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Hope To The Hopeless

Leviticus 14:1-10 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. "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.

In all the condemnation of leprosy, there is hope and that is what today's chapter is about.

Pretty or not, there is hope and there seems to be a deep meaning we can draw and what might that be?

As we studied in Leviticus 13, the leprous disease is akin to our sinful nature both before we know Christ and more specifically after we have been saved by His grace.

It is a condition similar to backsliding and is a state where we lose focus of the cross and slip back into our old sinfulness.

This shakes the very basis of our faith and questions the Bible claims that we are forgiven and cleansed permanently when we submit our brokenness before Jesus for His forgiveness.

Sin is not alien to us as we crave the carnal both before and after our salvation. The change of heart in us is God's working through His Holy Spirit that comes to live in us and our protection is by the covering of His blood that we willingly accept and exercise by reading His word and praying to Him daily.

When we slip from that covering, we crave the carnal and that is when we lose our footing. God does not fall short of His word in any way but it is us who chose to rebel from being submitted to His leading.

This is when we contract spiritual leprosy and need to be moved away from the body of believers for reflection of our sinfulness and for time away in God's presence to ask for forgiveness.

James 5:14 (ESV) Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.

For those of us called to speak correction into the lives of backsliding believers, we are called to do so in love as Christ loved us.

Condemnation is not something we can extol upon those who slip because we were once condemned and are now spared by the grace of God.

Like the priests who are called to visit the outcast lepers to inspect their healing, we are called to show mercy and admonish them as we would our own and not shame them or consider them our enemies.

2 Thessalonians 3:13-15 (ESV) As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.

When by God's grace the spiritual lepers are brought to repentance, they are to be treated with gentleness, joy and sincere affection and received as part of the body once again. This is what Paul orders about the excommunicated Corinthian that when he had given evidences of his repentance they should forgive him, and comfort him, and confirm their love towards him.

2 Corinthians 2:6-8, 10-11 (ESV) For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him... Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.

Finally, Matthew Henry states, 'Ministers are entrusted by our Master with the declarative power of loosing as well as binding: both must be done with great caution and deliberation, impartially and without respect of persons, with earnest prayer to God for directions, and a sincere regard to the edification of the body of Christ, due care being always taken that sinners may not be encouraged by an excess of lenity, nor penitents discouraged by an excess of severity. Wisdom and sincerity are profitable to direct in this case.'

I pray today the lesson we learn from the chapter will take us a long way in our walk as offenders or the offended in Christ and by the grace of God, we will be restored in relationship with our loving Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

In His Loving Service,

ServantBoy

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9.1.2011

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