Numbers 5; God’s presence in suffering

In a previous post from Leviticus chapter 13 Moses wrote, “as for the leper who has the infection, his clothes shall be torn, and the hair of his head shall be uncovered and he shall cover his moustache and cry, unclean! unclean!  He shall remain unclean all the days  during which he has the infection; he is unclean.  he shall live alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.”

At first glance this seems harsh, compounding an illness with the lonliness of expulsion.  This was done to preserve the safety of the camp as even as early as this there was the sense of communicable diseases.  Where though is God in the midst of this lonely suffering?

Enter Numbers chapter 5 which reminds us that no matter what we are going through, God is present with us.  We may not understand a purpose, but He is present.  “Command the sons of Israel that they send away from the camp every leper…so that they will not defile their camp, where I will dwell in their midst.”  What an astonishing promise to any who find themselves alone.  God will dwell there, even in the darkest moments.


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