Leviticus 14: The law of cleansing for Leprosy! “and blood and water flowed”

Songdove Books - Scarlet ThreadAs I sit down to write, my adrenal fatigue is in high form, complete with trouble cooking a simple dinner and breaking into tears praying at the dinner table.  The gentleness of the natural health regimen I can afford isn’t enough to combat some situations and today happened to be one of them.

I woke up thinking I could handle it, but even before I had my morning devotions, the frustrations began.  I went into prayer unloading on God, just letting out what had already transpired.  The goal was to unload and the frustrating feelings would pass over.  Unfortunately, I should have known that sadly, today would be different, and I opened my eyes to begin reading today’s chapter in Leviticus.

Chapter 14 continues God’s directives surrounding the management of leprosy within the nation of Israel.  In Chapter 14, directions are given to the priests involving the joyous occasion should a leper be pronounced healed and therefore clean and able to rejoin society.  Very early in the chapter, the following verses jumped out at me:

Leviticus 14:4-7  Then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop:  5  And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water:  6  As for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water:  7  And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field.

Specifically, the bits that jumped out at me were:

  • The cedar wood,
  • Scarlet,
  • Hyssop,
  • Running water,
  • The birds,
  • The number 7

I was reminded of several other verses of Scripture:

John 19:34  But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.

Joshua 2:21  And she said, According unto your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed: and she bound the scarlet line in the window.

Joshua 6:25  And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

Psalms 103:12  As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

The Cross of Christ was made out of wood.  We don’t know what kind of wood, but wood nonetheless.  When He gave up the ghost and died, the soldier that pierced His side, saw both water AND blood flow out.

Over and over in Scripture, God equates the number seven with purification.

2 Kings 5:10  And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.

2 Kings 5:14  Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

The passage above is one of the first times this concept is given.  As we know, seven is the number of completeness and purification.

We sing hymns talking of the cleansing available to us through the washing of the Word, of “stepping into Jordan” and coming out clean, etc.

Scripture overwhelmingly speaks of the cleansing power of Christ’s Blood, the Lamb of God, shed for the remission of sins, and that His blood washes away those sins, carrying them far from us, just as the sprinkled living bird was made to fly out over the fields and carry away the stain of sin.

Friday we celebrate Good Friday, the day we’ve set aside to honour and remember the eternal sacrifice Christ made for all mankind.  On that day, He became the sacrifice for sin and transgression or trespass as some translations put it.  On that day, He was the one laid on the wood and it was His blood shed for our sins.  Over and over in the Scriptures as well, we see God’s protection described as that of the wings of a protective bird.  That protection became available to us through Christ’s death on the cross.

As we pass through the cleansing crimson flow, we are given the Righteousness of Christ.

Isaiah 1:18  Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

Some scholars and theologians have followed the scarlet thread through Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, and the few verses quoted here are included in their commentaries.  There will come a day when the end of that thread will come into sight, and all who have been rescued by it, will be taken into eternity to forever be in God’s presence, enjoying Him forever!  Sadly, the scarlet thread won’t save everyone.  There have been down through the ages, and there will be right up to the moment Christ puts an end to satan’s sinful reign, those who refuse to hide behind the scarlet thread and stay hidden in Christ.  But for those of us who accept His gift of Salvation, repent of our sin and turn 180 degrees to walk and live Christ’s way, that scarlet thread will forever remind us of His sacrifice and all He did for us on the Cross of Calvary.

It is a joyous occasion when one who was ill becomes well again, and I can only imagine what it was like for a leper who overcame the illness and was rejoined to his family, friends and relatives.  Imagine the rejoicing, the tears, the dancing and singing!  God says there is much rejoicing in heaven when a sinner comes to Christ.

Luke 15:10  Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

Needless to say, when I read this morning’s chapter in Leviticus, I couldn’t help a spark of joy rise up within me at the prospect of celebrating Passover around our table once more.  As long and at times troublesome as my day was today, and has poorly as my body, mind and emotions handled it, I couldn’t let this day go by without sharing what this chapter meant to me!  The next few days as we head toward Resurrection Sunday are going to be busy as well, and I may be spending the remainder of Sunday and most of Monday recuperating from it all, but THIS WEEKEND is the very crux of all that God foretold and all He points back to as we head toward that final and forever reunion!

May God speak to you in deep and unforgettable ways this week.