Next he shall slaughter the lamb of the guilt offering; and the priest is to take some of the blood of the guilt offering and put it on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot. The priest shall also pour some of the oil into his left palm; and with his right-hand finger the priest shall sprinkle some of the oil that is in his left palm seven times before the LORD. The priest shall then put some of the oil that is in his palm on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot, on the place of the blood of the guilt offering.
This passage is part of the law detailing how to restore a leper to fellowship with God and the rest of the Israelites. Leprosy was incurable, so I can only imagine the priests writing these rules down wondering when they would ever use them. Hundreds of years later, Jesus comes along and the priests are suddenly reading this passage over again and figuring out what offerings needed to be made for these lepers who had been made clean. And I wonder if any of them had to read these verses and verse 14-18 (which are the same thing) a second or a third time.
Most of the sacrifices involved slaughtering an animal. Nothing to see there. Handling the blood of the offering was a normal part of the sacrifice. But the priest is instructed to take some of the blood of the guilt offering and put it on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot. This had to cause some of the priests to pause a moment. Leviticus 8:23-24 and Exodus 29:20 had to be nagging at the priest’s consciousness. This placement of blood and in this order was the same as the cleansing of a priest. Then the priest is told to put some of the oil that is in his palm on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot. Same locations as the blood, but oil this time.
It has often been said that the three locations represent what we hear (ear), what we do (hand), and where we go (foot). The smearing of the blood on those locations — whatever we take them to mean symbolically — is most definitely a visual indicator of those things being cleansed and the smearing of oil on those locations is a symbol of them being anointed for sanctification; set apart for God’s especial use. The oil is also symbolic of the Holy Spirit, particularly when used to anoint a person.
And this applies to me, as a believer. Christ’s blood has been applied to me to cleanse all of me — what I hear which impacts how I think; what I do and where I go which are driven by my will and my emotions — and to change me. The Holy Spirit should be controlling how I hear what I hear — i.e. I should be hearing with His ears — and controlling what I do and where I go. If God is not in control of these things and I do not see changes in them, then I must ask whether or not I am in right relationship to God.
The procedure for restoring a cleansed leper to fellowship was both a preparation for the time when Jesus came and cleansed lepers and a picture of what would be done for the spiritual lepers of the world who came to Jesus Christ for cleansing. And we are, all of us, spiritual lepers apart from Jesus cleansing us.
Father, thank You for this picture painted long before a single leper was cleansed and there was any need to restore them to fellowship. Thank You for the reminder that my life should be impacted by You cleansing and anointing. Please show me where I am so that I may stay the course if I am walking where You want me or that I repent andcorrect my course if I am not walking rightly.