But today, as we are practicing social distancing and all eyes seem to be glued to a screen for the latest update on a disease that is spreading rapidly through the world, I decided to pick up where I'd left off.
Only God knew that the next post would be on a chapter that deals with HIS instructions regarding the spread of a disease that was as concerning to the Israelites as COVID-19 is to the world today. The insights I'm sharing are from my study of this chapter a couple of years ago, updated with some clarity our current situation brings:
Leprosy is used in several passages in the bible to represent sin. It's a pretty good analogy. Like sin, leprosy begins with a small spot and grows slowly, often without the person even being aware. But it causes the body to deteriorate and eventually destroys everything it touches.
This instruction was clearly intended to be taken literally, with Aaron or his sons actually inspecting skin lesions and determining on the basis of the specific criterion listed whether the individual was clean or unclean. It was also an illustration that the people of God were to be set apart, holy, and above reproach.
But the application to us today is that we present ourselves to our Great High Priest, Jesus, and allow Him to examine our hearts as carefully as the Israelite priests examined the skin. We are to consider any small spot of sin that has appeared in our life and deal with it before it spreads. We must recognize the destructive nature of sin and actively work to prevent its spread in our life through confession and repentance.
As many of us gather around a screen to hear from God's Word today, rather than worshiping together, we have probably learned more about the spread of infection in the past week than we ever cared to know. We have learned how easily infection can grow exponentially. How destructive it can be. How lives are at stake.
Friends, sin follows these same patterns. It spreads unseen and unrecognized through pride, anger, selfishness, and idolatry. When it finally breaks out in ways that are visible, its destruction can get out of control quickly.
Just as the Israelites identified as lepers were barred from worship in the sanctuary, sin prevents us from full participation in worship. But Hebrews 10:20-21 tells us, "Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water."
Wash your hands. But first ask Jesus to cleanse your soul.