Parashah Metzora (Leper) Leviticus 14 and 15

Continuing the laws of cleanliness, Chapter 14 deals with leprosy of the body and any infectious contamination that spreads to the plastering on the walls of the house.  Chapter 15 deals with bodily secretions, such as when a woman has a discharge during her menstrual cycle or a man with a seminal secretion.

You would think, this being the Bible and all, you wouldn’t find mention of such graphic and disgusting things. Yet, having read through the Bible many times, there isn’t a part of the body, and I mean ANY part of the body, that isn’t mentioned or referred to very specifically in the Bible, somewhere.

So, you have a skin disease, your house has mold or something similar, you are bleeding or exuding some liquid from your body- you are unclean. Whether it is contagious or not, you are unclean. Everything you touch becomes unclean, and anyone who touches what you touched or is touched by you becomes unclean. The only difference is that the clean who touched the unclean must wash themselves and their clothes, and after doing so at evening (meaning the start of the next day) they are clean. When you become unclean by association you wash and for the rest of that day you are unclean, but then you are clean (mostly meaning ceremonial, or having to do with entering the Sanctuary area) the next day. If you are the source of the uncleanliness, you are always unclean until, according to the rules stipulated in these chapters, the Cohen declares you no longer unclean, you make the appropriate sacrifice, and then you are accepted back into the camp and the Sanctuary.

The simple truth is that these laws deal with outward evidence of being physically unclean- we are, all of us, unclean in our hearts. We are born with the Yetzer Hara, the Evil Inclination, and we have to overcome this. As Yeshua said, with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible; hence, we have a Messiah to be the ultimate soap, if you will, to cleanse us spiritually so that we can come before God, tabernacle notwithstanding, and be clean before Him.

The warning in today’s Parashah is about not dying in one’s uncleanness by entering the Sanctuary when unclean. The intimation is that if you enter the Sanctuary unclean, you will be killed, and thus not just die, but die unclean. Not what you want, really. When we accept Yeshua as Messiah and ask forgiveness of our sins in His name, it is His righteousness that cleanses us so we can come before God clean. The cleanliness of our bodies is still important: when they say cleanliness is close to godliness, these chapters about clean and unclean should dispel any doubts about the accuracy and biblical confirmation of that old saw. But, yet, more than physically, or even ceremonially, clean, we need to be spiritually clean. We need to be more than clean outside, we need to be clean inside. Didn’t Yeshua tell us that it isn’t what goes into us that makes us unclean, but what comes out of our hearts?  Read Matthew 15:11 and Mark 7:15 to see what He said.

The Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) is what cleans us, inside and spiritually, and to receive it we have to ask. But we won’t want to ask until we are ready to be clean, until we want to wash our hearts and minds of the dirt that we are born into because of this cursed world we exist in. We have to do T’shuvah before we can really clean up our act (pun intended) and want to ask for the Ruach.

No one would go to the Cohen to get diagnosed until they saw the evidence of their disease, and wanted to be clean. We need to see the evidence of our disease, our sinful nature and accept what we do as truly being wrong; we need to stop rationalizing what we do as acceptable and start realizing what we do as wrong. That’s the first step. Next we have to truly want to stop doing wrong, that’s called T’shuvah, or turning from sin. Now we can come to the Cohen, either a religious leader as a Rabbi or Minister or Pastor or Priest, and ask them for help.

In truth, even a good friend can do the same- you need to find a spiritually mature person who can help you to be cleansed and then you clean yourself with water; not water from a sink but the everlasting water that we only get from Yeshua ha Maschiach.

The best thing is that once cleansed by Yeshua’s blood, you don’t have to wait until evening to be clean.

This is a simple lesson- to be clean forever the steps are:

  1. Confess that you are dirty
  2. Do T’shuvah
  3. Accept Yeshua as your Messiah and ask for His intercession before God
  4. Pray to God for forgiveness, calling on the name of Yeshua (not praying to Yeshua, but praying to God and asking that God accept you as one of the sheep that Yeshua owns)
  5. Ask for the gift of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) and accept it
  6. Be prepared to fight against your nature for the rest of your life.

And remember: you can be strengthened in that fight knowing you now have the hope of eternal joy and peace, which you can also find here on Earth, through the Ruach HaKodesh.

Parashah Pekudey (Accounts) Exodus 38:21 – 40

This last chapter and a half (or so) of the Book of Exodus tells us all the things that God instructed Moses to have the people make, with regards to the Tabernacle, were made exactly as God had commanded.

