Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Arc de Triumph

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Canonical Reading Plan for Feb 4, Lev 11-13.

Today's readings are Lev 11-13.

In these three chapters, we see the rules for what is clean and what is unclean. They cover the entire spectrum of the basic daily experiences of life:  birth, death, intimacy, health and food. 

Much has been speculated concerning the nature of what can and cannot be eaten in Lev 11. Clearly, scavengers and bottom feeders are cited as unclean. Still, trying to categorize the edible and the inedible misses the point. God's people are set apart for His purposes. They will not live like the rest of the world lives. They will strive to lead holy lives under the direction of God, abiding by His commandments, even down to their dietary options. Oddly enough, most modern analysis has proven that the foods prohibited in Lev 11 are unhealthy while the foods permitted are healthy and wholesome. Many of the prohibited species are prone to having parasites and toxins in their systems.

Furthermore, we see that God is concerned with every facet of His people's lives, not just the sacrifices they offer to Him. He is concerned for their health and well-being. If those who are His people in some manner become physically unclean, He offers a remedy for their uncleanness through a ritual cleansing. He is also concerned with the spiritual purity and holiness of the camp. If someone becomes unclean, they are to remain apart from the camp lest their unclean nature affects others.

The males are to bear the mark of their God from birth (Lev 12:3), further showing they are set apart and dedicated to Him. This is neither an option offered to them nor a decision they make. It is by God's decree and according to His will. 

Much time is spent describing the procedures for leprosy. Leprosy is a destructive, consuming and highly contagious affliction, similar in many ways to sin. A leper must be examined by the priest. Everything touched by leprosy must be removed and burnt. The priest's responsibility is to ensure that all signs and evidence of the leprosy are removed before the individual can be restored to fellowship.

These passages make a powerful statement. Clean living preserves the individual but also protects those around him. Unclean living and disease not only impacts the individual but can infect those around him. The priests are charged with separating and cleansing those who are unclean. This responsibility applies to physical impurity but it will be made clear that it applies to spiritual impurity as well.

Notice the attention to detail God pays throughout all these seemingly arcane rules and regulations. The Jews understand that God wants to permeate every detail, every area of their lives. His plan is to make them holy, bring them into fellowship with Himself and bless them eternally, making examples and messengers of them. Their job is to be the evidence of God’s presence and power in the world.   

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