Read a previous post from this morning’s reading – Unclean
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 19
Read the “0207 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And if the priest see that, behold, the scab spreadeth in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is a leprosy.” (Leviticus 13:8)
I never really made this connection before I read this passage today, but the Old Testament priests had so many more responsibilities than just ministering spiritually to the people of God. As we can see from today’s reading, the priests were also the doctors for the congregation, and they also served as the Board of Health or Center for Disease Control (CDC).
In Leviticus 13, we read that the priest had the responsibility of diagnosing and distinguishing leprosy from other, less dangerous diseases. Leprosy is known today as Hansen’s disease and can be cured with a multi-drug therapy. In Bible days, however, it was slow and debilitating, and ultimately, a death sentence. It was also, in most forms, very contagious. The priest, while determining the condition would isolate and observe the patient until determination could be made. If leprosy was the final diagnosis, however, the patient would then be permanently separated, not only from the congregation, but also from his family. They would have to dwell outside the camp or city, and if anyone approached them, they were to cry out, “unclean, unclean.” It was up to the priest to make that determination. As far as I can see, the only mention of medicine or physicians other than the priests in the Old Testament was in Jeremiah:
“Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?” (Jeremiah 8:22)
In Old Testament Israel, it was up to the priests to oversee the health of God’s people. Today, the pastor / preacher would certainly not be the primary choice for health needs, but the Bible still is a tremendous source of principles for healthy living, both in the spiritual and physical sense. A person cannot be wholly healthy, unless they are spiritually well, and it is the preacher’s job to give out God’s prescription – the Word of God – in order to minister to God’s people.
By the way, the Old Testament priest was also the local butcher, and was an expert in the anatomy of the animals used for sacrifice. But, that is a subject for another blog article.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.