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December 2, 2018

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year

Text: 1 Corinthians 12-14
Audio: 1 Corinthians 12-14

You can use the audio Bible as a guide to help “set the pace” as you read along.

Leviticus 14 (ESV)

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “This shall be the law of the leprous person for the day of his cleansing. He shall be brought to the priest, and the priest shall go out of the camp, and the priest shall look. Then, if the case of leprous disease is healed in the leprous person, the priest shall command them to take for him who is to be cleansed two live clean birds and cedarwood and scarlet yarn and hyssop. And the priest shall command them to kill one of the birds in an earthenware vessel over fresh water. He shall take the live bird with the cedarwood and the scarlet yarn and the hyssop, and dip them and the live bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the fresh water. And he shall sprinkle it seven times on him who is to be cleansed of the leprous disease. Then he shall pronounce him clean and shall let the living bird go into the open field. And he who is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes and shave off all his hair and bathe himself in water, and he shall be clean. And after that he may come into the camp, but live outside his tent seven days. And on the seventh day he shall shave off all his hair from his head, his beard, and his eyebrows. He shall shave off all his hair, and then he shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and he shall be clean.

10 “And on the eighth day he shall take two male lambs without blemish, and one ewe lamb a year old without blemish, and a grain offering of three tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, and one log of oil. 11 And the priest who cleanses him shall set the man who is to be cleansed and these things before the Lord, at the entrance of the tent of meeting. 12 And the priest shall take one of the male lambs and offer it for a guilt offering, along with the log of oil, and wave them for a wave offering before the Lord. 13 And he shall kill the lamb in the place where they kill the sin offering and the burnt offering, in the place of the sanctuary. For the guilt offering, like the sin offering, belongs to the priest; it is most holy. 14 The priest shall take some of the blood of the guilt offering, and the priest shall put it on the lobe of the right ear of him who is to be cleansed and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot. 15 Then the priest shall take some of the log of oil and pour it into the palm of his own left hand 16 and dip his right finger in the oil that is in his left hand and sprinkle some oil with his finger seven times before the Lord. 17 And some of the oil that remains in his hand the priest shall put on the lobe of the right ear of him who is to be cleansed and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot, on top of the blood of the guilt offering. 18 And the rest of the oil that is in the priest’s hand he shall put on the head of him who is to be cleansed. Then the priest shall make atonement for him before the Lord. 19 The priest shall offer the sin offering, to make atonement for him who is to be cleansed from his uncleanness. And afterward he shall kill the burnt offering. 20 And the priest shall offer the burnt offering and the grain offering on the altar. Thus the priest shall make atonement for him, and he shall be clean.

21 “But if he is poor and cannot afford so much, then he shall take one male lamb for a guilt offering to be waved, to make atonement for him, and a tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil for a grain offering, and a log of oil; 22 also two turtledoves or two pigeons, whichever he can afford. The one shall be a sin offering and the other a burnt offering. 23 And on the eighth day he shall bring them for his cleansing to the priest, to the entrance of the tent of meeting, before the Lord. 24 And the priest shall take the lamb of the guilt offering and the log of oil, and the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the Lord. 25 And he shall kill the lamb of the guilt offering. And the priest shall take some of the blood of the guilt offering and put it on the lobe of the right ear of him who is to be cleansed, and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot. 26 And the priest shall pour some of the oil into the palm of his own left hand, 27 and shall sprinkle with his right finger some of the oil that is in his left hand seven times before the Lord. 28 And the priest shall put some of the oil that is in his hand on the lobe of the right ear of him who is to be cleansed and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot, in the place where the blood of the guilt offering was put. 29 And the rest of the oil that is in the priest’s hand he shall put on the head of him who is to be cleansed, to make atonement for him before the Lord. 30 And he shall offer, of the turtledoves or pigeons, whichever he can afford,31 one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering, along with a grain offering. And the priest shall make atonement before the Lord for him who is being cleansed. 32 This is the law for him in whom is a case of leprous disease, who cannot afford the offerings for his cleansing.”

33 The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 34 “When you come into the land of Canaan, which I give you for a possession, and I put a case of leprous disease in a house in the land of your possession, 35 then he who owns the house shall come and tell the priest, ‘There seems to me to be some case of disease in my house.’ 36 Then the priest shall command that they empty the house before the priest goes to examine the disease, lest all that is in the house be declared unclean. And afterward the priest shall go in to see the house. 37 And he shall examine the disease. And if the disease is in the walls of the house with greenish or reddish spots, and if it appears to be deeper than the surface, 38 then the priest shall go out of the house to the door of the house and shut up the house seven days. 39 And the priest shall come again on the seventh day, and look. If the disease has spread in the walls of the house, 40 then the priest shall command that they take out the stones in which is the disease and throw them into an unclean place outside the city. 41 And he shall have the inside of the house scraped all around, and the plaster that they scrape off they shall pour out in an unclean place outside the city. 42 Then they shall take other stones and put them in the place of those stones, and he shall take other plaster and plaster the house.

