January 8, 2023
“The person afflicted with an infectious skin disease is to have his clothes and his hair hanging loose, and he must cover his mouth and cry out, 'Unclean, unclean!'”
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“The person afflicted with an infectious skin disease is to have his clothes and his hair hanging loose, and he must cover his mouth and cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean!’ He will remain unclean as long as he has the infection; he is unclean. He must live alone in a place outside the camp.” Leviticus 13:45-46
Sociologists have described this generation (especially the 18-25 yrs) as the “most narcissistic” in history. That is to say, everything in our culture is focused on the individual. Our “I-centered” culture is quickly losing all sense of Biblical community.
Perhaps, that is why “community” ranks high on the aspirations of so many people. “Me-centric” worlds promote profound loneliness. Who can you trust to have your best interest in mind when everyone lives only for himself? Perhaps, a more important question is: Does God most value the individual or the community? I say both.
Jesus prayed for all believers, “I wish that they were one, as You and I are One.” John 17:21
Given our breakdown of community, is it any wonder why chapters like this one in Leviticus seem so foreign? We tend to feel sorry for the individual and picture ourselves running through the streets screaming, “Unclean!”
For a moment, try taking an elevated view of what God is doing. He is protecting Israel, preserving the PEOPLE (community) of the promise. He is also showing the importance of separating sin from the community. He is teaching the importance of accountability, and, perhaps more importantly, He is making provisions for restoration.
Jesus told His disciples, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees.” Matthew 16:6
Leaven is a symbol of sin, which spreads. Perhaps Leaven is more synonymous with a philosophy than an action because it grows in secret. An excellent picture of “leaven” is mold or a virus…something you cannot see, yet grows to a point where it cannot be denied.
There are times when people with persistent sinful philosophies, ideas, and willful actions MUST be put out of the church…hopefully, for just a season. It protects both the COMUNITY and the INDIVIDUAL. Individuals are then to be observed by the leaders. Unrepentant or unbelieving people will never return to Godly community.
True believers cannot survive long-term, away from Godly community. Eventually, they will repent. Godly church leaders should recognize true repentance and receive the returning prodigal with great joy. A repentant sinner, restored, is now a potentially productive member of the community.