Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of Leviticus, which was written and recorded by Moses the servant of the LORD. More specifically, today’s passage begins with the twelfth chapter and continues through to the thirty-second verse of the fourteenth chapter off this Old Testament book. LOOKING UPON THE SURFACE! SEEING WHATS BENEATH THE SURFACE! ARE YOU ABLE TO LOOK BEYOND THE SURFACE? ARE YOU ABLE TO LOOK BEYOND WHAT YOUR EYES CAN SEE? LOOKING ON THE PLAGUE! DEEPER THAN THE SKIN OF THE FLESH! DEEPER THAN WHAT APPEARS ON THE SURFACE! WHAT LIES BENEATH! WHAT LIES BENEATH THE SURFACE! WHAT LIES BENEATH! WHAT SPREADS! CLEAN VERSUS UNCLEAN! PRESENTING YOURSELF TO THE PRIEST! THE NARRATIVE OF THE TEN LEPERS! WERE THERE NOT TEN THAT WERE CLEANSED? WHERE ARE THE OTHER NINE? HEALING IS POSSIBLE! CLEANSING IS POSSIBLE! THE PLAGUE OF SURFACE! THE PLAGUE OF COVERING! PRESENTING YOURSELF TO THE PRIEST! LETTING YOURSELF BEINF EXAMINED! ARE YOU WILLING TO LET YOURSELF BE EXAMINED? IN THE DAY OF HIS CLEANSING! When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the Lord continuing to speak unto Moses concerning that which causes a woman to be unclean—specifically after she has given birth to a newborn child. What makes the language and words in this passage of Scripture so absolutely incredible is when you think about and container the fact that a woman could give birth a child, and after giving birth to a child there is a period of time when she is unclean. If she gives birth to a male child she is unclean for seven days, and during those seven days she can touch no hallowed or sacred thing, nor can she go up unto the sanctuary. It isn’t until the eighth day that she is to take the male child which was born unto her and have the foreskin of his flesh circumcised in order that the rite of circumcision which was given unto Abraham might be fulfilled. What’s more, is that if you continue reading within the twelfth chapter you will find that after the foreskin of the child was circumcised she would continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days. It is during these days which the woman is also prohibited from touching any hallowed or sacred thing, and it is during this time when she cannot come into the sanctuary to worship before the living God. If, however, the woman bears and brings for a maid child or a daughter, she is unclean for a. Period of two weeks, as in her separation, and will continue in the blood of her purifying three score and six days or sixty six days. Pause for a moment and consider the fact that regardless of whether a woman bears and brings forth a child she is unclean for a specific period of time ordained and appointed by the living God and can neither come into the sanctuary, nor touch any sacred or hallowed thing.
As you continue reading the words which are found in these chapters you will find that after the days of her purification are finished—regardless of whether they be after the birth of a son, or the birth of a daughter—she is to bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtle dove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation unto the priest. The priest would then take that which she brought as offerings unto the LORD and offer it before the LORD, and make atonement for her, and she shall be cleansed from the issue of her blood. Moses goes on to describe and declare that this is the law for she which hath born a male or a female child, and must be obeyed as a command proceeding directly form the Lord. If you go on to read even more you will find that Moses declares that if the woman is unable to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtle doves, or two young pigeons—one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering. The priest would take either the two turtle doves or the two pigeons and make an atonement for the woman, and as a result she shall be clean. It’s quite interesting to think about and consider that there were laws and statutes in place concerning a woman who has just given birth to a child—regardless of whether that child be a male or a female—and that after giving birth there was a period of uncleanness where the woman could neither touch any hallowed or sacred thing, nor could go into the sanctuary. For either thirty-three days or sixty-six days—depending on whether the infant born was male or female—the woman would remain unclean. Not only was there a period of time the woman was unclean after giving birth to a child, but after the days of her purification were completed she was to bring unto the priest at the Tabernacle offerings which would not only be a burnt offering, but also a sin offering to make atonement for her that she might be clean. How absolutely incredible it is to read the words which are found within these chapters and to think about and consider the fact that there were certain things which could make a woman unclean in the sight of the living God, and unclean before the priests—namely, the time of her flow of blood each month, as well as her giving birth to a child. The LORD revealed certain and specific times when a woman would be unclean—once each month during the flow of her blood—and again after she gave birth to a child.
