Read Leviticus 14 -- 15
In Today 's Reading:
Purification after having skin diseases; signs of leprosy; uncleanness of men and women; sacrifice for cleansing from defilements
When an Israelite was pronounced a leper, God said: The priest must pronounce him unclean. . . . his clothes must be torn, his hair must be disheveled, he must cover his mouth, and he must cry out, Unclean! Unclean! . . . He must live . . . outside the camp (Leviticus 13:44-46). To express his extreme grief and deep humiliation, this poor, wretched person had to pass through the camp for one last time, crying: Unclean! Unclean!
When leprosy first appears, it seems harmless - just a small white or pink spot on the skin and, in its earliest stages, it is totally painless. The spot might remain for months or even years before it begins to develop further. Eventually, leprosy produces an extremely repulsive disfigurement of the entire body, including spongy tumor-like swellings on the face and head. The movement of joints causes deep, painful, bleeding fissures. The fingers and toes become misshapen, rough, and ragged. The fingernails swell, curl up, and fall off. And, as leprosy progresses, the flesh develops offensive, running sores, and the gums begin to bleed. Eventually, the body's extremities fall away. As the years pass, the leper becomes thin and weak, plagued with diarrhea, an incessant thirst, and burning fever.
Leprosy illustrates how insignificant a sin may first appear, but how dreadful, loathsome, and fatal it finally becomes. Sin immediately separates us from God, for we are "unclean." People controlled by sin exist in a state of living death, unless they turn to Christ, truly repent, and forsake their sins. During the ministry of Jesus many lepers were healed, which attested to His deity. Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they will be like wool (Isaiah 1:18). How happy is the man whom the Lord will never charge with sin! (Romans 4:8).
Before Jesus came, only two recorded cases of leprosy were ever healed - Miriam (Numbers 12:10-16) and Naaman the Syrian (II Kings 5:1-14), both of whom were sovereignly healed by God. The blood of Jesus . . . cleanses us from all sin (I John 1:7).
By the priest who made atonement for the leper (Leviticus 14:20). Christ made atonement for our sins. We also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation (atonement) (Romans 5:11).
Government Officials: Rep. Vern Ehlers (MI) and Rep. Jim Turner (TX) · Country: Niger (10 million) west-central Africa · Major languages: French and Hausa · Christian evangelism is limited · 89% Muslim; 10% animist; .4% Christian · Prayer Suggestion: Pray for the Lord's mercy to cleanse us from all sins (Psalms 51:2).
Optional Reading: Mark 9
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:8