Disease Details

Whitney Capps

Day: 18 | Plan: Leviticus-Hebrews

Today's Reading: Leviticus 13

Leviticus 13:46 (NIV) “As long as they have the disease they remain unclean. They must live alone; they must live outside the camp.”

This section of Leviticus outlines the contaminating effects of skin diseases. For Israel, leaving an invasive, contagious disease unchecked meant endangering the entire nation. Skin diseases could spread with catastrophic consequence. 

Here we see that the priests were entrusted not just with the spiritual health of the people but their physical health as well. God takes great lengths to train the priests and define the diseases that threatened Israel.

It may not be enjoyable to read about swelling, scabs and sores, but remember that God has a plan that is bigger than just the spread of disease. 

Certainly it was possible for this ever-faithful God to protect them from disease in the first place. That would be much easier than teaching them to inspect these skin sores. But easiness rarely leads to holiness.

There is a more important lesson for them and for us. Teaching them to be attentive to the potential threat of spreading contagions reminds them of a greater spiritual lesson—sin spreads and corrupts if left unchecked. God wanted His people to vigilantly protect themselves against the spread of sin. He didn’t want them overlooking its initial symptoms and underestimating its devastating appetite.

The priests were not just to acknowledge the presence of threat, but also to deal with it quickly and decisively. Those who were under observation were placed in isolation outside the camp. Their condition was to be named and acknowledged by the whole community.

This may seem unnecessarily harsh to you and me. But God is never unnecessarily harsh. When our belief about God is in conflict with the rest of Scripture, we need to reevaluate our conclusion. Our discomfort is not a reflection on the character of our loving and tender God. 

Our discomfort is a reflection on us. Do we want to allow for small sins or excuse “innocent” offenses? God communicated in no uncertain terms the threat that complacency posed to the community.  

Again, the theme of Leviticus, calling God’s people to holiness, steps on my toes. Sin spreads, corrupts and devastates. God takes it seriously, so should we.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I need to take a closer look at what infects my life, and be more vigilant in separating myself from the threat. Give me a discerning heart to see clearly and act swiftly so that I can grow in holiness. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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To be forced outside the camp was a devastating consequence for the infected member of the... Read More

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