Remember when you were little and it was a bother to have to wash your hands before supper? That was before you learned about germs and diseases! When you study the scientific history of germs, you learn that we’ve only known about these little meanies for less than 200 years. Although God didn’t tell the Israelites about the causes of diseases, He did show them how to protect themselves from them and gave them this promise:
If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee. Exodus 15:26
So, what did God tell them to do that would protect them from these diseases, or was it just a mysterious miracle? I’m not going to go into a lot of detail on this stuff, because it gets really gross, but you’ll get the idea from these verses:
And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes, Exodus 19:10
There are 29 verses that tell the people to wash their clothes to be clean before God.
And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water. Exodus 29:4
50 times washing with water and bathing is mentioned in the Law. You might start to get the idea that He’s as picky as the tidiest mother!
Then there are the more disgusting things like:
Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad: and thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee: for the LORD thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee. Deuteronomy 23:12-14
This passage always made me snicker when we read it during family devotions growing up (which wasn’t too often, but I sure remember the times we did!). My favorite part is that God didn’t tell the Israelites that they would get sick if they disobeyed, He just reminded them that He didn’t want to have to step in poop when He came to visit them!
Or if a soul touch any unclean thing, whether it be a carcase of an unclean beast, or a carcase of unclean cattle, or the carcase of unclean creeping things, and if it be hidden from him; he also shall be unclean, and guilty. Leviticus 5:2
Then said Haggai, If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean. Then answered Haggai, and said, So is this people, and so is this nation before me, saith the LORD; and so is every work of their hands; and that which they offer there is unclean. Haggai 2:13-14
I picked the Haggai passage because it starts with the everyday law and goes on to show how gross our sin is. They had been told many times (for all the details read Numbers 19:11-22) that touching a dead body was a very dirty thing. The Law was very specific about the contamination that would happen to anything that touched these things. If you couldn’t sterilize it, you had to destroy it! So, when God looked for the most disgusting thing to compare sin with, He chose dead bodies. Haggai doesn’t really say how they could get rid of their sin except by turning back to God, but in a minute we’ll see how!
Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When any man hath a running issue out of his flesh, because of his issue he is unclean. Leviticus 15:2
And the priest shall look upon him the seventh day: and if it be spread much abroad in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is the plague of leprosy. Leviticus 13:27
Now, watch what Jesus does:
And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: for she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour. Matthew 9:20-22
And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. Matthew 8:3
And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. Luke 7:14,15
Jesus showed the people over and over again that He was stronger than the uncleanness the Law warned them about. He has power over unseen germs just as He has power over our unseen sin.
But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. Matthew 9:6