time on the subject of leprosy as He did? – to bring something to our attention
There are two whole chapters (Leviticus 13-14)
These verses sum it up
Leviticus 14:54 “This is the law for any leprous sore and scale,
Leviticus 14:55 for the leprosy of a garment and of a house,
Leviticus 14:56 for a swelling and a scab and a bright spot,
Leviticus 14:57 to teach when it is unclean and when it is clean. This is the law of leprosy.”
Leviticus 13:2 “When a man has on the skin of his body a swelling, a scab, or a bright spot, and it becomes on the skin of his body like a leprous sore, then he shall be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons the priests.
(KJV) When a man shall have in the skin of his flesh a rising, a scab, or bright spot, and it be in the skin of his flesh like the plague [word found in 10th plague; more at cause continual trouble or distress to] of leprosy; then he shall be brought unto Aaron the priest, or unto one of his sons the priests:
(CEV) If sores or boils or a skin rash should break out and start spreading on your body, you must be brought to Aaron or to one of the other priests.
The word is similar to hornet because of welt
But… it can also refer to:
Leviticus 13:47 “Also, if a garment has a leprous plague in it, whether it is a woolen garment or a linen garment, [mildew, mold, dry rot]
The one that we are going to focus on today is the one plagues a person
Leprosy is more at Infect: infectious, festering, oozing, contagious, sores, bumps, welts, scabs– though it may include the leprosy of today. Nonetheless it screams stay away; something that you don’t want to be around. For the purposes of this message I want you to visualize a person like this. One that you have come across or seen in pictures. They are grotesque and you try not to make a face when you see them.
This is the way that God sees us when we are sinful. Now imagine that for a second.
The reason God spent as much time as He did in going through all of this is to show us the effect of sin. Leprosy is a type of sin! And God wants us to thoroughly understand how He sees sin within us.
Today I would like to delve into more of this analogy and see some lessons that God wants us to learn,
1. It Starts Small
Leprosy often has an insignificant beginning. It is very small, almost unnoticeable. [bacteria/virus]
The effects of sin may not be immediate. It does not stay small – but it begins to spread and grow (like leavening)
Genesis 3:4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.
Genesis 3:5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Genesis 3:6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
The sores are festering and will eventually cause problems.
Some effects are immediate, some long term as we know [We are not struck by lightning when we sin – does that mean that we are getting away with it? NO!]
James 1:15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
We cannot let sin take root. If we do that, we give Satan a foothold.
2. It Makes Us Unclean
Those with leprosy were unclean
Leviticus 13:43 Then the priest shall examine it; and indeed if the swelling of the sore is reddish-white on his bald head or on his bald forehead, as the appearance of leprosy on the skin of the body,
Leviticus 13:44 he is a leprous man. He is unclean. The priest shall surely pronounce him unclean; his sore is on his head.
God views us the same way
Matthew 23:25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence.
Matthew 23:26 Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.
Matthew 23:27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.
Matthew 23:28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
We are in effect saying to God :
Leviticus 13:45 “Now the leper on whom the sore is, his clothes shall be torn and his head bare; and he shall cover his mustache, and cry, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’
3. Cuts You Off
Leviticus 13:46 He shall be unclean. All the days he has the sore he shall be unclean. He is unclean, and he shall dwell alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.
Cuts you off from the body. In their day it was from the congregation of Israel; the church in the wilderness and today it can cut us off from church too – that is spiritual Israel.
There are times when it is a necessity that we are removed from the brethren.
A. From the Body
It is communicable (part of the law of quarantine)
1 Corinthians 5:9 I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people.
1 Corinthians 5:10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.
1 Corinthians 5:11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.
1 Corinthians 5:12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside?
1 Corinthians 5:13 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “PUT AWAY FROM YOURSELVES THE EVIL PERSON.”
In ancient Israel they had to be put out of the city away from their family – there was a chance of the infection spreading. This can sometimes be necessary today for the sake of the church family as well as the individual.
Because sin affects you and those around you and not only can it spread within you it can infect others also.
1 Corinthians 5:6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?
B. Cuts us off From God
By being outside the city they were away from the tabernacle, the dwelling place of God. In this sense they were removed from God. God stayed where He was – it was the person that moved.