I sit here this evening and I can’t help but think about the incredible reality that when you read the book of Leviticus you will be confronted with that which is unclean and that which is clean. In fact, the final verses of the eleventh chapter bring us face to face with the distinction we are to make between that which is clean and unclean, and that we would choose to refrain from touching that which is unclean. What so intrigues and astonishes me about the laws which the living God spoke concerning that which was clean and that which was unclean is that it was never—and I repeat never—up to man to determine and classify what was clean. If you read the words which are found within these chapters you will quickly come face to face with the awesome and incredible fact that it was never and would never be up to man to decide and determine that which was clean and that which was unclean. As you read the word which are found within the Old Testament book of Leviticus you will find that it was the LORD and the LORD alone who determined that which was unclean and that which was clean. What is so absolutely amazing and astonishing about this is that it wasn’t even as if the LORD kept the children of Israel in suspense concerning that which was clean in His sight versus that which was unclean. It would have been incredibly cruel of the LORD to Himself know that which was clean and that which was unclean, and to expect the children of Israel to abstain from what was unclean without letting them know. What’s more, is that it would be incredibly cruel of the LORD to know within Himself that which was clean and not reveal to the children of Israel that which they could touch and that which they could partake of. On the one hand—that which is clean had the potential to provide life and substance to the children of Israel, and even enjoyed by them—however, on the other hand—that which was unclean had the potential to defile, pollute and corrupt them. When we think and speak about the fundamental difference between that which is clean and that which is unclean it is absolutely necessary to think about and consider the fact that the Lord never expected us to make the distinction ourselves. The LORD never expected us to refrain from touching that which was unclean without speaking and revealing what was unclean in the first place. Knowing and understanding that which was clean and that which was unclean was never a mystery for the children of Israel—in the same way that for Adam and Eve there were tress in the garden from which they could partake freely of the fruit, but there was one tree in the garden which they could not partake of. Adam and Eve never had to guess or wonder what was acceptable for food and for life in the garden for the Living God had revealed it unto them. Conversely, Adam and Eve never had to wonder or even ask the living God what was prohibited for them to eat from in the midst of the garden.
When I think about the reality of that which was clean versus that which was unclean for the children of Israel I can’t help but think about the direct correlation and link that exists between the unclean and clean and that which was permissible versus that which was permitted by the living God in the garden of Eden. As early as the garden of Eden the living God revealed unto us what was good for us, and what was acceptable in His sight, while also at the same time revealing unto us that which was prohibited by Him, and that which we were to refrain and abstain from. Perhaps one of the most fundamental realities that surrounds the garden of Eden, as well as the creation of man is that it’s as if the living God revealed that which was clean and that which was unclean and asked us to choose. Although the language that is found in the Old Testament book of Genesis is not the same as what we find in the Old Testament book of Leviticus, we must recognize and understand that the principle is the same. There in the midst of the garden the living God allowed man to choose between that which they knew was good and permissible for them and that which was prohibited and restricted. The one reality and truth we must recognize and understand when thinking about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and all the other trees which were in the garden, as well as that which was pronounced as clean versus that which was unclean by the LORD is that everything comes down to a choice. The living God has revealed unto us that which was clean and that which was unclean and although He commanded us to abstain from touching and even partaking of that which is unclean, it’s as if everything stems around the option and ability to choose between the two. If we are being truly honest with ourselves the single greatest reality that surrounds that which is clean and that which is unclean is that the living God created us with free will, which means that we can either agree with what He has pronounced as unclean and abstain from it, or we can ignore what He has pronounced as unclean and either touch or partake of it. I can’t help but be reminded of the language which is found within the Old Testament book of Joshua, as well as the Old Testament book of First Kings. If you read the eighteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Joshua you will find Joshua present Israel with the ability to choose whom they would serve—either the gods from Egypt and the gods from the other side of the flood, or the true and living God—while in the Old Testament book of First Kings you will find Elijah presenting the northern kingdom of Israel making the same decision. What’s more, is that if you turn and direct your attention to the Old Testament book fo Deuteronomy you will find the same freedom of choice being given unto the children of Israel before they every entered into and came unto the land which was sworn on oath unto them by the living God. IN order to fully understand these chapters, and in order to understand the context and framework of this writing I would invite you to consider the words and language which is found within these chapters:
“See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; in that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and his statutes and His judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: that thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto Him: for He is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD share unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them” (Deuteronomy 30:15-20).
“Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve Him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt: and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers serve that we on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods; for the LORD our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed: and the LORD drove out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the LORD; for He is our God. And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot we’ve the LORD: for He is an holy God; He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that He hath done you good. And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the LORD. And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve Him. And they said, We are witnesses. Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel. And the people said unto Joshua, The LORD our God will we serve, and His voice will we obey. So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem” (Joshua 24:14-25).
“And Elijah came unto all the people , and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? If the LORD be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word” (1 Kings 18:21).
It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand that which is found within these chapters, for what we find within these passages brings us face to face with the awesome and incredible reality that when it comes to that which is clean and that which is unclean—everything comes down to a choice. The living God has revealed unto us His standard, and He provides us with the ability to choose based on what He has revealed unto us. CHOOSING BASED ON REVELATION! CHOOSING BASED ON THE REVELATION OF GOD! What we must recognize and understand is that our ability to choose cannot and must not be on our own definition of what is good and what is evil, nor even our own definition of what is clean and unclean. Please note that this isn’t to say that we don’t try and make our own judgments on what is good and what is evil, and what is clean and unclean independent and irrespective of that which the living God has revealed unto us through His word. This is what was so forbidden about the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for it didn’t just touch that which was good and that which was evil, but it touched the knowledge of what was good and evil. From the beginning of creation man has been given free will, and yet directly linked and connected to that free will is the ability to choose between that which the LORD has revealed as clean versus unclean, and that which is permissible and acceptable in His sight versus that which isn’t. The underlying concern and trouble is when we somehow think and feel the LORD is withholding from us that which has the potential to be desirable—and even enjoyable within our lives. IN all reality, we must understand that more often than not when we make a decision to choose between that which is clean and that which is unclean we make that decision on what we feel is best for us based on our own desires and pleasures. Very rarely will we make these decisions and judgments based on the word of God, and yet this is precisely what the living God asks and requires of us. That which the living God asks and requires of us is to hear what He has spoken concerning that which is good and that which is evil, and that which is clean and that which is unclean, and to choose based on the the revelation of His heart and will. Not only do we make the decision based on revelation, but we also make the decision based on our trust in the living God and that He truly does know what is best for us. When we read the words which are found within these chapters we must read them through the lens of God knowing what’s best for us, and our trusting that He does in fact know what’s best for us. When the living God revealed unto the children of Israel that which was clean and that which was unclean—it wasn’t that He was withholding certain things from them, but rather that He in fact knew what was best for them. The children of Israel not only had to choose between that which was clean and unclean, but they needed to trust that the LORD their God knew what was best for them, and that they chose based on His revelation. Perhaps the single greatest question is whether or not we trust the living God that He does indeed know what’s best for us, and whether or not we choose between that which is clean and unclean, that which is good versus evil based on His revelation through His word which is and was provided for and unto us. The living God has shown us what is good and what is acceptable in His sight, and He asks and requires of us to choose between life and death, between good and evil, between clean and unclean, and between blessing and cursing.
