Tuesday, 11 February 2014

(43) February 12: Leviticus 14 & Matthew 26:55-75

Ask God to open your mind, heart and will to understand, delight in and obey what you read.

To discover:­­
As you read note what here makes the unclean person clean.

To ponder:
God makes the broken whole. That’s the sense as those who were once unclean are restored to fellowship with God and the community through these regulations. They do not heal the person, but are for those already “healed” (14v3). It seems rather elaborate. However the detail would have been an immense assurance to those previously unclean, and made a strong statement to the wider community that the person is now “clean.” The number seven symbolised completion or perfection. So the sprinkling seven times with blood reflects the complete cleansing of the infected person. The releasing of the live bird dipped in blood perhaps brings home their freedom from all the signs of death that result from the fall. Significantly, the need of healing implies that God’s covenant promise of prosperity and life in the land didn’t mean there would be no sickness, as some who
teach the so called “prosperity gospel” today suggest.
            The washing and shaving of those being cleansed once more powerfully proclaims that absolutely nothing unacceptable can come close to God for worship. As there is no suggestion the infection is normally a result of sin, the offerings are for the individual’s sin in general as they take their place again as a worshipper. However, if the infection was a penalty for sin (as Num 12v10-15, 2 Chr 26v19-23), these offerings would then be an expression of faith in God for forgiveness for that sin.
            The regulations about houses are similar to previous regulations. If the problem persisted after a week, the infected parts of the house would be removed. If there was then no change, the house would be destroyed. If all was well, it would be cleansed by the same means as people, except for the sacrifice at the altar. Perhaps these regulations hint to how the land itself can be defiled by Israel’s sin. They remind us that our ultimate destiny is a new creation filled with the glory of the Lord. It, as well as his people, will on that day be perfect, clean and fit for his presence.

Praying it home:
Praise God for the perfect new creation we will one day inhabit with him. Pray for Christians you know who are sick, that they would see their sickness as part of this fallen world order, and rejoice that the Lord will one day rid them of all illness and infirmity.

Thinking further:
None today.

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