Once the leprous person was outside the camp, they didn’t come back until they were clean
Leviticus 14:3 And the priest shall go out of the camp, and the priest shall examine him; and indeed, if the leprosy is healed in the leper, [they would go through the cleansing process]
Sin comes between us and God
Isaiah 59:1 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear.
Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.
We remove ourselves from God not vice versa.
Isaiah 59:3 For your hands are defiled with blood, And your fingers with iniquity; Your lips have spoken lies, Your tongue has muttered perversity.
Isaiah 59:4 No one calls for justice, Nor does any plead for truth. They trust in empty words and speak lies; They conceive evil and bring forth iniquity.
Isaiah 59:5 They hatch vipers’ eggs and weave the spider’s web; He who eats of their eggs dies, And from that which is crushed a viper breaks out.
Isaiah 59:6 Their webs will not become garments, Nor will they cover themselves with their works; Their works are works of iniquity, And the act of violence is in their hands.
Isaiah 59:7 Their feet run to evil, And they make haste to shed innocent blood; Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; Wasting and destruction are in their paths.
Isaiah 59:8 The way of peace they have not known, And there is no justice in their ways; They have made themselves crooked paths; Whoever takes that way shall not know peace.
Isaiah 59:9 Therefore justice is far from us, Nor does righteousness overtake us; We look for light, but there is darkness! For brightness, but we walk in blackness!
Isaiah 59:10 We grope for the wall like the blind, And we grope as if we had no eyes; We stumble at noonday as at twilight; We are as dead men in desolate places.
Isaiah 59:11 We all growl like bears, And moan sadly like doves; We look for justice, but there is none; For salvation, but it is far from us.
Isaiah 59:12 For our transgressions are multiplied before You, And our sins testify against us; For our transgressions are with us, And as for our iniquities, we know them:
Isaiah 59:13 In transgressing and lying against the LORD, And departing from our God, Speaking oppression and revolt, Conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.
Isaiah 59:14 Justice is turned back, And righteousness stands afar off; For truth is fallen in the street, And equity cannot enter.
Isaiah 59:15 So truth fails, And he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. Then the LORD saw it, and it displeased Him That there was no justice.
4. It can be a Death Penalty
Dead man walking – when we sin we are carrying around the death penalty with us.
Numbers 12:1 Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman.
Numbers 12:2 So they said, “Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?” And the LORD heard it.
Numbers 12:3 (Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth.)
Numbers 12:4 Suddenly the LORD said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, “Come out, you three, to the tabernacle of meeting!” So the three came out.
Numbers 12:5 Then the LORD came down in the pillar of cloud and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam. And they both went forward.
Numbers 12:6 Then He said, “Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream.
Numbers 12:7 Not so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house.
Numbers 12:8 I speak with him face to face, Even plainly, and not in dark sayings; And he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid To speak against My servant Moses?”
Numbers 12:9 So the anger of the LORD was aroused against them, and He departed.
Numbers 12:10 And when the cloud departed from above the tabernacle, suddenly Miriam became leprous, as white as snow. Then Aaron turned toward Miriam, and there she was, a leper.
Numbers 12:11 So Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my lord! Please do not lay this sin on us, in which we have done foolishly and in which we have sinned.
Numbers 12:12 Please do not let her be as one dead, whose flesh is half consumed when he comes out of his mother’s womb!”
Numbers 12:13 So Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, “Please heal her, O God, I pray!”
Numbers 12:14 Then the LORD said to Moses, “If her father had but spit in her face, would she not be shamed seven days? Let her be shut out of the camp seven days, and afterward she may be received again.”
Numbers 12:15 So Miriam was shut out of the camp seven days, and the people did not journey till Miriam was brought in again.
5. Requires Divine Intervention
Let’s look at another example – of Naaman and we pick up the story:
2 Kings 5:6 Then he brought the letter to the king of Israel, which said, Now be advised, when this letter comes to you, that I have sent Naaman my servant to you, that you may heal him of his leprosy.
He didnt go to the prophet as the little slave girl suggested instead to the king
2 Kings 5:7 And it happened, when the king of Israel read the letter, that he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and make alive, that this man sends a man to me to heal him of his leprosy? Therefore please consider, and see how he seeks a quarrel with me.”
Upon receiving the letter the king doesn’t take it as a necessary protocol, but rather as a ruse to invade or attack him and is very upset about it. BECAUSE he knew that it was ONLY God who could heal the leprosy
2 Kings 5:8 So it was, when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Please let him come to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.”
