Thought for March 8th. “UNCLEAN, UNCLEAN”
Those suffering with leprosy in Bible times were expected to cry out “Unclean, unclean” (Lev. 13 v.45) so that people would know not to touch him or her for fear of contagion. Today’s reading in Leviticus 15, might seem rather boring, but it has valuable lessons on cleanliness of which the world was ignorant until about 200 years ago.
The word ‘Leprosy’ in Leviticus covers a multitude of skin infections, some serious, some not. In the last 2 days we have seen that it was the Priest’s responsibility to determine which was serious and see that action was taken. Today we read about the precautions with sick people and others who had bodily discharges so as to prevent the spread of dangerous infection.
Those unclean with a “discharge” were not to touch anyone “without having rinsed their hands in water”. The person touched by someone unclean was also regarded as unclean until the evening and was required to “wash his clothes and bathe himself”
[v.11] They also had to cleanse the drinking and other vessels they used.
It is only a few generations since our world discovered how infections spread and the great importance of hygiene; before then countless deaths and plagues occurred. In the 19th Century a few medical men, suddenly realizing that the Bible had such laws given by God 4,000 years earlier became convinced it really was a divine revelation from God and became regarded the Bible was a Divinely inspired book and the doctors then started to cure more than they killed!..
In today’s 2nd Corinthians chapter 11 we see a spiritual counterpart! Paul laments that some were easily “led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” He then writes, “if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.” [v.3-5].
Then he makes the point, “such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.” [v.13]
The tragedy today is that many accept an “unclean” gospel – but some, by God’s grace, come to realize this and go through a cleansing process. We also read that if really bad behaviour is not cleansed, there is a parallel action to be taken to that of leprosy in dealing with it. See what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 5 v.9-13, the faithful church cannot include those who are spiritually unclean.