These two chapters continue in the sections of Leviticus that deal with cleanliness and uncleanliness. Chapter 11 started with food, Chapter 12 deals with the cleanliness of a woman after giving birth and Chapter 13 with skin disorders, specifically leprosy (in Hebrew it’s called Tza’arat.)
Chapter 12 says that a woman is unclean after giving birth just as she is considered unclean during her time of Niddah. Chapter 13 says that when someone is suspected of having Tza’arat, they must go to the Cohen to have him inspect it, he will determine if it is Tza’arat or not (the chapter outlines the diagnostic methods), then (if and) when the person is declared clean, what sacrifices are to be made to allow them back into the community and the Temple.
I am not going to discuss the specifics of what is discussed in these chapters because there is a more important issue that these mitzvot (laws) have generated over the centuries. That issue is about our questioning the reason for these laws. We ask why these laws are given; we ask if they are for health reasons (physical) or for religious reasons (ceremonial); we even ask if they are valid or necessary now that we have better standards of inspection for disease with regards to meat being sold and better methods of disinfection and disease control.
What I want to know is why?- why do we think we have the right to question God? What makes us think we can ask God “Why” He gives us laws, and even worse, question if God’s laws are really necessary or valid anymore.
I am not saying we shouldn’t ever question God. That’s just silly. Job questioned God (of course, the answers fell on him like a ton of bricks, but he did get answers), Gideon questioned God, Moses questioned God, Abraham questioned God, ….get the point? The point is that all these great men questioned God, but not in a manner that raised doubts about whether or not God had the right to do what He did or whether or not what God said was valid or really necessary.
There are good questions for God, and there are bad ones. The good questions could be:
- Why do bad things happen to good people?
- What do you want from me? How can I better serve you?
- When will you answer my prayers?
- Who is the Messiah?
Then there are the bad questions:
- Why do I have to do this?
- Is this law really necessary anymore?
- Who are you to tell me I have to do this?
- If I am saved by the blood of Jesus why do I still have to obey these “ceremonial” laws?
Can you see the difference between these questions? If not I didn’t do a good job of giving examples- what I want to show is that we can question God about His plans and what He is doing and why He does things but when we question the validity of His laws or His authority to issue them, we are out of line.
Shaul (that nice Jewish boy from Tarsus who makes the tents) addressed this in his second letter to Timothy, 3:16:
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.
And in the Gospels, John 14:21 Yeshua tells us what it means to love Him:
Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them
And Yeshua also told us in Matthew 24:35:
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away
All these scriptures point to the fact that God doesn’t change, and His word doesn’t change, and if we love Him we will do as He says not because it’s healthy, or for some arcane religious ceremonial need, but because we love Him. We do what He tells us as a labor of love, not as a forced activity to prevent going to hell. We do what God says without questioning His authority or reasons for giving these laws to us because He is God and we are not; He’s the boos, He’s the Man! He’s the one who leads, we are the ones who follow.
Isaiah 45:9 also addresses this issue of wrongful questions to God :
Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’
We need to do what Yeshua said we should when He told us to change and become like little children, otherwise we will never enter the Kingdom of God (you can look this one up yourselves.) What He meant was that we need to accept, unquestioning and faithfully, what God tells us to do. How many times in the Tanakh do we read how Moses told the people to obey God to receive His blessings and life? Not just for them, but for their children, too!
I ask God a lot of questions, but I never ask Him to justify what He does or what He has told me I should do. That is just plain disrespectful, and certainly not faithful.
Do you love someone a lot? I mean, “fall down on your face and kiss the ground they walk on” love them? If you do, and they asked you to do something for them, would you ask them why you had to?
God gives us laws, regulations, ordinances and commandments- what’s the difference? Who cares? If you love Him and trust Him to tell you to do only what is good for you, then faithfully obey, do it as a labor of love, and trust that whether you can understand why God says to do something or not, He always tells us what to do because it is good for us.
Thessalonians 4:7-8 says this:
God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives. Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you
Question God all you want about how to do those things He says to do better; question God all you want in order to serve Him more completely; question God all you want to help better understand His plans for you. But don’t question His authority, don’t question the validity of His commandments, and certainly don’t question God’s right to tell us what we should do.
God is our Father, we are His children, and children should do as their parents tell them. Proverbs says that when we teach our children what to do they will always return to that path. Believe it when I tell you that God only wants what is best for His children, and show that trust and love by doing as He says without questioning why.