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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
Devotional: February 23rd
“We are all as an unclean thing.”
Leviticus 13:12-17 , Leviticus 13:45 , Leviticus 13:46
The fearful disease of leprosy was so common among the Israelites that laws were made for its regulation, and ordinances by which cleansed persons were restored to the society of Israel, from which their leprosy had excluded them. Among the laws was one singular one which we will read because it is full of teaching.
Leviticus 13:12 , Leviticus 13:13
This seems very strange, and we cannot stay to account for it; but assuredly when a soul appears to itself to be nothing else but sin it is very near to salvation. Corruption hidden within is far more dangerous than that which the eye sees and laments. When the sinner’s iniquity comes out to view, he will fly for cleansing to the Lord Jesus. As long as we think there is some soundness in us, we boast ourselves proudly and are in a sorry case; but when we see that, from the sole of the foot even to the head, we are only wounds and bruises and putrifying sores, then are we humbled and our cure begins.
Leviticus 13:14 , Leviticus 13:15
Just what our ignorance values most in our nature the Lord considers to be our deadliest mark.
Leviticus 13:16 , Leviticus 13:17
When to the eye he seemed worst he was really better. The Lord seeth not as man seeth. When the disease is all upon the surface, all beneath the man’s own view, he is clean. When self-righteousness is gone, when we have no soundness in us, then is the hour of grace. If the priest found the man to be unclean, the law shut him out from the camp.
He was made to wear the rent garments of woe, his head was laid bare as though he mourned for himself as dead, and his lip was covered as though for ever closed from all intercourse with men. To prevent others from coming near him, and catching the dreadful infection, he had to utter the warning cry, “Unclean, unclean.”
He sat without, and none dare approach him, neither was he permitted to come near to any man. His disease was foul, painful, wasting, and deadly. Such too is sin, and such is the sinner’s condition before the Lord. He is excluded from the divine presence, and dead in trespasses and sins. The principle of health or holiness is gone from him; his spiritual powers are withered, and every smew shrunk. Streams of impurity burst forth in his soul, and render him utterly loathsome to God. Upon him has fallen the shadow of death. No human hand can heal him, there is no balm in Gilead, there is no physician there. The sinner is sick unto death, and is far past all earthly help. Yet one there is who can heal with a word, and he is present here, saying to each one of us, “Look unto me and be saved, for I am God, and beside me there is none else.” He who refuses this Physician deserves to die; and die he must. Will it be so with any one of us? Rather let each one of us put our trust in Jesus from this hour.
Physician of my sin-sick soul,
To thee I bring my case;
My raging malady control,
And heal me by thy grace.
It lies not in a single part,
But through my frame is spread;
A burning fever in my heart,
A palsy in my head.
Lord, I am sick, regard my cry,
And set my spirit free:
Say, canst thou let a sinner die,
Who longs to live to thee?
“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean.”
perhaps the priest was otherwise occupied, and then the leper must wait until he could leave the camp and come to him, but Jesus is always ready to hear the sinner’s cry. Moreover all that the priest could do was to pronounce a man ceremonially clean who was already healed, but Jesus actually heals the sin-sick soul
See how the two streams of blood and water meet in the type as they do yet more fully in Jesus. He, as slain for us, purges away our guilt; and, as living for us, he is our righteousness. “He was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” He came not by water only, but by water and blood, and we also are now born of water and of the Spirit. Now also we fly in the open field, and a new song is in our mouth, even praise unto our God.
In the Evangelists we meet with the cure of a leper by our Lord, in which the Jewish rites and ceremonies are alluded to.
Here was faith enough to believe that Jesus could remove an incurable disease, but there lingered a sad “if” in his faith, like a dead fly in the pot of ointment. Nevertheless, the Lord Jesus accepted the imperfect faith, and gave in return a perfect cure.
What a blessed “I will.” Christ’s will is omnipotent. He can save us even with his wish. He can save us at this present moment.
Salvation is instantaneous. The moment we believe in Jesus we have eternal life.
While the law stood our Lord observed it; how much more should we obey the gospel in every point of precept and ordinance.
Jesus was modest and retiring, and sought not honour of men. But the man’s gratitude would not let him be silent. He told his story, and the news ran along like fire over a prairie it blazed abroad, to the praise of the Good Physician.
Lord, I am vile, conceived in sin,
And born unholy and unclean;
Sprung from the man whose guilty fall
Corrupts the race, and taints us all.
Behold I fall before Thy face,
My only refuge is Thy grace;
No outward forms can make me clean;
The leprosy lies deep within.
No bleeding bird, nor bleeding beast,
Nor hyssop branch, nor sprinkling priest,
Nor running brook, nor flood, nor sea,
Can wash the dismal stain away.
Jesus, my God! Thy blood alone
Hath power sufficient to atone;
Thy blood can make me white as snow;
No Jewish types could cleanse me so.
the Sixth Week after Easter
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