Outbreaks & Contagions

Read: Leviticus 13-15

I admit that I have always found Leviticus puzzling and dull to read through in the Bible. The law laid out isn’t a fun read to me. I just kind of bear it. This year as I walked through Leviticus, I saw it from a different perspective.

In Leviticus 13-15, for example, we read about what to do in order to be made clean before God due to illness (which isn’t an intentional “sin”). Being sick as I read it, this stuck out to me. I didn’t get sick on purpose, after all. Like all good germophobes, I did all I could to avoid sickness. In Levitical times, not only was the sick person declared unclean, anything that touched the sickness was also declared unclean. When the sickness had finally run it’s course, the unclean one(s) were instructed to make a sin offering before they could be right before God again.

Along the same vein, God had a lot to say about mold, mildew and fungus. There were rules upon rules of what to do and not to do when it came to the likes of mold, mildew, and fungus – on leather, on fabric, on houses. And there was a ritual that had to be observed before something that had been infected was declared clean again. Not the most engaging and riveting read, I know, but stick with me because…

As I continued reading, I began to see Leviticus less as the rule book I had always viewed it and more as a visual of how infectious sin is by demonstrating how quickly and easily it can transfer to someone or something else – like illness, like mold, like mildew, like fungus! And God provided this visual at a very strategic time in His children’s history. He was in the process of giving His kids the land He had promised their forefathers; a land flowing with milk and honey, yes, but also infected with idolatry and every form of sin known to man.

It was as if God was saying, As you take possession of this land I promised you, be careful. Sin is contagious – like illnesses. Like mold and mildew. Like fungus. And while you’re cleaning the place of this stuff, I don’t want you to become i n f e c t e d by it.

Now, read Matthew 27.

Thought to Ponder

How does the Matthew 27 text correlate to the reading in Leviticus?

I am embracing feedback this year, so please share yours in the comments – the good, the bad, the indifferent! I’d love to hear your perspective.

Technically Speaking

I wonder how often I blunder God’s plans and He graciously intervenes. I imagine its way more than I would think – and I think it would be a lot.

I’m “feeling” Abraham this morning (Genesis 20). Maybe a little too easily. Abraham got off on a technicality. Technically speaking, Sarah was Abraham’s sister. They had the same father, but different mothers (Gen. 20:12). He didn’t lie. He technically told the truth. He just didn’t tell the truth in it’s entirety.

And because he skirted the whole truth, it almost cost someone else their life. Wait, not just someone, but a LOT of someones. That’s because…

Sin always comes at a price.

Abraham spoke a half-truth hastily out of fear (Gen. 20:11) and the consequences of that sin would have cost others the ultimate price, except…

God is a God of Grace.

On the other side of the equation was Abimelech and his people. We’re not told much about them other than Abraham didn’t see a fear of God in his land. In today’s culture, people are quick to point out God’s justice (or His perceived injustice) when sin comes to collect. I fall prey to that head-scratching theology sometimes myself. But here, in the first book of the Bible, only 20 chapters in, we see God protecting – not just His children (Abraham, Sarah), but those caught in the crosshairs of His children’s sin (Abimelech, his people).

Some Points to Ponder

What role does the nature of “technicalities” play in our own lives when it comes to speaking the truth (the whole truth)? Do you see any possible consequences (to ourselves? to others?) when we let ourselves off on technicalities?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. I’m embracing feedback in 2018, so please leave yours in the comments – the good, the bad, the indifferent.

On Becoming an Overcomer

Source: Unknown

Read: Genesis 3:1-5:32

Reflect: Wow.

In humanity’s infancy, sin had already made it’s mark. While still in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve knowingly disobeyed. Outside of the Garden of Eden, the first generation of offspring chose to deal with anger by murdering. By the time Adam’s and Eve’s redemption baby was born (Seth), “people began calling out the name of Yahweh.” (Genesis 4:26) Things were desperate. And that was all within the first 130 years of existence!

Tucked neatly in the middle of this passage is this little nugget:

“…if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. It’s desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” Genesis 4:7b HCSB

What a picturesque glimpse of the destructive tactics of this “thing” that plagues us all – sin. Other translations paint an even more vivid portrait of our nemesis, so much so that you can see in your mind’s eye a lion ready to go in for the kill –

NLT – “Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be it’s master.”

International Standard Version – “Sin is crouching near your doorway, turning toward you. Now as for you, will you take dominion over it?”

G0d’s Word Translation – “Sin is lying outside your door ready to attack. It wants to control you, but you must master it.”

Apply:  So, what am I to do to prevent sin’s death pounce? If sin is crouching at my door, I can choose to close the door. I can choose not to let it cross the threshold. How?

  • I can take every thought captive. Don’t let any go astray or they will wander to the door and let sin come in and devour me. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
  • I can overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)
  • I can choose not to pay back evil for evil. (Romans 12:17)
  • I can leave judgment/vengeance to God. (Romans 12:19)
  • I can choose to love my enemies and do good. (Luke 6:35)
  • I can bless those who curse me; pray for those who mistreat me. (Luke 6:27-28)

The bottom line is that our salvation is found only in Jesus. He is the overcomer (I John 4:4, I John 5:5). It is through His power alone that we can become overcomers, too.

Ponder: Sin is crouching near your doorway, turning toward you. Now as for you, will you take dominion over it? (ISV-Gen. 4:7b)

More: I found Patheos an excellent resource for practical tips that I can implement immediately in overcoming sin here.

I’d love to read your feedback – the good, the bad, the indifferent. Please share your thoughts in the comments.