Thus shall ye separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness; that they die not in their uncleanness, when they defile my tabernacle that is among them. — Leviticus 15:31
When our first son was born, I was not allowed to be in the delivery room. After the doctor announced to me that my wife was fine and that we had a baby boy, my mind was ahead of my steps as I dashed into the room to see him. I was in a hurry to know the little person who stretched himself so hard before birth that we could count his fingers!
However, as I was about to enter the room, a nurse abruptly stopped me. She said that I could not go in quite yet. I explained that the doctor had said the baby was delivered, and that I was eager to meet my new son. The nurse replied that I had to wash my hands and put on a gown and a pair of gloves before I could approach him, explaining that without taking those precautions, I could pass on some germs to the baby. I had to do what was required, though I was the father.
In today’s text, God gave a direct instruction to the Children of Israel on how they needed to be clean before Him, not only in their hearts but also in their bodies. His call to them, as shown in our focus verse, was to be mindful of the pure quality of God’s holiness. They were to take steps to separate themselves from sin and partake of His holiness.
God also calls us to holiness. Though He does not hold us to the regimented aspects of bodily cleanness that He expected of Israel, those were shadows of the more serious holiness of the heart and deeds that God wants His people to have today. Yet we cannot make ourselves holy. This state of heart is something that God gives us when we submit ourselves to Him and consecrate fully to do His will. Then, just as the nurse was careful to avoid germs in the delivery room, so we need to take care that we allow no sinful thing into our lives. We need to daily ask God to guard our hearts and to keep us holy by His power. He will do it for us.
God wanted to reveal His holiness to the Children of Israel so that they would know how to relate to Him. He had told Moses earlier that no man could see His face and live. The holiness of God requires that everything and everyone around Him be holy.
In today’s chapter, the word “issue” was used twenty-four times. God was concerned that these people’s bodies be kept clean, and that disease did not spread from one to another. Their physical regulations were a reminder that God wanted their hearts to be holy. The one who was unclean and in the state of unholiness needed to undergo a careful, and sometimes lengthy, period of purification. The purification often involved a sacrifice.
In verses 16-18, God did not intend to show the marriage relationship between a husband and wife as unholy or defiled. However, even though this relationship was God-authored, the Israelite couple needed to remember that God is Lord of their physical as well as spiritual lives. God wanted to be a part of every area of their lives.
The list of requirements in this chapter were not just suggestions by Moses regarding healthy practices that might prevent infection or illness. God gave Israel these commandments, and the focus verse was a reminder that the consequences of disobedience could be dire.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. The way of access to God
C. By ceremonial purity
4. Separation from bodily issues (15:1-33)
a. Uncleanness of a man (15:1-18)
(1) Any bodily discharge (15:1-15)
(a) The fact of uncleanness (15:1-12)
(b) The cleansing for uncleanness (15:13-15)
(2) Seminal emission (15:16-18)
b. Uncleanness of a woman (15:19-30)
(1) The issue of blood in the menstrual cycle (15:19-24)
(2) Issue of blood not from the menstrual cycle (15:25-30)
c. Summary (15:31-33)
God’s holiness is supremely pure. Anyone who aspires to have a relationship with God and to live with Him in Heaven someday must be holy. Therefore we need to be diligent in our efforts to allow God to make and keep us holy.