Most teachers believe that verses 1-15 refer to discharges from infections, or perhaps sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea, while the other discharges covered in Leviticus 15 are flows from the natural functions of the body.
No doubt sanitation and personal hygiene were factors for these laws, and a woman on her menstrual cycle was protected and given an aspect of rest during what can be some difficult days.
All in all God was setting His people apart with constant reminders of their call to be holy…it would consume their lives. They didn’t have showers or washing machines, and most did not have multiple changes of clothing back then. Imagine the inconvenience of having to wash both body and clothes, and then the requirements of the law in taking your sacrifice to the Tabernacle and having to go through all the meticulous details described in order to restore your fellowship with God!
Imagine the heartache of the woman with a flow of blood and therefore unclean for 12 years! No one could touch her or even sit on the same couch as her! With greater appreciation we then read that after all those years, Jesus healed her (Matthew 9:20; Mark 5:25).
O how grateful I am for Jesus who fulfilled the requirements of the Law on our behalf (Matthew 5:17; Colossians 2:14)
Again, we must constantly be reminded in covering these civil laws of Israel, that this type of specific legislation does not apply to us under the New Covenant – but there are principles to glean. How many times have we “touched” or gotten too close to sin? I’m reminded of Paul’s words to the Corinthians:
2 Corinthians 6:17 (NKJV) “Therefore ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.’”
Don’t even touch it.
Leviticus 16 covers Yom Kippur, also know as the Day of Atonement. Moses reminded Aaron, who was to relay the message to his sons, that entrance into the Most Holy Place was only allowed once a year and that had to be done right, lest they die.
The Most Holy Place was considered the very presence of God (at times the Ark of the Covenant is spoken of as God’s throne). Only the High Priest could enter into the Most Holy place, only on the Day of Atonement (once a year), and only with the right blood applied in the proper way. This would cover the sins of the nation for another year.
The Old Testament High Priests were only shadows of the substance – how one day Jesus would go before us as the true and eternal High Priest, with His own blood and make a way for all of us to enter in to the Most Holy Place by washing away all our sins. We read those words in:
Hebrews 9:11–12 (NKJV) “But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
Jesus’ blood is so strong to forgive, that now you and I who are Christians can actually enter in to the Most Holy Place with boldness! A careful study of the book of Hebrews makes all this completely clear.
Hebrews 4:14–16 (NKJV) “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
How easily we can drift into the rules and regulations of men, and make them more authoritative than the Word of God. That’s what happened to the Pharisees who had even developed a certain way of washing hands – something they made mandatory for themselves and others. When they criticized Jesus’ disciples for not washing their hands according to their standards, Jesus used this opportunity to rebuke them for their hypocritical ways. They had developed a law called Corban, teaching that rather than honoring one’s parents, they could take those resources and give them as an offering to the Temple – Jesus summarized it in:
Mark 7:12-13, “then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, making the Word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.”
With their lips, they sounded holy, but in their hearts, they were far from God. We all have to take that Spiritual MRI don’t we? We might say the right words the majority of the time, but what’s really going on on the inside? Jesus shared some heavy words in:
Mark 7:6–7 (NKJV) “He answered and said to them, ‘Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. 7 And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’’”
Jesus went on to teach that it’s not what goes into a man that defiles him, it’s what comes out of a man. Once again we’re reminded that the heart of the matter is the matter of the heart.
Warren Wiersbe put it this way, “Unless we are very careful, religious rituals can create serious problems. They may be given as much authority as God’s Word (v. 7) and even replace God’s Word (v. 9). They may give a false confidence that what you do on the outside will somehow change the inside. But the heart must be changed, and external rituals cannot do that. The heart can be purified only by faith (Acts 15:9).”
We continue in this Psalm which reveals that David had sinned (Psalm 40:12). The enemy is trying to capitalize on it and take David down; while God is disciplining him, perhaps allowing the opposition.
So David repents and David prays:
Psalm 40:13 (NKJV) “Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me; O LORD, make haste to help me!”
Psalm 40:14 (NKJV) “Let them be ashamed and brought to mutual confusion who seek to destroy my life; let them be driven backward and brought to dishonor who wish me evil.”
Let’s keep seeking the Lord (Psalm 40:16) and loving the Lord (Psalm 40:16) that we might bring Him glory and magnify His name (Psalm 40:16). Let’s make it our goal, our heart – not to sin, but if we have sinned, let’s not give up, let’s get up, look up, and lift up our voice to God…He is merciful and ready to pardon, if we are genuinely repentant.
1 John 2:1 (NKJV) “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
May God grant us understanding – to look under the law – not just what to do, but why we do what we do. May God teach us those Biblical principles as well as precepts, to know His will in the variety of situations we find ourselves in (Proverbs 10:13).
May we continue to be as teachable as spiritual sponges, and may God by His Spirit tame our tongues (Proverbs 10:14).
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.