Leviticus: more than just religion…

Cover to Cover

Reading: Leviticus 11:1-13:59

Focus: Leviticus 13:1-59

When it comes to where church or religion fits into our daily lives, it is often in the domain of the spiritual which we would place the church. It provides pastoral care for the soul, spiritual nourishment through its teaching and preaching, it provides childcare, I mean, a place of nurturing children in the truth of the gospel. Yet, the place of the priesthood or religion in the ancient world was quite different. When we think about the laws given to the Israelites, we think about the sacrifices, the food regulations, and all the other intricacies…but in all these “laws” there is another side.

In this chapter we find a whole section dedicated to skin diseases and mildew (mould). A little repetitive, but the essential message is clear. If it is someone infectious, then they are to separated and identified. If something or somewhere is covered in mildew, then it is to be destroyed to prevent further spreading. These have little to do with one’s spiritual welfare or social regulations. These are preventative measures for the health and well-being of a community.

In the giving of the “laws” you will be quick to find that there is a great deal of social awareness for everyone’s well-being, physically, mentally and spiritually. While some aspects may seem a little farfetched, the social environments of 3000-4000 years ago is quite different to our situation today. Food regulations generally found reasoning with the health concerns that can be attributed to the animal’s living environment, lifestyle regulations generally found reasoning with the social concerns for the well-being of the community. All in all, the “laws” were more than just spiritual or religious.

Therefore, we should understand that God is concerned just as much with one’s physical and social condition as He is with one’s spiritual condition. It is a sad testimony for God today as the church continues to struggle in the area of human welfare. Rather, the heart of God, reflected here, is that the physical, social, mental and spiritual needs of His people are all looked after. Even Jesus displayed a concern for all these things in His own life and ministry.

Next Reading: Leviticus 14:1-15:33