February 12 | Daily Devotion

February 12 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“The person to be cleansed must wash their clothes, shave off all their hair and bathe with water; then they will be ceremonially clean.” ~Leviticus 14:8

The rituals detailed in Leviticus 11-17 are foreign to us, but they still convey meanings that are comprehensible across cultures. Think of American customs like fireworks displays, the Thanksgiving meal, or the pledge of allegiance, which express attitudes about freedom, history, and national pride that can be understood by people in other nations, even if an explanation is necessary.

Here then is the explanation of Leviticus 14. The “cleansing rituals” are not magical cure-alls, nor are the priests magicians. The ministers of God went out to confirm that a healing had taken place, to insure that it was permanent, and to celebrate with the healed person! The special ceremony for cleansing after a skin infection gave visual representation to the reality of healing. The disease (and perhaps impending death) was gone, taken away as if on the wings of a bird (Lev. 14:5-7)! This was something to celebrate!

The concept of “clean” and “unclean” is even applied to homes. Cleanliness was a way of life in the worshipping community because the practices reminded the people that they worshiped a holy God (read: clean, free from any defect). One commentary summarizes Leviticus 11-17 this way: “God’s desire is for clean people in a clean world.”[1] That’s how God wanted things in the beginning. Thus, Israel’s worshipping community is a visible proclamation of God’s desire to restore creation.

While the rituals of the old worshipping community do not bind the modern church, there is something here worthy of our reflection. Diseased bodies and dilapidated buildings symbolize a fallen world. God’s ultimate plan is the restoration of all creation from these bodies in which we live to the world in which we will dwell (Matt. 26:63-64). Until then, to the degree that we can live our lives pointing toward a God who loves beauty, wholeness, “cleanness” (holiness), we should. Healing or restoration in any form (body, home, family, possessions, etc.) is cause for celebration and praise!

[1] G. J. Wenham, J. A. Motyer, D. A. Carson, R. T. France, eds., New Bible Commentary:   21st Century Edition (Leicester, England:   Intervarsity Press, 1994), 141.

Lectio Divina  is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of  Calvary Church  in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of  A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.