Leviticus 14-15
(Additional Rules for Cleanliness)
February 1st

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

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Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verses

On the eighth day they must bring them for their cleansing to the priest at the entrance to the tent of meeting, before the Lord. The priest is to take the lamb for the guilt offering, together with the log of oil, and wave them before the Lord as a wave offering.

- Leviticus 14:23 (NIV)

Summary of Chapters

These two chapters continue the definition of rules for cleanliness with a focus on cleansing of healed lepers, moldy homes, and bodily discharges.

Chapter 14 explains the intricate set of rules for cleansing of a person who has been healed from leprosy (or other skin diseases). After they are healed they are instructed to meet with a priest outside of the camp for inspection and ceremonially cleansing. The ceremony included sacrifices, washing, and a special anointing. In the second half of the chapter the LORD looks ahead to the days when the Israelites are no longer living in temporarily erected tents. One day they will be in more permanent structures made of stone, wood, and plaster. When mold is discovered it also should be examined by a priest and subjected to a cleansing ceremony. Chapter 15 addresses the necessary cleansing after sexual relations and other bodily discharges.

Reflection and Application

The cleansing ceremony for the person who formerly had leprosy served several purposes. It celebrated the healing process and the reunion of the person back in to the community. The shaving of the body and washing of clothes symbolized the renewal of his or her life as an accepted citizen, and represented a fresh, clean start in the camp. You might have noticed that the swabbing of the ceremonial blood on the right earlobe, the right thumb, and the right toe was exactly the same as the process defined for the ordination of priests. The symbolism of the body parts is that the person was ordained and encouraged to hear God with his ears, perform Godís work with his hands, and walk in Godís ways. The right side of the body was chosen because that was assumed to be the stronger side (there was probably no recognition of southpaws in those days).

When we come to God in confession and seek spiritual renewal we may want to ask for the same type of blessing so that we can be strengthened to hear the LORD, do his work and walk in his way. We donít need an anointing by blood, but can receive anointing by the Holy Spirit.

A full understanding of all of the elements of the cleansing ceremony might require more than a single day of study. For instance, the reason for the use of a piece of cedar and scarlet material might baffle trained Biblical experts, so the rest of us folks should not feel inadequate if we don't fully understand.

The cleansing of the mold has practical and symbolic benefits. Note that the instructions guide the priest to make all attempts possible to restore the house. God does the same with our souls, helping us to strip down layers of moldy emotions so that we can build ourselves up with the freshness of his love and mercy. The rules for bodily discharges also had practical benefits. Clearly pro-creation is part of the Godís plans, therefore, relations between husband and wife are natural and not an unclean act, but there are some good reasons behind the rules laid out in this chapter.

The desire to be cleansed is emotionally expressed in Psalm 51:

    Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
       wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

    Let me hear joy and gladness;
       let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

    Hide your face from my sins
       and blot out all my iniquity.

    Create in me a pure heart, O God,
       and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

    Do not cast me from your presence
       or take your Holy Spirit from me.

    Restore to me the joy of your salvation
       and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

    - Psalm 51:7-12 (NIV)

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. What is the worst burn you ever had on your skin?
    2. What can we do so that we can hear the LORD better?
    3. How can we keep our feet aimed down the LORD's path?
    Recommended Prayer
    Father, please help us to hear you better and follow your path

    Suggested Prayer Concerns

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: Leviticus 16-18 (The Scapegoat)

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