We learned of the fate of one with leprosy last time. This time we see how they are to be cleaned of this disease.
We went into the story last time but we didn’t follow the cleansing through as well as it did the infection. We had our character, Mark, recover from his disease and be reunited with his family. We didn’t go into details what that reunion would have entailed. The reason for the “abbreviated version” was because I didn’t know what was called for because I hadn’t yet read today’s portion. If I had I would have seen all that was required and maybe done a better job at bringing our hero home.
Something that occurs to me about the cleansing of the leper is the cost one has to expend for his/her cleansing. God gave a less costly version but even that required quite a lot. This person has been living on the fringes of society the whole time they were showing the disease. NO ONE wanted to associate with them so how did they pay for their own needs, let alone save for the day they would be pronounced clean. Did the person’s family provide their sacrifice? I don’t see how they could have afforded it any other way. But did they also carry the stigma of having had the disease for the rest of their lives? Were the people instructed to welcome them back after the completion of their cleaning rituals? What happened of someone was destitute and had nothing to give for their cleansing? Would they remain “unclean” because they could not afford their offerings? Would the church pitch in or “hang them out to dry?
It seems fitting that this ceremony would last a long time. The act of pronouncing a person clean or unclean took quite a bit of time. Upon first suspicion to final answer could take up to two weeks in which the person was isolated for watching the disease progression. I appreciate that they were let back into the camp right away, even if they couldn’t sleep in their own bed for a week. They got to be closer to their family than they previously were.
How often did leprosy remit in bible times? What was its cure rate? Was it a rare occurrence for a person to return from the leper camp or a standard event? Did the doctors in Israel learn how to cleanse someone from leprosy or was it always a miracle?
Weather the return was rare or common, the ritual was extensive and it began outside the camp. Even though the leper was healed he couldn’t come back into the camp and walk into the Tabernacle. The priest came out to him. Then two birds were used symbolizing death of his old life and his new freedom (or that is what I read into it). There were two baths, two times to shave (last one a COMPLETE shave), and two more sacrifices. The first offering was a sin offering to restore the person with God and the second a burnt offering to show the restored relationship and give thanks.
Father God, thank You that there is restoration. Thank You that I am not without hope and neither was the person found unclean due to leprosy. You made a way for them to be restored. Thank You that You are able AND WILLING to do what man cannot. You are able to heal where no doctor or medicine can; in the heart as well as in the body.
Thank You for bringing my family here safe and sound. Help me with my energy level during their visit. Watch over my mother in law’s brother as he is again in the hospital. Heal him completely Lord. And help tomorrow be a great day for the baby shower I’m hosting. Let it bless our newest grandbaby on the way. Forgive me for being so brief in our time together. You know my energy is spent. And THANK YOU for giving me quiet time to be with You. I honestly didn’t think that would happen at all.