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Good Morning.

When a man has on the skin of his body a swelling, a scab, or a bright spot, and it becomes on the skin of his body like a leprous sore, then he shall be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons the priests. (Leviticus 13:2)

From a biblical point of view, leprosy is the epitome of uncleanliness and corruption. Anyone who had the misfortune to be afflicted with this, not only suffered physically, but was removed far from the rest of society. Without a miracle, the leper was essentially given a walking death sentence while in exile. If you’ve ever seen the movie, Ben Hur, then you might recall the scene when Judah Ben Hur walked among the “living dead” looking for his leprous mother and sister — it is a heartbreaking moment.

Leprosy, as we know it, is a disease believed to be caused by a bacteria introduced into a person’s respiratory system which then attacks the nervous system. As the disease progresses, it results in the disintegration of cartilage and consequent tissue loss. Because lepers in the modern era and those afflicted with biblical leprosy were segregated from society, most felt these afflictions were one and the same. It was assumed that, in both cases, the separation from others was to prevent the spread of the affliction. However, Judaism rejects this notion, and with good reason, because the Bible describes an affliction very dissimilar from what we know as leprosy.

Biblical “leprosy” (Hebrew word is צרת tzarat — “to erupt”) manifested as an eruption in the skin but acted very differently than what we call leprosy. That is because tzarat was not considered to be a bodily disease, per se, but regarded as a spiritual condition — the eruption in the skin was evidence of an evil heart. Consequently, tzarat was considered to be a punishment designed to provoke the afflicted person to repent of misdeeds. In fact, the Hebrew root word from which tzarat is derived means “to squeeze” or “apply pressure.” Moreover, the two Hebrew letters that form the “heart” of the word tzarat spell the Hebrew word רע ra or “evil.” Thus the notion that tzarat was intended to place “pressure” on a person to purge the “evil” from his heart.

In reality all disease is a result of mankind’s faulty spiritual condition and, so, we could argue that any affliction can be used to provoke us to search our heart and cause us to grow closer to our Creator. Expanding our scope beyond disease, anything that God allows to touch our lives, whether it affects us physically or otherwise, might be His way of provoking a change in us. That is not always the case but, yes, sometimes He applies pressure to affect a needed adjustment in us. So if you are feeling like too many things are “erupting” in your life, stop and consider that it might not be the Adversary attacking you. It might be that the Father is wanting to provoke a change in you — a change that is for your good.

Blessings and Shalom,  




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