In keeping with Levitical law the isolated soul announced their closeness to those who would want to avoid them.
Closeness? They hadn’t been able to be close to any one for years because of their condition.
The list of people that would want to avoid them was too long to remember any way and even if any one did want to be around them, the law would not allow a relationship. It’s sad that a law meant to bring fulfillment brought isolation, fear and continual, daily rejection.
After all, how close would one want to be to some one whose hand they could not hold? The leprosy had devoured their fingers. Who would want to walk with someone that had no toes? Walking is next to impossible without toes. (Heaven knows we surely can’t be seen with some one who can’t walk well; what would our Christian brothers & sisters think?) Besides all that, who would want to carry on a conversation with someone whose saliva carried with it the dread malady; why take the chance of infection by getting close enough to hear what they had to say? What could they have to say any way? The isolated life of a leper couldn’t change that much; there would be no news to share.
The putrid, ulcerated sores dripping noxious body fluid all over them made the bravest of hearts fear the nearness we all long for as people.
The other missing appendages dispatched those who thought themselves to be some kind of a hero coming to the rescue of the afflicted. The missing nose, the wheezing of air with each infectious breath, the absence of an ear or two, the blank stare of the eyes long ago assaulted, the horrible stench of decay accosting those who inadvertently came too close. Watching from a distance those who had this disease, as they hurt themselves; the nervous system expired and now that person would always be doing things that would cause “normal” people to feel pain; there was nothing “normal” about these lepers.
Or was there?
That leper is “me”, it’s “you”, it’s “us”. Period. Only the Pharisee will deny any connection to the life of a leper. Which is symptomatic of leprosy any way; with no ears to hear, damaged eyes that don’t see as they once did, an impaired nervous system we no longer “feel” about certain things as we used to, the Pharisee in us crosses the street of life when we hear those words; “Unclean, unclean.” We’ve forgotten where we have been saved from, or worse, we pretend we were never there, or worse still; we are convinced we have never known the life of a leper.
“Divorced! Divorced!” Cries the infectious single mother. Behind her are her two small children, one from each father, proclaiming; “Illegitimate! Illegitimate!” says the one; the half brother/sister bewails; “Unloved! Unloved!”
“Crack head! Crack Head” they seem to be bragging. The ones who use drugs could be saying, and rightly so; “Anesthetic! Make me numb!” “My nervous system isn’t completely gone and the pain I feel is more than I can bear.”
“Drunkard! Drunkard!” He bellows as he staggers through another day of hopelessness and despair. Why are you a “drunkard”? “Because I’m divorced” “Why are you divorced?” “Because I have a wretched heart infected with selfishness and no hands to hold on to the love of my life any way.” “Why did she leave?” we enquire, not really to know her reason, but more to blame him for it. “Because she is ‘unclean, unclean’”.
The law states clearly that they are to announce their arrival. The law also states that we are not to touch them. The law.
We’ve taken this to a heart breaking extreme, because you see, Jesus touched the leper; He violated Levitical law to do it, (rather, He fulfilled it, we only think He broke it because our finite understanding of “fulfill” is “unclean, unclean”).
He still does and few things delight Him more than to know that He still may……He wants to use your hands to do it.
YES!!!!!!!! No, I didn't read this article before writing my devotion this morning! :)) This is just how our God works! Oh my, you said it brother, so clearly! We have all been there!!!!!!!!!! I am going to suggest that others read this article! God is so good!!!!!!!!!!! I love how He confirms His Word - His message for the day! God bless you, YSICJ, Jounda
Don, I happened upon this article after reading Jounda's posting and you both have done a good thing with these. 'There but for the grace of God go I', yet we aren't there yet. Even if we think we are. It's a good thing to be reminded of where we are, who we are, and Whom we are with. Thanks! Beth
That salvation in Christ is only by grace finds manifold dimensions of expression, reading this interesting input, understanding "unconditional love" of God in Chirst Jesus is fundamental to meaningful life. How else can we measure up?