43 “If the disease breaks out again in the house, after he has taken out the stones and scraped the house and plastered it, 44 then the priest shall go and look. And if the disease has spread in the house, it is a persistent leprous disease in the house; it is unclean. 45 And he shall break down the house, its stones and timber and all the plaster of the house, and he shall carry them out of the city to an unclean place. 46 Moreover, whoever enters the house while it is shut up shall be unclean until the evening, 47 and whoever sleeps in the house shall wash his clothes, and whoever eats in the house shall wash his clothes.

48 “But if the priest comes and looks, and if the disease has not spread in the house after the house was plastered, then the priest shall pronounce the house clean, for the disease is healed. 49 And for the cleansing of the house he shall take two small birds, with cedarwood and scarlet yarn and hyssop, 50 and shall kill one of the birds in an earthenware vessel over fresh water 51 and shall take the cedarwood and the hyssop and the scarlet yarn, along with the live bird, and dip them in the blood of the bird that was killed and in the fresh water and sprinkle the house seven times. 52 Thus he shall cleanse the house with the blood of the bird and with the fresh water and with the live bird and with the cedarwood and hyssop and scarlet yarn. 53 And he shall let the live bird go out of the city into the open country. So he shall make atonement for the house, and it shall be clean.”

54 This is the law for any case of leprous disease: for an itch, 55 for leprous disease in a garment or in a house, 56 and for a swelling or an eruption or a spot, 57 to show when it is unclean and when it is clean. This is the law for leprous disease.

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Next: Leviticus 15

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  1. Restoration

    In the previous chapter, we learned that those with a leprous disease were to live alone and dwell outside the camp away to avoid contaminating others (Leviticus 13:46). In today's chapter, we learn of the restoration of those who have been healed. 

    Assimilation back into the community was not instant. The priest had to confirm the disease was gone and then had to perform rituals to make atonement for the one being restored according to what God had commanded. The priest did not heal the person or treat him but was responsible for performing the offerings on behalf of those who were healed. 

    Once the rituals had been performed, the priest then went to the home to make sure his environment was safe and would not contaminate him once he has been declared clean and it was safe to return home. If the home was contaminated, the contaminants had to be removed. If the contaminates persisted, the home needed to be destroyed. 

    This reminds me of prisoners who are incarcerated (forced to live apart from the general public) and live outside the "camp" in a place where rehabilitation and healing can take place (in a prison cell). Even though a prisoner is being punished for wrongdoing, the hope is for restoration and assimilation back into society when they are released. 

    Before a prisoner can be allowed to return home, a "ritual" of assessment must be made to determine if his release is appropriate. When a prisoner is released and returns home after spending time incarcerated, their environment plays a huge role in whether they will end up contaminated again and back in prison. For many, once they go back home and back to their old, contaminated environment, old habits return and they find themselves contaminated and in trouble once again. 

    People have a lot more success continuing to live "clean" when they stay away from places which contaminate them. While ultimately we are all responsible for our actions no matter what our environment, staying away from places which corrupt us is wise. That is at least part of the reason the priest makes sure the person with the leprous disease goes back to a home which will not contaminate him all over again.

    In the context of the church, there are times when excommunication is necessary – where someone is forced to "live outside the camp" away from the community.

    Our Lord Jesus describes such a situation in Matthew 18:15-17, "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector."

    In writing to the church in Corinth, the Apostle Paul writes of someone who was excommunicated from the church in 1 Corinthians 5:1-13, "It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father's wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.

    3 For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. 4 When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

    6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

    9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. 'Purge the evil person from among you.'"

    We learn in Paul's second letter to the church in Corinth that this person repented and Paul encouraged the church to restore him back into fellowship with the church. 2 Corinthians 2:5-8 says, "Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. 6 For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, 7 so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him."

    The hope of any disciplinary action is repentance, rehabilitation, and restoration, whether that is in the court system, in churches, in our homes or with ourselves. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), but sometimes it takes intervention, incarceration or excommunication for repentance, rehabilitation, and restoration to occur. 

    We need to remember that we all have "leprous diseases" and as such, we all need God to cleans us.

    If you are not born again, your leprous disease (sin) is keeping you from fellowship with God. You need Christ to cleans you from all unrighteousness so you can be forgiven of your sins and brought into fellowship with the Father. You do this through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. You must repent, turn from what is contaminating you, controlling you, and causing you to rebel against God and reject His provision for your salvation and turn to Christ in faith for your forgiveness and restoration.  

    If you don't repent, believe in Christ, put your faith in Him and trust Him for your salvation, then you will never have fellowship with God and for eternity you will be outside of God's camp in eternal torment in hell. As hard as that may be to read, it's true.

    If we are born again, we have been cleansed of leprous disease of sin through faith in Christ and are in fellowship with God and will be with God for all eternity. Even though we will not be condemned to hell for past, present, or future sin, in order for us to enjoy fellowship and peace with God, for us to grow in our love for Him and others, and be filled with and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we need ongoing cleansing for the areas of our lives which contaminate us. 

    Even though we are forgiven once for all when we put our trust and faith in Jesus Christ, we still need to repent when we sin, turn from our sin and have our relationship with God restored because we will always be prone to contamination. It's in our nature and although we have been set free from the power of contaminants, that doesn't make us immune to it's corruption and consequences. 

    If we are in Christ, sanctification is God's process of cleansing us from everything that contaminates our relationship with Him. This process begins the moment we put our faith in Christ and are born again and it continues throughout our journey as God's children.  

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