CHOOSING BETWEEN WHAT IS CLEAN AND UNCLEAN! CHOOSING TO BE CLEAN! IT’S NOT ENOUGH SIMPLY TO CHOSE BETWEEN WHAT IS CLEAN AND UNCLEAN, BUT WE MUST ALSO CHOOSE TO BE CLEAN OURSELVES. And she shall be clean. These are the final words which conclude the twelfth chapter of the Old Testament book of Leviticus. It’s actually quite astonishing and remarkable how this chapter ends, for it ends with a wonderful promise that cleansing is indeed possible within the hearts and lives of Gods people. It was true that there were certain things which caused a woman to become unclean, and it was true that there were various other things which caused both men and women to be unclean. The absolutely wonderful reality when you read the words found within these chapters is that there cannot be and you cannot have a discussion about that which is clean and that which is unclean without also at the same time having a conversation concerning that which allows us to be clean before and in the sight of the living God. Oh it is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand that when we have a discussion and speak about that which is clean and that which is unclean we must also at the same time have a conversation about the fact that it is possible for us as the people of God to be clean. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely wonderful and tremendous reality, for while it is true that there were things that caused men and women to be clean and unclean, there were means and ways by which men and women could in fact be clean. The more I read and the more I consider the words which are found within these chapters the more I come face to face with the awesome and wonderful reality that it is indeed possible for us to be clean before and in the sight and presence of the living God. I am convinced that there is a great emphasis which is placed on that which causes us to become unclean in the sight of the living God, and there is a great deal of emphasis that is placed on distinguishing between that which is clean and unclean; and yet the underlying question I can’t help but come face to face with is how much emphasis we place on being clean before and in the sight of the living God. Please note that what I speak of is not merely being clean, but being totally and completely clean in the sight of the living God. If I were to ask you right now if you believed you were clean in the sight of the living God, would you have confidence to respond by stating that you most certainly are? I am completely and thoroughly convinced that it takes a great amount of confidence to emphatically state that you are truly clean in the sight and presence of the Lord—and not just clean, but clean indeed. In the New Testament we found Jesus declaring that He whom the Son sets free is free indeed, and I would like to take this reality and use it in direct connection with the reality of being clean in the sight of the presence of the living God.
If it is true that those whom the Son sets free are free indeed then I would strongly suggest that those who are clean and those who have been made clean by Jesus the Christ are truly clean indeed. Let me ask you a serious question upon reading the words found within this writing, and the question I can’t help but want to ask you is how much do you desire to be clean? What I speak of is not merely clean in your sight but clean in the sight of the living God and truly clean. If and as you read the words which are found within the thirteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel of John you will find Jesus laying aside His garments, taking a towel unto Himself and filling a basin with water. This did the Christ in order that He might wash the feet of the disciples. This did the Christ that He night wash the feet of that one who would betray Him, as well as that one who would deny Him. This did Jesus the Christ that He might wash the feet of those who would abandon and forsake Him. What is so absolutely wonderful and incredible about what is found within these verses is that when Jesus came to the feet of the apostle peter he initially tried refusing Jesus and the washing of his feet. To this Jesus the Christ declared unto him that if he die not wash his feet he would have no part in him. The apostle Peter quickly changed his tune, and not only asked that Jesus wash his feet, but also his hands and his head. What transpires next is truly remarkable when you think about it, for Jesus speaks unto the apostle peter about being clean in His sight and in His presence. What follows and transpires next is truly wonderful and remarkable, for what we find is Jesus speaking unto the disciples concerning their being clean—although there was one among them who was not clean. It’s quite the twist to find Jesus washing the feet of the disciples and then speaking unto them concerning being clean in His sight and in His presence, and that there was one from among them who was not clean. How absolutely incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that Jesus declared in the hearing and presence of the disciples that they were not all clean, for He knew in fact that one who would betray Him. It’s necessary to pay close attention to this reality, for it is this reality that brings us face to face with the awesome truth that it was possible for one to walk with and follow Jesus and yet not be clean. It was possible for Judas to walk with and follow Jesus and yet during the process of walking with and following Jesus Judas himself was not clean. Oh what a Redfin thought it is to think about and consider the fact that it was possible for one to walk with Jesus and somehow be unclean. With this in mind I invite you to consider the words which are found within the thirteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel of John beginning with the first verse of the chapter:
“Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour was come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end. And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him; Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He was come from God, and went to God; he riseth from supper, and laid aside His garments; and took a towel, and girded Himself. After that He poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded. Then cometh He to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto Him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto Him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto Him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered Him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter saith unto Him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to Him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every white: and ye are clean, but not all. For He knew who should betray Him; and therefore said He, Ye are not all clean” (John 13:1-11).