There was a lack of faith in the kings response. As the king said in the previous verse, he knew it was a job for God and should have directed Naaman that way.
2 Kings 5:9 Then Naaman went with his horses and chariot, and he stood at the door of Elisha’s house.
A pretty big show of not only power and might but IMPORTANCE! And how does Elisha, who asked Naaman to come to his place receive him?
2 Kings 5:10 And Elisha sent a messenger to him, ….
What point do you think Elisha is making? It has nothing to do with the king or with him for that matter of fact
2 Kings 5:11 But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, “Indeed, I said to myself, ‘He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.’
He had a preconceived notion as to how this was to happen – so he didn’t receive the instruction very well.
2 Kings 5:12 Are not the Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage.
Naaman continues to look to the wrong places for answers
2 Kings 5:13 And his servants came near and spoke to him, and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?”
This is an easy thing to do – so why don’t you do it
2 Kings 5:14 So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
He finally obeyed and what was the outcome:
2 Kings 5:15 And he returned to the man of God, he and all his aides, and came and stood before him; and he said, “Indeed, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel; now therefore, please take a gift from your servant.”
This could only be accomplished through God
We are insufficient of ourselves.
We Need God’s Help
King David understood this
Psalm 51:2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin.
We begin immediately with the parallel to leprosy.
Leviticus 14:2 “This shall be the law of the leper for the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought to the priest.
Leviticus 14:3 And the priest shall go out of the camp, and the priest shall examine him; and indeed, if the leprosy is healed in the leper,
Leviticus 14:4 then the priest shall command to take for him who is to be cleansed
It is the nature of leprosy and sin
Psalm 51:3 For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me.
And in that respect it comes before us and God (as we mentioned before)
Psalm 51:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
We see that David has a really good grasp of the leprosy’s analogy to sin
Leviticus 14:48 “But if the priest comes in and examines it, and indeed the plague has not spread in the house after the house was plastered, then the priest shall pronounce the house clean, because the plague is healed.
Leviticus 14:49 And he shall take, to cleanse the house, two birds, cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop.
Leviticus 14:50 Then he shall kill one of the birds in an earthen vessel over running water;
Leviticus 14:51 and he shall take the cedar wood, the hyssop, the scarlet, and the living bird, and dip them in the blood of the slain bird and in the running water, and sprinkle the house seven times.
Leviticus 14:52 And he shall cleanse the house with the blood of the bird and the running water and the living bird, with the cedar wood, the hyssop, and the scarlet.
Spiritual leprosy separates us from Jesus Christ
We are to learn the spiritual lessons from it
Exodus 12:21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Pick out and take lambs for yourselves according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb.
Exodus 12:22 And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning.
Exodus 12:23 For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you.
This was to cleanse them from their sin by the “blood of the lamb” and set them apart from the sinful nation of Egypt and allow them to walk with God.
Cleansing is a theme of Psalm 51
We must come to the same realization as David:
Isaiah 64:5 You meet him who rejoices and does righteousness, Who remembers You in Your ways. You are indeed angry, for we have sinned— In these ways we continue; And we need to be saved.
Isaiah 64:6 But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.
Psalm 51:9 Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities.
Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, ….
Word for “create” is the same word used in Genesis 1 to describe the awesome power God used in forming the universe and all that is in it.
6. There Needs to be an Atoning Sacrifice
Leviticus 14:18 The rest of the oil that is in the priest’s hand he shall put on the head of him who is to be cleansed. So the priest shall make atonement for him before the LORD.
Leviticus 14:19 “Then the priest shall offer the sin offering, and make atonement for him who is to be cleansed from his uncleanness. Afterward he shall kill the burnt offering.
As prophesied, the Messiah was to come and be that Atoning sin offering.
Isaiah 53:4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.
Isaiah 53:5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.
Just as an atonement was made for the leper, an atonement was made for each one of us. And an atonement has to be made for our sins – because we cannot.
In this season of the Days of Unleavened Bread? We are to be removing sin from our lives just as we remove symbolically do it as we deleaven.
I find it motivating to think how God sees me in a leprous state – it makes me want to change and follow the instructions in:
Leviticus 19:2 “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.
We are to be like God – holy, clean, sinless
Sanctified, sacred, set apart
Does this make us want to spend more time on the inside?