We live in a day and age in the Developed World where there is a pill that cures almost anything. It’s easy to forget that it wasn’t too long ago that antibiotics didn’t even exist.
So, when we read an ancient document, like Leviticus, it is easy to think God strange and that He is some kind of micromanager of life. The reality is that the best way to avoid many diseases, even today, is with behavior change. In fact, behavior change is a far more effective disease deterrent than is medicine. It’s why in the Third World getting people to drink clean water is far more effective at eliminating dysentery than is getting everyone anti-diarrheal medicine. And if we could get mothers to understand that letting their kids play in the feces of farm animals is what is leading to their infestation with parasites then there would be no need for medication or surgery in some cases.
I’m not completely sure if this is why Leviticus is filled with clean and unclean language, but today it occurred to me that as God was forming this new nation that rules for how to live life were the only way to guarantee the health and wellbeing of the community. There was no such thing as taking a daily shower or using powerful detergents to deal with blood and puss and mildew and mold. And if these things went unchecked an entire nation could have been killed by their inattention.
Israel’s survival and ability to thrive was rooted not only in God, but in behavior.