Pause for a moment and consider the words which are found within these verses, for what begins with Jesus laying aside His garments, taking up a towel and filling a basin with water to wash the feet of the disciples would ultimately culminate in the absolutely tremendous reality of Jesus declaring unto the apostle Peter that those who wash do not need to do anything else save wash their feet, but is clean every bit. Where Jesus takes the discussion next is actually quite unique and astounding, for within these words we find Jesus declaring unto Peter even further that they were clean, but not all of them. This seems like quite the intriguing and astonishing comment when you think about it, for it suggests the tremendous reality that there were those who walked with and followed Jesus the Christ and were clean, while not all of them were unclean. What’s truly interesting about what we find within these verses is that Jesus doesn’t go on to describe unto the disciples that one, or perhaps those ones who were not clean and needed to be cleansed. This is truly captivating when you take the time to think about it, for Jesus didn’t take the time to declare unto the disciples that they were clean, while not all of them were unclean. It’s almost as if there is a divine mystery between and among the disciples to determine who among them was unclean and who among them was clean. You will recall later on when Jesus declared unto them at the table of the Last Supper and Passover meal that one of them would betray Him, they all questioned and reasoned one with another asking who it was that He spoke of. What’s more, is that you will find the disciples turning one to another and asking if it was truly and indeed them who could betray Jesus the Christ. The exact language that is used was the language of “Is it I, Lord?” Take a step back and think about and consider this absolutely wonderful and incredible reality, for what we find within this encounter is quite astonishing as you consider the disciples asking among themselves whether or not it was one of them who would betray Jesus the Christ. Imagine hearing Jesus declare unto them that one of them would betray Him, and then proceeding to look upon yourself and speak with those before and around you wondering if it was you who was going to betray Him. It is this concept of “Lord, is it I” I would like to speak to concerning this matter of being clean versus being unclean.
The disciples each questioned and reasoned among themselves concerning who among them would betray Jesus the Christ, and they each asked if it was them, and I would like to take this a step further and consider it in light of the apostle Peter being told that they were clean, however, not all of them were clean. It is unclear whether or not the other disciples heard Jesus when He spoke these words, but I would dare say that there in the upper room when Jesus washed the feet of the disciples and spoke these words unto Peter, they all—each and every one of them heard what He said. Imagine being there in the upper room with Jesus and his disciples and experiencing Jesus coming unto you and washing your feet, and then hearing Him say that they were clean, however, not all of them were clean. I can’t help but wonder what when through the hearts and minds of the disciples when they heard those words. IF they responded to Jesus’ declaration that one from among them would betray Him by turning one to another and reasoning among themselves whether or not it was they who would and could betray Him—I wonder if they turned to each other there in the upper room and asked who among them was clean and who among them was unclean. What we learn from these verses is that Jesus doesn’t reveal who from among them was clean and who among them was unclean, and what’s more—He doesn’t even mention in direct connection to that one who would betray Him. The words we find in the eleventh verse are words which the apostle John wrote when writing this particular gospel account and narrative. It was John who wrote that Jesus knew who should betray Him, and this was the reason Jesus declared among the disciples that they were not all clean. I can’t help but wonder if the disciples knew and understood that which Jesus meant when He declared that not all of them were clean after Judas had betrayed Jesus into the hands of the chief religious leaders of that day and the small army of soldiers and guards they brought with them into the garden. Did Jesus’ words suddenly make sense while the disciples were present in the garden as Judas approached and come unto Jesus and betrayed him with a kiss—a token of fellowship, friendship and relationship? We are unclear whether or not the disciples every fully understood that which Jesus meant when He declared that they were not all clean, and there is a part of me that can’t help but wonder what went through the hearts and minds of the disciples when they heard that not all of them that were unclean. Was it just one that was unclean, or were there perhaps multiple among them who weren’t clean? What’s more, is who among them was possibly unclean in the sight and presence of Jesus the Christ, and in the sight of the Father? Were the disciples at all curious and concerned with the words which Jesus spoke as they wondered among themselves who was clean and who was unclean?
