In this study of Leviticus 12–15, we will be taking a step up and a step back the topics discussed. Some of it is unsettling, and it is easy to lose ourselves in some of the more distasteful details, while forgetting the important life lessons the Holy One of Yisra’el is communicating to us.
Cleanliness is next to Godliness, so the saying goes. There are things that bring us closer to God and things that move us away from God. There are things that happen to us that are beyond our control that can make us unclean before God, but there are also things that we do to ourselves that make us unclean. That’s the underlying message of the Torah reading מצורע Metzora (“leper,” Leviticus 14–15).
Without Yeshua the Mashiakh (Jesus the Christ), we are basically “the walking dead.” Does God want us to “come as we are” and “stay as we are”? No, God wants to bring us up and if we claim to be the sons and daughters of Israel, we should be willing to follow God’s instructions to elevate us from our base selves to His higher self.
Life starts with contamination. It starts out dirty. Childbirth is messy. It’s not sinful; it’s just a fact of life.
The general Bible term for infections of skin and surfaces is “leprosy,” but it covers a host of conditions. It’s also a good parable for “rot” in our character — if the lesson isn’t taken too far.
The Torah reading תזריע Tazria (“she will conceive,” Leviticus 12–13) is concerned about what is physically dirty vs. clean, but the LORD’s lesson for us is more than skin-deep.
Apostle Peter wrote that we are “living stones” in the house of God (1Peter 2:5). As we study Leviticus 14, think of yourself as you read about how a “leprous” house is cleaned.
Much of the imagery in this chapter matches the Day of Atonement. The theme of clean and unclean is repeated from Leviticus 13. Only the priest can decide what is clean or unclean, not a king, a governor or an individual.
In Leviticus 10, Aharon (Aaron) and his sons were ordained as priests. In Leviticus 11-12, they are charged with teaching the people of God to distinguish holy from unholy, “clean” from “unclean.” Once we have been taught by our High Priest, Yeshua the Mashiakh (Jesus the Christ), about what is holy and clean, we need to live in that truth. From this we learn how holiness can be just skin-deep if the heart doesn’t change.
In 2nd Kings 5, we should see a connection between Yeshua (Jesus) and Elisha the prophet. Aramite captain Naaman, a pagan, was not the only one being examined in his healing from leprosy. The king of Israel and Elisha’s servant Gehazi were also being examined or tested.
In an account of Yeshua’s healing 10 lepers, only a Samaritan, a “foreigner,” returned to give God praise. Both Naaman and the Samaritan paid spiritually by having to acknowledge that salvation comes from Israel, not from their false views of God.
The Torah has a reputation of being offensive, but it is always truthful. The words in Deuteronomy center on God’s statutes, judgments and commandments. When we come to understand and hear God, we start to ask God why? He says, “because I love you.” Why does He punish us? Because He loves us.
A phrase is repeated more than 15 times in Deuteronomy 7-8: “the LORD your God” (Deut. 7:1–2, 6, 9, 12, 16, 18–23, 25; 8:2, 5–7, 10–11, 14, 18–20). Moses reused this phrase repeatedly through the entire book. What does your God do? He delivered them from the house of bondage, no one else did it. No Moses, nor Aaron, nor Miriam, God did it. He is not just Moses’ God but also the God of all of them.
We see in Deut. 7:2 that there were certain nations God would deliver to the people of Israel. These specific nations were under a ban: a ban against mercy, against any covenant or any association whatsoever. Everything these particular nations have done is an abomination to God.
God told them that the house of Israel did not earn God’s favor based on their large size (Deut. 7:7–8). He actually chose them because they were smaller than the nations that God has commanded them to utterly destroy. He chose them because of the promises He made to their forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
God said He “repays those that hate Him to their faces” (Deut. 7:10). When He responds, He responds quickly. They would know their punishment did not come from any other source because it would be so serious. If you want to make sure you’re on God’s side, you should keep His commandments, statutes and judgments (Deut. 7:8–11).
God says that when they go into the land, He will go before them to disposes the evil people who are there, just as He used mighty miracles and wonders to bring them out of Egypt (Deut. 7:15–24). He tells them God says he will sent out a “hornet” (צִרְעָה tsir’ah, Strong’s lexicon No. H6880) against them (Deut. 7:20). The root of this word is צָרַעַת tsara’ath (Strong’s H6883), which is a reference to leprosy, which is a plague or disease. Just as a bee sting is quick and immediate, the “hornet” or plague that God will send out against the evil people in the land would also be quick, devastating and supernatural.
God told the people to destroy all the ritual objects these people used to worship their abominable gods, and even the gold and silver was under a ban to be destroyed so they would not be a snare or a temptation to them to use those things to worship God (Deut. 7:25–26).
Moses told them that God had tested them over these past 40 years to test, humble and prepare them for taking the land of promise from the evil, horrible nations currently occupying it (Deut. 8:1–2). He was testing them as to whether they would keep His commandments or not. He tested them with some adversity to see if they would follow Him only when life was easy, smooth and comfortable or whether they would persevere in tough times too.
God had given them manna in the wilderness for 40 years (Ex. 16:35), but those years were not years of abundance. It was nutritionally enough, but He gave them just enough for substance but not abundance. If they tried to save any manna for the next day, it turned rotten (Ex. 16:19–21). The only exception was on Friday when they could save some for the Sabbath (Ex. 16:22–30).
God also preserved their clothing, which never wore out. Their feet did not swell or get blistered so they were able to travel long distances without suffering (Neh. 9:21). The manna and the clothes that never wore out were to test and humble them.
God warned them that once they move into the land, not to fall into the temptation of assuming that their newly found abundance and comfort is from their hands and not His hand. God is the one who brought water out of the rocks, it was not always there.
He promises to give them a land that had plenty of all the good things they would need to survive. He calls on them to totally take it and possess it, but He also calls on them to remember where the blessings really originate.
God warns them that if they become proud and forget the true source of their blessings, they would get into trouble.
“When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you.” (Deut. 8:10)
If they assume to take credit for our jobs, homes, intelligence, etc. and fail to acknowledge the God who gave them those gifts, they are in danger of falling into the temptation to idolize themselves and end up becoming as bad or even worse than those who God had to throw out of the land before them. God warns them that if they turn into the people they are throwing out, God will have to throw them out too.
Reader: Dave De Fever. Speaker: Richard Agee. Summary: Tammy.