Introduction: We have learned that God was always at work testing Moses’ faith. Though God gave Moses miracles to perform, they were not the kind which rendered Moses’ faith impassive or automatic. Rather, though mighty in their supernatural power, each miracle was actually a test of Moses’ faith, following the pattern of God’s testing in our lives, which Peter describes in 1 Peter 1:7: “These (trials) have come so that our faith – of greater worth than gold… may be proved genuine… .” May we rejoice with Moses and Peter as we see the effort which God expends in order to refine His gift of faith in our lives. May we also be encouraged, when trials are exhausting us and tempting us to give up, to remember the fruitful purposes of God in such tests of our faith.

Monday: read Exodus 4:6-9 and 1 Peter 1:6-7. Though God gave Moses several miraculous signs by which to test, refine and strengthen his faith, we focus on leprosy, as the sign which Moses had to bear in his body in Ex. 4:6. Richard Trench, in his book, Notes on the Miracles of Our Lord, says that leprosy was a “dreadful parable of death, with the leper bearing about him emblems of death, as if mourning for himself”: the torn clothes; the bare head; the covered lip (Ezekiel 24:17). How amazing then, that God would afflict Moses with this disease even for a short time! But such trials, Peter tells us, are part and parcel of the Christian life, prompting Christians who “rejoice” in their coming salvation (1 Peter 1:5-6) to nevertheless experience real “grief” in this life – just as Moses must have grieved to behold his hand, by which he was to wield the power of God in Egypt, now smitten with leprosy.

Meditate and Pray: Meditate deeply on the seemingly contradictory nature of Christian experience. Often we can be at one and the same time “greatly rejoicing” in the hope of salvation, yet “grieved” at the trials which God sends. This is how Peter describes the Christian life, and this is what Moses experienced. In the midst of Moses’ joy at the prospect of the redemption from Egypt, see him stricken with leprosy, fear, trial and testing. It is the same in our lives: “greatly rejoicing” and yet “grieved.” May the Lord deliver us from any superficial view of the Christian life which simplistically claims that all our problems have gone, and now we are “happy all the day.”

Tuesday: read Exodus 4:6-9 and Zechariah 13:1-2. How great a trial of faith for Moses to see his hand afflicted with leprosy, and then to be asked by God to put this infected, deadly hand back in his bosom! But what an appropriate sign this was for Moses to bear in his body, as God’s representative! For consider Israel: “leprous” after 400 years in the flesh pots of Egypt and under the idolatry of that land (Joshua 24:14). Moreover, did not their subsequent history show how quickly Israel “turned back to Egypt” (Acts 7:39), becoming infected again and again by the corruption of sin – just like a leper whose disease would lay dormant for years and then erupt with new angry welts? Behold God’s people in Egypt: dead with misery and exhaustion – not only from the oppression of the world, but from the anguish of their own diseased, sin-sick hearts! By enduring a leprous hand and then seeing it restored, Moses would learn much about carrying the “sin-sick” nation of Israel, looking to God continually for His cleansing forgiveness for the people of God!

Meditate and Pray: Rejoice today in knowing that there is a fountain of forgiveness with the Lord, and that He Himself is committed to removing the impurities of our idols and the iniquity of our hearts (Zech. 13:1-2). Sing about this in hymn # 253:

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood shall never lose its power
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.
Be saved, to sin no more, be saved, to sin no more;
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.

Wednesday: read Exodus 4:6-9 and Psalm 51:7. The disease of leprosy pictured sin in terms meant to symbolize death. The very same instruments of cleansing (such as bunches of hyssop for sprinkling, Leviticus 14:4-7) were used to cure a leper and cleanse those defiled by a dead body. The sentence was the same in either case: “Unclean, unclean” (Lev. 13:45-46). No wonder David sought to describe the depth of his iniquity via the language of a leper being cleansed with hyssop in Psalm 51:7! He was confessing his long-term battle with spiritual leprosy, as one who had sinned unto death, and who needed restoration each and every day of his life. He had learned most profoundly how his sin produced deadly separation from God!