Within the narrative of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples we find Jesus speaking unto the disciples concerning those who were clean and those who were unclean, and it is this incredible context that I would like to help us understand the words and language which is found in the twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth chapters of the Old Testament book of Leviticus. The eleventh chapter of the book of Leviticus closes with the following words: “For I am the Lord your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. This is the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that move the in the waters, and of every creature that creepeth upon the earth: to make a difference between the unclean and the clean, and between the beast that may be eaten and the beast that may not be eaten” (Leviticus 11:44-47). You will notice within the final verses of the eleventh chapter that the living God not only declared unto the children of Israel that He was the LORD their God, but He also went on to instruct and declare unto them that they ought to sanctify themselves, and to be holy, for He Himself is holy. Stop right there and reflect and meditate upon the language that is found within these verses, for not only did the living God declare unto the children of Israel and instruct them to sanctify themselves, but He also went on to instruct them to be holy. What’s more, is that the living God would instruct them to be holy, for He Himself was holy. It was because He was holy, and it was in direct response to His holiness that He instructed and invited the children of Israel to not only sanctify themselves, but also to be holy. It was in and according to the knowledge that He was indeed the living God that they were to sanctify themselves, and it was because the living God was holy that they were to themselves to be holy. What we must recognize and understand is that there is ultimately no difference between being holy before and in the sight of the living God, When we speak of being holy before and in the sight of the living God we are also speaking of being clean before and in the sight of the living, for the two realities are synonymous with each other and can be used interchangeably. When and as we speak about the reality of being holy before and in the sight of the living God, we must also recognize and remember that being holy in the sight of the LORD touches the reality and realm of our being clean in the sight and in the presence of the living God. In all reality, I would dare say that we cannot truly be holy in the sight of the LORD without and apart from also being clean before Him and in His sight. Furthermore, it’s worth noting that before the LORD instructed them to be holy for He Himself was holy, He first instructed them to sanctify themselves. It is this concept of sanctifying themselves that warrants strong and careful consideration, for when you speak of sanctifying yourself, and when you speak about being holy you must understand that the responsibility fell on the shoulders of the children of Israel. The words and language which are found within these final verses points directly to the awesome and incredible reality that the children and people of Israel ought to not only sanctify themselves, but they ought also to be holy because the Lord their God was in fact holy.