All I can say is, “About time they did something right!” Yes?

Actually, when you read 39:43 it reads less like an account of what they did and more like an exclamation that they did it right.

Traditionally, when we finish a book of the Torah we cry out:

Chazak! Chazak! V’nit’Chazek! (Be strong! Be strong! And let us be strengthened!)

If this is what we cry out, then it begs the question, “What are we strengthening?”

For me, when we read the word of God, what we strengthen is our faith. Faith is believing, and when we read the Torah we see God in all His majesty, in all His awesomeness, and in all His glory. We see that His judgment is inescapable, as the Egyptians were powerless to stop Him from judging and punishing them for their cruel treatment of His people; we see His compassion and forgiveness when Moshe steps in to save the people from the destruction they earned by worshiping the Golden Calf at the very foot of God’s Holy mountain. And we see God’s faithfulness to us by continuing to keep His promise to the Patriarchs, leading the people through the desert, providing food and water for them and their animals, and protecting them from their enemies.

And we see God’s selfless love as he continues to forgive and provide for a stiff-necked, rebellious child who doesn’t really even appreciate Him.

And, as our faith is strengthened, so, too, is our appreciation, respect, trust, and love for God. But is it the right kind of love? Is it selfless, as He loves? Or, do we love God only when he is doing good things for us?

When people give us good things, should we love them? If we love for what we get, what happens when someone gives us more?

When the final days arrive, the Enemy will attack the people of God. However, for those who love the Lord only because of what God has given them, I don’t think the enemy will attack them with Tsouris. No- he will attack them with wonderful gifts, pleasures of the mind and body, power, riches; he will attack them by giving them every worldly pleasure they have ever wanted. In Matthew 4:9 and Luke 4:7, that is the temptation the enemy held before Yeshua when he tested Him in the desert. Yeshua refused, but when the world is falling apart and you are losing everything, and the enemy promises you everything you lost, and more, will you be strong enough (will you have been strengthened in the Lord enough?) to refuse?

In the Acharit HaYamim (End Days) God will not be blessing the world but cursing it. So everyone will be loosing things, and the enemy’s strategy, I believe, will be to give back the blessings of health, power, riches, etc., all the things of the flesh that are being destroyed, to those whose love is based selfishly, who love someone (or the Lord) only for what they get from them.

We need to strengthen our love by developing the same love that God has- selfless love. If someone slaps you in the face, turn to them the other cheek, as well. If they force you to carry their pack for a mile, carry it for two. If they ask to borrow something, give it to them without asking for it to be returned. Love not for what you get from others but love to give to others, without expectation of any return or reward.

Yeshua told us that when we do Tzedakah (charity)  we should do it in secret, so that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing (Matthew 6:1-4). That is the kind of selfless love that God has for us, and the kind we should return to Him by doing it unto others (Matthew 25:40), so that we strengthen our faith and our love.

When we have the kind of faith that comes from knowing God, and when we show the kind of love that God has for us to others, then the attacks of the enemy will fall off of us like nerf balls hitting a brick wall. And because we are strengthened by His word, we can protect and strengthen others by demonstrating our faith.

Faithfulness and love for God, His kind of love, will also lead to more fulfilling obedience. Obedience that comes from only respect or, worse, only from fear will not create love, or trust, or even any real joy. It often leads to resentment, animosity, anger and rebellion. But obedience that comes from love, from doing for someone what they want because we know it pleases them, well, that kind of obedience brings joy and satisfaction. Don’t you know that a “labor of love”, as we call it, creates feelings of immense satisfaction and joy when we see the one we labored for happily enjoying what we did for them? God wants us to obey Him because when we obey, we are blessed. He enjoys blessing us, and the way we can make God happy is to obey Him. It’s a Win-Win situation.

We hear often that God owns everything, and that He can create anything He needs or desires with only a thought, but there is one thing God cannot have unless we give it to Him- our love.

Do you love the Lord? Do you love Him for the right reasons? These are hard questions to ask, and they require a really long look in the mirror. So take a gander at yourself, at your intentions, at your true feelings. And don’t be afraid or ashamed if you are not happy with what you see- that’s OK. Remember, we’re not Messiah Yeshua, we know we have faults, and God knows it, too. That’s why He sent Yeshua…DUH!!

Again, when you see what you don’t like, don’t be upset or downtrodden- that’s what the enemy wants. When you see what you don’t like, do what God wants- strive to improve. Exercise your faith, exercise your godly love and exercise your obedience and you will be strengthened!

Chazak! Chazak! V’nit’Chazek!