Meditate and Pray: Thank God that He is able to use even the most polluting of experiences of sin to create in his own an ever-increasing humility because of their sin; watchfulness against future occasions of sin, and a dependence for support upon God alone for His forgiving grace. And all this was because of God’s covenant of grace, by which He remembered His people in the pollutions of Egypt and sent Moses on an inward “cleansing” mission to Egypt – not a mere physical deliverance of Israel out of that land. Sing about God’s power to take the polluting effects of Egypt out of our hearts, as well as redeeming out bodies out of the environment of sin, in hymn # 495, verses 3-5:

Lord, I confess to Thee sadly my sin;
All I am tell with Thee, all I have been:
Purge Thou my sin away, wash Thou my soul this day;
Lord, make me clean.

Faithful and just art Thou, forgiving all;
Loving and kind art Thou when poor ones call:
Lord, let the cleansing blood, blood of the Lamb of God,
Pass o’er my soul.

Then all is peace and light this soul within;
Thus shall I walk with Thee, the loved Unseen;
Leaning on Thee, my God, guided along the road,
Nothing between.

Thursday: read Exodus 4:6-9 and Numbers 12:10-15. That God chose such a distasteful, dangerous, infectious and limb-destroying disease as leprosy to picture sin should make us all the more urgent in our prayers for those still in the grip and uncleanness of un-forgiven sin, who, alas, do not yet know the cleansing power of Christ. May we pray to Jesus for mercy for our loved ones in sin just as Aaron interceded with Moses, and Moses with God, for the leprosy of their sister in Numbers 12:11-12: Please, my lord, do not hold against us the sin we have so foolishly committed. Do not let her be like a stillborn infant coming from its mother’s womb with its flesh half eaten away. Notice especially how Aaron links his and Miriam’s sin of rebellion against Moses not only with leprosy, but with death (like that of a stillborn infant). Let us therefore be clear about the deadliness of all sin. Just as leprosy aims for the destruction of the whole life of its host, so sin will not be satisfied with anything less than the death of those in its grip. How does Paul describe such heedlessness to the disease of sin in Romans 1:32?

Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Meditate and Pray: Sing with urgency the words of hymn # 381 in our Trinity Hymnal:

Brethren, we have met to worship and adore the Lord our God;
Will you pray with all your power, while we try to preach the Word?
All is vain unless the Spirit of the Holy One comes down;
Brethren, pray, and holy manna will be showered all around.

Brethren, see poor sinners round you slumbering on the brink of woe;
Death is coming, hell is moving, can you bear to let them go?
See our fathers and our mothers, and our children sinking down;
Brethren, pray and holy manna will be showered all around

Friday: read Exodus 4:6-9 and Isaiah 40:10-11. God was determined to make Moses into a living picture of His own Divine care for His people in all their impurities. Moses would learn to carry God’s “leprous people” as gingerly as one carries his own diseased and painfully inflamed hand. Not that Moses found it easy. He says to God in Numbers 11:11-12:

What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant…?

In this way, God uses Moses’ “bearing of Israel’s diseases” as a picture of how He would carry His polluted people Israel in His own Divine bosom (Isa. 40:11) and even share with them, in the person of His Son, the very pollutions and guilt of their sin! After all, when Jesus came, is it not said of Him that “He Himself took up our infirmities and carried our diseases” (Mt. 8:17)?

Meditate and Pray: Let us thank God for His Son’s saving work, cleansing our sin, taking away our pollution and the leprosy of our hearts, just as effectively as restoring the leprous hand of Moses back to wholesome purity. Most of all, let us thank Jesus that He never rebelled against “taking our infirmities and carrying our diseases” like Moses did! He everyday bears with us and cleanses us afresh, not just from “seven” sins, but “seven times seventy!”