Boils, Church, and Social Injustice

Exodus 9:10 NIV “So they took soot from the kiln and stood before Pharaoh. And Moses threw it in the air, and it became boils breaking out in sores on man and beast.”
Ouch! I don’t know if you’ve ever suffered a boil, but it is horribly painful. It is a reddened, tender abscess caused by bacteria that erupts on the skin. A boil can be anywhere in size from a pea to a golf ball. Healing starts when the boil forms pus (a thin, protein-rich fluid that accumulates under the skin as an immune system response) and then bursts.
Boils can burst spontaneously, but many sufferers make a trip to the doctor to get boils lanced (that is, incised and drained). I’ve experienced a few in my younger years and whenever one appeared I hated watching it grow. Discomfort and various degrees of pain followed, depending on which part of my body was infected.
The prophet Isaiah gives instructions on how to get rid of a boil: “Let them take a cake of figs and apply it to the boil that he may recover.” Isaiah 38:21 NIV
Yet, another practice cited in one of the books of Moses: “If there is in the skin of one’s body a boil and it heals, and in the place of the boil there comes a white swelling or a reddish-white spot, then it shall be shown to the priest. And the priest shall look, and if it appears deeper than the skin and its hair has turned white, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean. It is a case of leprous disease that has broken out in the boil. But if the priest examines it and there is no white hair in it and it is not deeper than the skin, but has faded, then the priest shall shut him up seven days. And if it spreads in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean; it is a disease …” Leviticus 13:18-23 NIV
Wow! Surprised indeed, by this ancient advice about boils then I started thinking: Yes, we find boils on people’s bodies, but also on the body of the church.
When the sword of Christ does not lance various spiritual infections, there is no healing inside or outside the church body.
The sword of Christ, of course, is a symbol of God’s Word. We are to love God with our hearts, minds, souls, and bodies; we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. I mean the church should be a place of healing when a spiritual boil erupts. We have the example of Isaiah to apply a healing balm, or from Leviticus, to seek the guidance of a trusted spiritual leader.
However, festering boils also erupt outside the church, caused by sin in the world. Jesus died on the cross for salvation’s sake. Why must we compel the church to speak about social injustices? Our God is the God of the living, not of the dead. Lord, forgive us for not being risk-takers, for not being change agents, for the sake of your kingdom. Are we never going to lance these boils of social injustice with the sword of Christ? This is why Imoan…


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