"THE DAY OF HIS CLEANSING."
I. THERE WAS NO HUMAN CURE FOR LEPROSY.
A. Thus it is interesting that God would provide a law for the leper in the day of his cleansing.
1. God was leaving the door open for Him to manifest His divine grace in cleansing the leper.
2. When Peter asked Jesus, "Who then can be saved?" Jesus answered, "With man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible.
3. I am glad that God leaves the door open for Him to transcend the laws of nature, as we understand them, and gives Himself latitude to do what He pleases, as He pleases, and when He pleases.
B. Leprosy has long been considered as a type for sin.
1. It destroys by a slow rotting process.
2. It leads to death.
3. It deadens the senses.
a. Because a leper often had no fingers or toes, some were even without hands or feet. The notion was created that somehow their fingers fell off.
b. What they have discovered is that the leprosy first kills the nerve cells so that the leper felt no pain. The flesh would rot, and the smell of the rotten flesh would attract rats which would eat the flesh, but the leper felt no pain, so did not know that the rats at night were eating their toes or fingers.
c. Sin deadens your senses.
1. People are being destroyed and do not even know it.
2. They have discovered that the pleasure center in the brain is toward the top and back of center.
3. That pleasure center when stimulated creates such a strong desire for more stimulation that it over powers the reasoning capacity of the brain.
4. Dr. Lorraine Day in her book on the subject of Aids, said that the desire of the gay men for sex becomes greater than their desire for life. Thus they engage in practices that they know can have deadly consequences.
5. Leprosy began at the body extremities and gradually rotted away the flesh until a vital organ was reached.
d. Sin will gradually eat away at your life until it finally reaches your heart.
e. At that point you become totally given over to sin.
1. Leprosy was always progressive. It is only in the last 60 years that they have developed medicine that can arrest the progress of leprosy.
f. Just as leprosy, sin is progressive.
g. You may start off with just a small infraction, but it grows.
h. You can start by just stealing pencils from the office and end up stealing computers.
1. Everything that the leper touched became unclean.
i. This is so true of the sinner; he pollutes everything that he touches.
j. Sort of like cigar smoke.
1. Leprosy on the human level is incurable. Since Dr. Hansen isolated the leprosy bacillus, great strides have been made in creating medicines that can arrest the progress of leprosy, but as yet there is no actual cure.
k. Sin is incurable on the human level.
l. There is nothing that you can do that can atone for your sin.
1. Your good works are as a filthy rag in the sight of God. Your best efforts are an effrontery unto Him.
2. There are no laws that can make a man righteous. "If righteousness could come by the law, then Christ died in vain."
C. Yet God made a law for the leper in the day of his cleansing.
1. This tells us that God can do what no man can do.
2. He can cleanse a man from leprosy.
3. He can cleanse us from our sins.
II. THE LAW OF THE LEPER IN THE DAY OF HIS CLEANSING.
A. The first step was to be examined by the priest who came outside of the camp to meet him.
1. If upon examination he was found to be healed, then he was to bring two live birds, scarlet, cedarwood, and hyssop.
2. One of the live birds was to be killed under running water which was to be caught in a clay bowl. The blood of the bird was thus mingled with the water. Then the live bird with the scarlet, cedarwood, and hyssop were dipped into the blood and water mixture, and the live bird was set free.
a. At this point it is interesting to note that when Jesus was hanging on the cross when He cried, "I thirst." they dipped hyssop in vinegar to give him a drink.
b. When the Roman soldier thrust his spear through His heart there came forth blood and water.
c. I would not be surprised that when we get to heaven we discover that the cross was made of cedarwood.
3. The bloody water was to be sprinkled on the formerly leprous man seven times by the priest, and as he pronounces the man clean, he then released the live bird that had been dipped in the bloody water.
B. For a moment put yourself in the sandals of the leprous man.
1. You have noticed a little blotch on the back of your hand, and at first you think nothing of it, but then it doesn't seem to go away.
2. Then you notice that the hair in the blotch is turning white.
3. You go to the priest to have him examine it, and he puts you in a segregated place for seven days. If upon the second examination the sore has spread, then you hear the words of the priest that sound like a death sentence, "You are unclean."
4. You must move from your family, and outside of the camp. When people approach you, you are to cry to them, "Unclean, unclean."
5. All of your plans and hopes for the future are suddenly wiped out. You face a lonely bleak future. It is sort of a living death.
6. After a few of years, you wake up one morning and you notice the skin has turned white, you call for the priest to come and examine you again, this time he smiles and declares, "You are clean."
7. It is at this point you must bring the two birds with the scarlet, cedar wood and hyssop.
8. You have the clay bowl in which you kill the one bird under running water. The priest then takes this bloody water mixture and sprinkles in on you seven times, and pronounces you clean.
a. Can you possibly imagine what your emotions would be when you heard those wonderful words? "You are clean."
b. Then as the live bird that was dipped in that bloody water is released and flies away, the blood splattering from his wings, you feel suddenly a great freedom, freedom to be all that God has wanted you to be.
c. No longer a living death, no longer must you cry unclean.
d. You are clean!
e. It is the same emotion that David felt when the prophet Nathan had come and faced him with his sin. The prophet told a parable to which David declared concerning the guilty party, "That man shall surely be put to death." and the prophet answered, "David, you are the man." David then confessed, "I have sinned." And the prophet answered, "God has forgiven your sin." David then exulted, "O how happy is the man whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
f. It is a terrible thing that sin is doing to you. It is eating away at your life. It has put you outside the family of God. It has filled your life with uncleanness. And you may not even be aware of it, because it deadens your senses, and your uncleanness begins to spread all around you.
g. Jesus Christ as the priest comes outside the camp not to see if you are healed, but to heal you. The priest did not go out to heal the man, but to see if he were healed.
h. You can hear Him say those glorious words to you, "Your sins are forgiven you." Be free from that power that has been destroying you."
i. The Bible tells us that if we say we have not sinned, we are liars and the truth is not in us, but if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
j. You can hear those glorious words of Jesus today, "You are clean, be free."
k. The heavy load of guilt can be lifted, and you no longer need to be ostracized but can fellowship in the family of God and live now in the freedom of the Spirit.
l. With David you can cry, "Oh how happy is the man whose transgressions are forgiven. Who is free from the chains that once bound him.
9. Finally the priest took some of the blood of the trespass offering and put it on the tip of the right ear, the right thumb, and the large toe on the right foot. He then does the same with the pint of oil.
a. The blood represents the cleansing, and the oil represents the anointing of the Holy Spirit for service.
1. My ear anointed, that I might hear the voice of the Spirit as He would guide me in my service to God.
2. The right thumb, that I might do the work of the Lord.
3. And the large toe on the right foot, that I might walk in the path of the Lord.
b. The whole idea being, my life was ruined by my sin. I had become an outcast. I had become unclean, and everything I touched, or everything that touched me became unclean. I was as good as dead.
c. God by His wonderful grace and miraculous power had cleansed me from my sin and had given me a new life.
d. I now owe my life to Him to serve Him. Paul asked, "Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit that is in you, you are not your own, you have been bought with a price, therefore glorify God both in your body and your spirit, which are His.