Over the years, I have been witness, and party, to many disgusting things. I don’t remember much during my childhood that was too bad, but I have been told I was something like monkey when it came to throwing certain things! However, adolescence is so difficult on all of us, right? The hormones and chemicals start flowing and create havoc on a soon-to-be-dating teenager. You remember, don’t you? The painful little demons that popped up Friday morning and had white heads just before you left for the game or date? Maybe it doesn’t matter to kids as much these days, but it was HORRIBLE back in the day. So when I read in Leviticus on the passages about skin diseases, which are not all leprosy, some sound a lot like zits.
9 “Anyone who develops a serious skin disease must go to the priest for an examination. 10 If the priest finds a white swelling on the skin, and some hair on the spot has turned white, and there is an open sore in the affected area, 11 it is a chronic skin disease, and the priest must pronounce the person ceremonially unclean. In such cases the person need not be quarantined, for it is obvious that the skin is defiled by the disease.
18 “If anyone has a boil on the skin that has started to heal, 19 but a white swelling or a reddish white spot develops in its place, that person must go to the priest to be examined.
Can zits make me unclean in the sight of God? It sure did with the girls!
I was walking through a house that had been involved in Katrina and discovered mildew. I don’t know what kind it was and it doesn’t really matter. It was a frustrating moment for the owners who were required to change several walls of sheet rock. It had spread so quickly in the humid air. All of the sheet rock had to be cut out and removed. Were these people now unable to live in the house? If anyone goes in they are unclean until the next day?
44 the priest must return and inspect the house again. If he finds that the mildew has spread, the walls are clearly contaminated with a serious mildew, and the house is defiled. 45 It must be torn down, and all its stones, timbers, and plaster must be carried out of town to the place designated as ceremonially unclean. 46 Those who enter the house during the period of quarantine will be ceremonially unclean until evening, 47 and all who sleep or eat in the house must wash their clothing.
Sometimes scripture is difficult to understand in our times. What does this mean for me today? At first blush the rules God instituted at this point seem ridiculous. However, God was doing this for more than just “because I said so”. because of the lack of cleansers, the people’s health was in danger. If they were contaminated, making them ceremonially unclean actually kept the diseases from spreading. When the nursery at your church posts signs during these months telling you to keep children at home if they have had a temperature with 24 hours is for everyone’s benefit. Sure, it is inconvenient but necessary.
So what can we learn from these strange passages of scripture? When we look back from our New Testament mentalities we often cannot decide on any reasons. Jesus came to fulfill the law and the prophets. If that is the case, then aren’t all these passages useless to us on this side of the cross? I believe God has inspired all of the Word as valuable to us. So, here are three principles:
- We must yield to the sovereignty of God. God says it. We do it.
- We must be willing to be different when God demands it.
- We must remain alert to what is sinful.
God is holy. God is also practical. Following God’s rules for our lives is critical to spiritual and physical health. While we may have overcome zits, mildew, and other disgusting stuff with our knowledge and technology, there are more items to deal with today. Follow these three lessons to maintain a healthy life.