Leviticus 13:1-46: Leprosy

A putrid, fungal lesion,
A skin-consuming sore,
A cancer of the reason,
Like biologic war,
To spread to every region,
From one contagious spore.

Condemned to grim existence,
To live in banished state.
Uncleanness in persistence,
A leprous reprobate,
Thus damned to keep his distance,
No fellowship partake.

But while outside the garden,
The Priest-Physician came.
My heart I could not harden,
Against that healing reign.
My sin-contagion pardoned,
The antidote acclaimed.

How good to make distinction,
To judge the whole from maimed,
The swelling leaven lengthened,
In quarantine contained,
In hope to make extinction,
Of hell’s infectious flame.

There is no toleration,
For what the Father quells.
Disease and desecration,
Forever burn in hell.
But Christ redeemed our station,
The Hope to make us well.

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2 thoughts on “Leviticus 13:1-46: Leprosy

  1. Leviticus 13 is the chapter that details how priest should deal with skin disease. So what relevance does this have on us today? Well, besides the fact that on face value this passage is sound medical advice, it also does have spiritual applications. Skin diseases were used by God throughout the Bible as punishment for particularly bad sins (Mariam — Numbers 12:10, Gahazi — II Kings 5:27, Uzziah — II Chronicles 26:20). In many ways, these infectious skin disease do paint a striking parallel to the infectious and putrid nature of sin. Interestingly, these instructions give no way to heal these skin diseases, they only provide a way to diagnose the disease. The person is then pronounced unclean, and exiled. The priest could offer no hope to the infected person. In fact, throughout the Bible, only one person was mentioned who could give any hope to such an infected person — Jesus Christ. Isaiah predicted that the Messiah would be able to heal the leprous, and indeed when Jesus came He did just that. This is only further illustration that the priesthood, and the sacrificial system could grant no real hope for the sinner — someone trapped in the infectious and addictive cycles of sin. Jesus Christ is and has always been the only hope we have of ever become clean.

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  2. In my own family, skin disorders seem to reflect inner turmoil and stress. This helps me to appreciate the concept, new to me, that the “leprosy” discussed in Lev. 13 was not the main issue of concern, rather the problem was the contagious sins of the heart that broke out in a visible way on the epidermis of a broken person. I see several reasons for isolation of one so afflicted, first to protect the community from the inner corruption that could affect them all. But also to give the hurting person time and space to come clean with God and be healed. I wonder whether the Levites served a counseling role during the seven days of quarantine. I see them interceding with God on behalf of the sinner (as Moses did for Miriam in Numbers 12:10) and interceding with the sinner on behalf of God, as Jesus does. “Your sins are forgiven, go and sin no more.” A serious business, as Pastor Nate so rightly observed. God has blessed us with His Word, the most wonderful diagnostic manual imaginable and also loving brothers and sisters to help us overcome the spiritual blindness we all suffer from. Praise be to God our Father in heaven who loves us so much that he gave His only Son that we might have eternal life, free of inner and outer corruption and death.

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