What is so absolutely incredible and intriguing when reading the words found within these chapters within the book of Leviticus is when you consider that not only did the LORD put a distinction between that which was clean and that which was unclean, but He also instructed the children of Israel—the people of God whom He brought forth out of the land of Egypt to be His people—to recognize the difference between that which was clean and unclean, and to choose those things which were clean. I have already spent a great deal of time presenting the reality of making a distinction tweet that which was clean and that which was unclean, but we cannot have a discussion about that which is clean and that which is unclean and not at the same time think about and consider the awesome and incredible reality that making such a distinction and telling the difference between that which is clean and that which is unclean is in fact part of the process of our sanctifying ourselves and our making a deliberate and conscious decision to be holy before and in the sight of the living God. What we must recognize and understand is that we choose to be holy before and in the sight of the living God when we make the conscious and deliberate decision to make a distinction between that which is holy and that which is unholy, and between that which is unclean and that which is clean. With that being said, I feel compelled to present those who are reading these words with the strong reality that we can place a tremendous emphasis on that which is clean and that which is unclean—we can even create our own custom list of those things which are clean and unclean—and we can get so caught up in those distinctions with its list and regulations that we never truly become clean in the sight and presence of the living God. In fact, if you read the entire four gospels which were written concerning the narrative of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ you will find that He constantly denounced the scribes and the Pharisees for their misunderstanding misinterpretation of the law, for they thought and believed that through their following the Law which Moses set forth they would be pleasing in the sight of the living God. It’s actually quite unique and astounding to think about and consider the words which Jesus spoke unto the scribes and Pharisees—not only in the fifteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel, but also in the twenty-third chapter of the same book. Within these chapters Jesus denounced the Pharisees and the scribes for adhering to their own rules, regulations and traditions—and even the Law of Moses—thinking and believing that they themselves were clean in the sight of the living God, and yet Jesus quickly warned and declared unto them that they were in fact unclean before and in the sight of the living God. Consider if you will the words which are found within each of these chapters, and consider how they relate to what we find within these Old Testament chapters within the book of Leviticus:
“Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; and honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your transition. Ye hypocrites, we’ll did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. And He called the multitude, and said unto them, hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Then came His disciples, and said unto Him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? But He answered and said, Every plant, which my Heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable. And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast into the drought? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: these are the things which define a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man” (Matthew 15:1-20).
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisees, cleanse first that which is within the cult and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Matthew 23:23-28).
It is with these words we encounter and come face to face with the fact that the scribes and Pharisees held to traditions which they themselves had created and put in place, and did in fact Carrey out and observe the law of Moses which he was given in the wilderness, however, they were the furthest thing from clean in the sight and presence of the living God. You will notice that Jesus spoke and declared unto them that they made clean the outside of the cup and of the platter—thus referring to making clean the outward appearance which they had before others—and yet within they were full of excess and extortion. Jesus would go on to instruct them to first cleanse that which was within the cup and the platter, and by doing so the outside would be clean also. What’s more, Jesus would go on to emphatically declare unto the scribes and Pharisees that they were like whited tombs which were beautiful on the outside, and yet on the inside were full of dead men’s bones. Furthermore, Jesus went onto declare unto them that they appeared righteous on the outward before and in the sight of men, and yet within they were full of iniquity and hypocrisy. Oh, please don’t miss and please don’t lose sight of this absolutely wonderful and incredible reality, for not only did Jesus indict the scribes and Pharisees for being clean on the outside while leaving the inside completely untouched and unclean, but He also went on to declare unto them that they appeared outwardly righteous in the sight of men, and yet on the inside were full of iniquity and hypocrisy. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and come face to face with this reality, for when we do we recognize and understand the tremendous need for cleansing which goes beyond the surface and in fact touches the heart which is within a man. The words and language we find in the Old Testament speak a great deal about that which defiled a man on the outward part of his being, yet we must recognize and understand that there is this strong connection between the living God declaring unto the children of Israel those things which made them unclean and those things which defiled them, and how it directly impacted their place within the camp and community of the children of Israel, and even their ability to enter into the sanctuary of the living God. It’s quite interesting to think about and consider the fact that it was possible to be unclean in the sight of the living God, and as a result of being unclean in the sight of the living God—not only did that impact your standing and place within the community as you might need to remain outside the camp, or even quarantined, but it also impacted and affected their ability to come into the sanctuary of the living God. When we speak about being unclean and clean in the sight and presence of the living God we must recognize and understand that being unclean not only limited and prevented you from coming into and entering into the sanctuary, but it could also very well cause you to be separated from the community during your period of being unclean until you were clean again.
