Leviticus 14-15, Psalm 34
In Scripture, Leprosy is a picture of sin. We read in Leviticus 13:45-46, "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!' 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." I love how J. Vernon McGee puts this in perspective. In his commentary, he writes, "Perhaps you are one of those who thinks that you will be saved by your works and that you don't need Christ as your Savior. May I say that if you could go to heaven just like you are, without Christ, you would go through heaven crying out, "Unclean! Unclean!" No angel would touch you with a twenty foot pole. You couldn't come anywhere near the presence of God." Such is the vivid reality of our "good works" apart from the blood of Christ in the presence of God.
While Leviticus 13-14, deals with Leprosy, chapter 13 deals with the characteristics of Leprosy, chapter 14 addresses the cleansing of leprosy. We read in Leviticus 13:2-3, "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. The priest shall examine the sore on the skin of the body; and if the hair on the sore has turned white, and the sore appears to be deeper than the skin of his body, it is a leprous sore. Then the priest shall examine him, and pronounce him unclean." Like leprosy, at first most sins seem like no big deal. But as sin is allowed to fester underneath the surface , often out of sight, it deadens our nerves like leprosy and causes us to rot away. Like the leprous sore it takes a beautiful person and destroys them from the inside out. Like leprosy, it tends to spread to other areas of our lives and to other individuals. Leprosy causes a separation from other people and our loved ones. Sin does the same thing, as it destroys our fellowship from the ones we love. If the leper is cleansed of his disease we read what he must do in Leviticus 14:2-7, "This shall be the law of the leper for the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought to the priest...then the priest shall command to take for him to be cleansed two living and clean birds, cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop. And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water. As for the living bird...dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed...and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose in the open field." There is so much symbolism in this cleansing requirement and Jesus, the One who would one day cleanse all sinners. The wood reminds us of the cross. The scarlet speaks of Jesus' blood. The hyssop was offered to Jesus as sour wine on the cross, and it was also used when the children of Israel sprinkled blood on the doorposts for the Passover. The dying and living birds speaks of Jesus death, burial, and resurrection. Hebrews 9 shows this analogy of Jesus, our High Priest, covering our sins in the heavenly sanctuary.
May we realize that sin separates us from God. Even if the world can not see it, we read in Hebrews 4:13, "And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account." Each and everyone is like that leper, unclean and separated from God by the sin which stains us. Like the leper the condition was hopeless once diagnosed. Becoming sinless and perfect on our own is likewise hopeless. But thanks be to God that this is not what He asks of us. We need only confess our sins and repent and He has already provided in His Son, Jesus, all that is necessary to cleanse us from our sin and restore us to fellowship with Him.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: