ARE YOU A LEPER?


I want to first apologize for the temporary hiatus I took from blogging. I’ve been immersed in time-consuming academic work thus making it difficult for me to write frequently but I’m trying to find a way around it. While observing my quiet time recently, I came across a Biblical story which I think can touch someone’s life. It’s based on 2 Kings 7:1-6

“Then Elisha said, Hear you the word of the LORD; Thus says the LORD, Tomorrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria.2Then a lord on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God, and said, Behold, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, might this thing be? And he said, Behold, you shall see it with your eyes, but shall not eat of it.3And there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate: and they said one to another, Why sit we here until we die?4If we say, We will enter into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there: and if we sit still here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us fall unto the army of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die.5And they rose up in the twilight, to go unto the camp of the Syrians: and when they were come to the edge of the camp of Syria, behold, there was no man there.6For the Lord had made the army of the Syrians to hear a noise of chariots and a noise of horses, even the noise of a great host: and they said one to another, Lo, the king of Israel hath hired against us the kings of the Hittites, and the kings of the Egyptians, to come upon us”.

Over the years, I’ve heard a lot of sermons delivered from this Biblical verse which when you continue reading to verse 10, it shows how God uses miraculous ways to provide for humanity irrespective of race, color, or status. I was bedazzled by the guts these lepers showed in entering the camp of the Syrians because these are people society saw as ignominious due to their physical condition hence were segregated from society. Animals even would have been treated with dignity above these lepers. If you have no idea about how lepers were treated in Biblical times, permit me to shed a little light on it.

The Hebrew translation for Leprosy is “tsara’ath”, a “smiting, ” a “stroke, ” because the disease was regarded as a direct providential infliction. This name is from the Greek lepra, by which the Greek physicians designated the disease from its scaliness.  This disease “begins with specks on the eyelids and on the palms, gradually spreading over the body, bleaching the hair white wherever they appear, crusting the affected parts with white scales, and causing terrible sores and swellings. From the skin the disease eats inward to the bones, rotting the whole body piecemeal.” “In Christ’s day, no leper could live in a walled town, though he might in an open village.

Among the sixty-one defilements of ancient Jewish laws, leprosy was second only to a dead body in seriousness. A leper wasn’t allowed to come within six feet of any other human, including his own family. Anyone suspected of having this disease had to go to a priest for examination (Leviticus 13:2-3). If found to be infected, “the leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean.’ He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp” (Leviticus 13:45-46). He had further to warn passers-by to keep away from him, by calling out, `Unclean! unclean!’ nor could he speak to any one, or receive or return a salutation, since in the East this involves an embrace. Lepers lived in a community with other lepers until they either got better or died. This was the only way the people knew to contain the spread of the contagious forms of leprosy.

Many believed God inflicted the curse of leprosy upon people for the sins they committed. Every leper mentioned in the Old Testament was afflicted because of some transgression. “Miriam uttered disrespectful words against God’s chosen servant Moses, and, therefore, was she smitten with leprosy. Joab, with his family and descendants, was cursed by David for having treacherously murdered his great rival Abner. Gehazi provoked the anger of Elisha by his mean covetousness, calculated to bring the name of Israel into disrepute among the heathen. King . . . Uzziah was smitten with incurable leprosy for his alleged usurpation of priestly privileges in burning incense on the golden altar of the Temple” (Kalisch).

Some people may argue that these lepers took this audacious step to enter the camp of the Syrians because of the word that came from Elisha but I also think they took the bold step due to what I call the “Dead goat no fear knife” syndrome which literally means a dead goat doesn’t fear the severity of the blades of a knife. These were lepers whose condition was considered a risk to others and the laws of the land forbade them from dwelling among healthy people. Even though Elisha prophesied, they could have equally allowed their condition to dictate to them but they chose to take a risk.

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I believe some of us at a point in our lives find ourselves in the condition these lepers found themselves in, not necessarily physically but mentally or socially.In Africa, there are some people that as a result of their family lineage, have been told they can’t enjoy some privileges due to some past deeds of their ancestors. They believe their family has been cursed and they’ve been bombarded with the delusional cliché that: “Nothing good comes out of this family”. There are some people who as a result of their physical conditions, have been told they can’t achieve anything positive in life. In Ghana, there are some tribesmen who can’t attain some prestigious positions because of their tribal inclinations. Some people as a result of them coming from families that are not financially stable have given up pursuing their God-given dreams because the situation surrounding them makes them believe that, they don’t stand a chance against people from affluent homes. And just like the lepers, they sit at the gates of life living an average life.

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I don’t know what situation you find yourself in. I don’t know the obstacles you’re facing. I don’t know what people or society think about your condition. 99% of the odds might be against you and your 1% chance of achieving your dream, or changing the status quo is also slim. The truth is if you accept the odds which are 99% against you, you’d die anyway, not necessarily literally but your dream would. Your purpose would. So why not take the 1% chance which has an element of doom in it but also has an aorta of hope in it.

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If you could just look beyond the numerical 1% and recognize the possibility behind it which is God, you’d realize that the 99% odds that were against you were just an illusion to stifle and manipulate your progress. If you could just leap at that 1% possibility, the power behind it (God) can bring you to a place where you’d have enough to eat, drink and carry silver, gold, and raiment just like what the lepers enjoyed when they took that audacious decision.

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That 1% chance you’re not willing to take can be the turning point in your life. The destiny of a family might be dependent on that 1% chance that you’re unwilling to take. The fortunes of a generation might depend on that 1% chance so why not take it? After all, what have you got to lose?

Source of Information on leprosy: BibleHub & Jewish Encyclopedia.

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