Scripture: (Lev 14:8-9 NKJV)  “He who is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, shave off all his hair, and wash himself in water, that he may be clean. After that he shall come into the camp, and shall stay outside his tent seven days. {9} “But on the seventh day he shall shave all the hair off his head and his beard and his eyebrows; all his hair he shall shave off. He shall wash his clothes and wash his body in water, and he shall be clean.

Observation: For the people of Israel, having just left their captivity in Egypt, and on the way to establish their new home as an independent nation, the laws and regulations concerning health issues were very specific and very important for their well-being and survival.  An example is all the laws concerning lepers – how to decide whether the person had leprosy and what to do with the person, hot to tell if they had been cured from leprosy and what cleansing rituals as well as sin-atonement rituals needed to be performed before the person would be allowed in camp and before they would be allowed to rejoin the people.  The diagnosis, treatment, and steps to rejoin were long, maybe tedious, but they ensured the safety of the people and a recognition that health, healing, forgiveness, and salvation come from the Lord.
     Leprosy is primarily a disease of the peripheral nerves and mucosa of the upper respiratory tract; skin lesions are the primary external symptom.  Left untreated, leprosy can be progressive, causing permanent damage to the skin, nerves, limbs and eyes. Contrary to popular belief, leprosy does not actually cause body parts to simply fall off.  There are two principal forms of the disease. In tuberculoid leprosy, few bacilli are present, and the symptoms are pale, patchy spots on the face, hands and feet. In the more contagious, lepromatous form, many microorganisms are present in the skin and in nasal secretions; patches and lumps can occur all over the body, and the facial lines tend to deepen. Leprosy does not usually cause gross mutilations. But it can cause a numbness of the hands and feet that leads to accidental burning or mutilation of extremities. This is a source of the myth that leprosy causes parts of the body to drop off.

Application: In marriage, even the healthiest and happiest one, there are times when one or the other makes a mistake, hurts the other person, and causes a wound in their relationship.  It may be something small and therefore easy to heal.  But there are times and situations where the guilty party does something to hurt their spouse, and their relationship, but instead of confessing and making restitution (as we mentioned in a previous entry), they let it fester.  Like a wound that is not properly cleaned, the wound in this relationship gets infected, festers, creates a bigger injury, and ends up poisoning the entire system.
    In marriage, these problems that are not dealt with, are like leprosy.  At first, they are infected, but not obviously noticed.  If left untreated, however, they begin to affect the nervous system of the relationship so that eventually the emotions are not felt, and eventually other wounds are not felt anymore but yet cause the loss of the relationship.
     Leprosy does not have to kill as medication can treat it so that it doesn’t progress or kills the person.  In marriage, confession and repentance are the best medicine.  As we confess our sins to God and to one another, the diseases that kill healthy marriages can be eradicated and the relationship restored.

A Prayer You May Say: Father, forgive us for the times when we have hurt our spouse, and help us to be more sensitive to their needs in the future.  And Father, help us to confess to them our sins toward them so that there may be total healing in our relationship.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.



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