Leprosy And Man’s Sinful Nature

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Phenomenon – Nature – Disease – Lev 14:3-7

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God’s cure for Leprosy

Leprosy And Man’s Sinful Nature

by Joelle Gagnon

2/28/2017 – On 11/10/2016, National Public Radio reported that England, Ireland and Scotland have red squirrels that are carrying the Leprosy bacteria and some even have symptoms though the disease was thought to have been totally eradicated since the 16th century. The Isles, who haven’t seen any cases in centuries, are now literally looking out their back doors with the possibility of it making a comeback.

A Leprous Red Squirrel

Stewart Cole, who directs the Global Health Institute at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, found squirrels that have a strain of leprosy that dates back over 730 years which indicated to him that the disease never left the Islands at all. Not only that, but it was always thought that only humans transmitted the disease to each other, now they find that it’s possible they can contract the disease from squirrels and perhaps other rodents as well. They also know people in the United States, particularly in Texas, have contracted it from armadillos.

In the past Leprosy was thought to be highly contagious so the sick were put into isolated colonies often far from their homes and families. Many lived demeaning lives of begging for food. They were  forced to wear marked clothing and ring a bell notifying others that they were lepers so others could stay far away from them. Meanwhile (depending on the form of leprosy), the disease progresses slowly and people lose their sense of touch, then they lose skin tissue and cartilage that is being absorbed by their body causing them to lose fingers, toes and other extremities. It can also disfigure them with grotesque ulcers on their flesh which further isolates them from the
general public.

man with leprosy
Man with Leprosy

During the dark ages, Pope Gregory the Great (540-604) and Isidor of Seville (560-636) of the Catholic church taught that lepers were heretics and being punished by God so they were neglected and mistreated by those who were suppose to be helping them. They weren’t allowed to be close to others nor were they allowed to marry even amongst themselves for fear they would give birth to more leprous children and continue spreading the disease in the community. Men and women were kept separated in leper hospitals and colonies. Family members weren’t even allowed to visit them. Some cultures actually performed funerals for them, as if they were already dead. It was a very lonely life. They only had each other to comfort one another.

Today Leprosy is also known as Hansen’s Disease, named after Dr. Hansen, who in 1873 discovered bacteria in leprosy lesions proving that it was not hereditary, as was once thought. There are still a lot of unknown things, like how exactly it spreads. It’s believed that one way is through person to person contact with the nasal secretions or droplets of an infected person, or through certain animals like the armadillo, african chimpanzee, sooty mangabey, or cynomolgus macaque. The fact that the disease is very slow growing makes it hard to detect in its early stages.

Although the stigma associated with leprosy is not what it use to be, there are still a few colonies that exist in places like India, Brazil, China and Africa. As usual, man has found a cure for leprosy today in the form of drugs. Depending on how far the leprosy has gone, 2 or 3 drugs (dapsone, rifampicin and clofazimine) are used to kill the leprosy bacilli. It may cure the outward disease but it will not cure man’s real problem, his inner sinful self.

During the time of Moses and their exodus from Egypt, God spoke to the Israelites concerning leprosy and how to treat it. It was directly associated with sin and the need for a person to seek God to deliver him from his sinful nature. Just like leprosy, sin eats away at us like rotting flesh causing gross darkness of heart and mind. The prophet Jeremiah informs us that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?Jer 17:9

Man without a saviour is capable of all kinds of horrendous acts, just take a look at the news. How often do we see mother’s and father’s killing their own children or each other, boyfriends killing their girlfriends and vice versa, children abandoned or abused by drugged out parents? School and mass shootings in the U.S. of A. have been mounting up like never before, not to mention the racial tensions ticking away like a bomb ready to go off. The list goes on and on of atrocities humans commit against each other all the time, proving God’s word to be true,that our own hearts are  desperately wicked and are in need of being  changed. Only Jesus Christ can change it for you.

God painted a pictureperfect analogy for us comparing sin to leprosy and what it does to human beings. It’s a progressive disease that eats us alive from the inside out. Eventually we become unable to live with others, isolated in our own world of sin. I know it’s all so true. Before I came to Jesus I was so selfish and wanted my own way. It took Jesus coming to me to point out the wickedness of my own heart. He showed me I was capable of all kinds of evil. I knew in that moment I needed and wanted to be saved from my loathsome myself. I thank God for the salvation he has brought to me and I strive to stay walking with him, allowing him to save me from all that would separate me from him, which all amounts to sin. It is a lifelong quest that won’t be over till I go home to be with him.

God, being the one true great artist paints a beautiful picture in Leviticus of what it looks like when we give our lives over to Jesus Christ (who is The Way, The Truth and The Life) and the freedom he can bring to you. In the following scripture the priest represents Jesus, the bird represents the Holy Ghost and you can be the earthen vessel.

“and the priest shall go forth out of the camp; and the priest shall look, and, behold, if the plague of leprosy be healed in the leper;
   then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop:
   and the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water:
as for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedar wood, and the scarlet,    and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water:
   and he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field.” Lev. 14:3-7

We have a wonderful article that takes an in depth look of the above passage with all its symbolism called A Lesson Learned From The Law of The Leper. I hope you take the time to read it. I also hope that you will take God’s cure for leprosy.

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