Leviticus 13 recounts God’s laws concerning leprosy. Leprosy, or Hansen’s Disease is a need dear to my heart.
Let me explain … While God has allowed me to go to Africa twice to work alongside and support the vision of other ministries, my earliest prayer to go to Africa was because I desired to go love and minister to those trapped by the bondages that come with Hansen’s.
The door has not opened in that area and it has been so long ago that I prayed those prayers. There is a tendency to think we have missed it. There is a tendency to just quit talking about it. In fact most of you don’t know this about me…but now you do. And you should know also that deep in my heart I do still believe, in God’s timing, I will be involved in some way in this very specific Gospel work. We do tend to forget…but God…He reminds me every single 2/22 when we come to this passage!!!
Leprosy or Hansen’s Disease
Tens of thousands of people in our world still suffer from leprosy. This bacterial infection not only affects the skin and destroys nerves, but it also brings incredible, unbearable shame for many who get sick.
Because the disease affects the nervous system, the areas of a person’s body affected with leprosy become numb to many things that ordinarily cause pain. When people suffering from leprosy no longer feel pain, they easily injure themselves. These injuries can become infected, resulting in tissue loss. Ultimately, people with leprosy can lose portions of their fingers, toes and even limbs.
The social stigma can be devastating—perhaps even worse than the disease itself. In their time of need, men, women and even children may be expelled from their homes and shunned by their community when leprosy is discovered on their bodies. Sometimes even those that do not have this disease are ostracized and required to live separated because a member of their family is diagnosed.
Leprosy can be cured without permanent damage if medical help is sought immediately. Unfortunately, the shame and social stigma surrounding the disease can cause leprosy to be viewed not as a curable disease but as a curse. In remote places and among the poor, diagnosis and treatment often come too late.
It is found in parts of Angola, Brazil, India, Mozambique, Nepal, and Tanzania and is still prevalent in some countries such as Madagascar, Nigeria, DR Congo, South Sudan and Burkina Faso.
Look at the Pictures
I highly suggest that you google “leprosy” and look through some of the images to see the effects of this disease that we read about today in scripture. It will give you a picture of not only of the potential affects of the diagnosis but also why precautions that seem so harsh to those of us in the modern western world had to be made in Bible times to prevent the disease from spreading.
Read the Scriptures
Once you have seen the pictures and read in Leviticus 13 the laws regarding leprosy suddenly scriptures like Matthew 8:1-4 really come to life. At least it did for me…
“When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.”
I like this verse from Leviticus. When God sends His fire something happens. Here He sent His fire and ALL the people saw it, shouted, and fell on their faces. ALL the people!!!
For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. ~ Isaiah 66:2
To whom will God look?
• The poor.
• The one that is of a contrite spirit.
Contrite – having sincere remorse; filled with a sense of guilt and desire for atonement
• The one that trembles at His Word!!!
Tremble – to shake involuntarily with quick, short movements, as from fear, excitement, weakness, or cold; quake; quiver. To be troubled with fear or apprehension.
This verse of scripture has been on my heart for a while. It makes me wonder when was the last time we trembled? When was the last time I truly trembled — at His Word?
And the Lord called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the Lord, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock. ~ Leviticus 1:1-2
Is anyone out there reading the One Year Bible? If you are, you know that for the last few days we have been reading in Leviticus 1-5 about the 5 major Old Testament sacrifices/offerings. Hard reading to stay engaged in but I hope you didn’t skip what God laid out for us. I found it all absolutely fascinating.
I also think it is important to know about these offerings since they are mentioned throughout the Old Testament and provided a way for the Israelites to get into and keep a right relationship with God. These sacrifices provide us with a description of the sacrifice Jesus Christ made for us. They also show us a pattern for our own approach to God.
1. Burnt Offering – Leviticus 1 – Voluntary act of worship. Atonement for unintentional sin in general; expression of devotion, commitment and surrender to God. Bull, ram or male bird is offered – only offering to be totally consumed on the altar with nothing eaten by men. First offering mentioned by name in the Bible (Genesis 8:20) Most common offering mentioned in Bible. (197 times)
2. Meat Offering – Leviticus 2 – Voluntary act of worship; recognition of God’s goodness and provisions; devotion to God. It was a sweet savor to the Lord. Indicates a living sacrifice. Grain, fine flour, olive oil, incense, baked bread, salt offered – accompanied burnt and fellowship offering. Only offering made without the shedding of blood and without an animal sacrifice.
3. Peace Offering – Leviticus 3 – Voluntary act of worship; thanksgiving and fellowship as it included a communal meal. It was the only offering in which the offerer could eat of the meat of the sacrifice. Any animal without defect from herd or flock offered.
4. Sin Offering – Leviticus 4 – Mandatory atonement for specific unintentional sin; confession of sin; forgiveness of sin; cleansing from defilement. Dealt with the sinner and the problem of sin. Indicates payment for the sin nature. Required offering and not a sweet savor. Young bull for high priest & congregation offered. Male goat for leader. Female goat or lamb for common person. Dove or pigeon for the poor. Tenth of an ephah of fine flour for the very poor.
5. Trespass Offering – Leviticus 5 – Mandatory atonement for unintentional sin requiring restitution; cleansing from defilement; make restitution. Required offering; not a sweet savor. Dealt with particular sins. Indicates the forgiveness of committed sins. Pay 20% fine. Ram or lamb offered.
Other offerings are mentioned in the Mosaic Law. However, each of those offerings will come under one of the five major offerings.
How the offerings point to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for us:
Burnt Offering – Jesus Christ surrendered Himself entirely to God being fully consumed in His commitment (Philippians 2:6-8)
Meat Offering – Jesus gave Himself as a living sacrifice. He continually did the will of the Father (John 4:34)
Peace Offering – Christ made peace with God on the behalf of man (Ephesians 2:13-14)
Sin Offering – Jesus atoned for our fallen sin nature on the cross. He satisfied the wrath of God (Isaiah 53:10-11; Hebrews 9:26)
Trepass Offering – Jesus Christ paid for our individual sins by His death on the cross (Hebrews 10:12)
How the offerings point to the way we approach God:
Trepass Offering – We realize the guilt of our sins and our need for forgiveness of our sins in Jesus Christ (1 John 2:2)
Sin Offering – We need a power that can even conquer our sin nature or else we will lose our salvation as soon as we gain it (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Peace Offering – We find that through the cross of Jesus Christ, He opened the way for true fellowship with God (1 John 1:3)
Meat Offering – Through His obedient life, Christ shows us the way to be a living sacrifice for God (Romans 12:1)
Burnt Offering – We find the greatest blessing in being fully consumed in our commitment to God (Philippians 2:17)