As I sit here this morning I can’t help but think about and consider the language that is found within these chapters within the Old Testament book of Leviticus and encounter the reality that there is this awesome reality of self-examination—and not only self-examination, but examination by the priest when you found yourself with something on the surface of your flesh. If you read the words which are found within these chapters—not only will you encounter the reality of there being something upon your flesh that could defile and make you unclean in the sight of the living God, but you also encounter the tremendous reality that what appears on the external and outward appearance of your flesh can in fact do one of two things. Either it can grow and metastasize to the point where it spreads upon your flesh, as well as going beneath the surface of the skin and thus causing you to be unclean, or it can clear up and thus cause you to be clean. What we witness and behold when reading these chapters is the distinction between that which appears on the surface and that which not only appears on the surface, but that which appears on the surface and goes beauty the surface and that which spreads. THAT WHICH GOES BENEATH THE SURFACE! THAT WHICH SPREADS! Of course in the context of what we find within these chapters we find it in the context of leprosy, and how leprosy could indeed and could in fact make one unclean in the sight and presence of the living God. If one was leprous and that leprosy spread and did not itself grow better, but became worse—the end and ultimate result was for that individual who was leprous to be pronounced unclean. What’s more, is that if you continue reading within these Old Testament books you will find that that one who was leprous in the sight of the living God had to cry out wherever they went that they were unclean, thus warning others concerning their leprosy. What so intrigues and captivates me about that which is found within these chapters is the language of that which goes beneath the surface and that which spreads, for leprosy is much like leaven which once it gets inside and upon something, they both spread and have the ability to affect the whole of that thing. IN the New Testament Jesus spoke concerning leaven and instructed the disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which was their teaching. As we think about and consider these words and this language even more, we must come face to face with the fact that leprosy and leaven are Old Testament examples of that which spreads and that which can even go beneath the surface, thus affecting and impacting the whole of the thing in which it is found. What we must recognize and understand concerning this is that leprosy and leaven are remarkable examples of sin, and how sin not only has the ability to appear on the surface within our lives, but sin also has the ability to spread into other areas of our lives, and even has the ability to extend beneath the surface of what appears in the sight of those before and around us.
In bringing this writing to a close I feel the great need to speak concerning both leprosy and leaven, and how in these chapters which are before us in the Old Testament book of Leviticus we find the living God speaking unto Moses concerning that which appears on the surface and after a period of being shut up and examined might correct itself and might actually be prevented from spreading upon the flesh of a one on whom the rash or blemish appeared. What’s more, is that we find the living God speaking unto Moses concerning that which appears outwardly on the flesh of an individual, and yet has the ability to not only spread upon—and quite possibly over the whole flesh—but also has the ability to extend and reach beneath the surface, thus causing that one to be unclean in the sight and presence of the living God, as well as the congregation and community of Israel. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this reality, for this reality brings us face to face with the reality that it is very easy to look upon and examine that which appears on the external and outward of our flesh and our beings, and yet not truly understand the nature of that which extends and reaches beneath the surface and affects the whole of a man within his being beneath what others can see. It’s quite astounding to think about and consider the tremendous reality of what is found within the Old Testament book of Leviticus, for when speaking of leprosy—not only do we encounter that which has the ability to spread upon the flesh of that one who is affected and impacted, but it also has the ability to go beneath the surface, and cause that man or woman to be unclean. If there is one thing we must recognize when reading these chapters it’s that it wasn’t necessarily that which appeared on the external flesh of one of the children of Israel that caused them to be unclean, but only that which went beneath the surface, and that which spread upon the flesh. It is necessary that we recognize and understand this reality, for when we think about sin within our lives—there is a vast difference between that which might manifest and appear perhaps only once within our lives, and that which continues to appear and manifest itself. What’s more, is that there is a vast difference between that which is manifested within our lives and doesn’t reappear and that which we drive out and remove from our lives and that which spreads and that which extends beneath the surface, thus causing us to be defiled in the sight of the living God. The question we must ask ourselves is whether or not we are willing to not only look upon the outward part of our beings, but also look on the inner portion of our beings to see if there is anything within us that not only has the potential to spread within our lives and affect everything it touches, but also that which goes beneath the surface and impacts and affects our heart and mind. Oh that we would commit ourselves to a wonderful time of examination and self-examination in the sight and presence of the great High Priest in order that we might ask Him concerning ourselves that there might not be anything within us that is perhaps spreading into other areas of our lives, and is even going beyond the surface, and begins impacting and affecting our hears and minds.