Why are discharges treated so seriously? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
It might seem odd in looking at marriage to go to Leviticus 15, but these are issues with regard to sexuality. Normally, the Bible is not that explicit concerning sexual terminology, though Song of Songs is exceptional in some ways. Many times, it uses euphemisms to speak of sexual activity or of sexual body parts.
Obviously, a discharge refers to something other than just going to the bathroom or else every man who is unclean after an emission would be pretty much constantly unclean, including the high priest. It more refers to emissions of a sexual nature that are likely outside of regular sexual activity. Sex isn’t dirty, but there are times to abstain to focus on holy aspects, as Paul advised temporarily for married couples in 1 Cor. 7 and sometimes would happen in the Old Testament in the wilderness wanderings when God was about to do something grand.
The same applied to a woman during the time of her period. For her, this is especially evident since she has a flow of blood and the loss of blood in this way was considered unclean. It’s worth noting this does not mean evil. It was no sin to have a period.
So now we have to ask a question that might seem obvious, but it is one worth thinking about. Why does God have all these regulations concerning the human body? Many of them also concern matters that were not sinful but would just happen over the course of time.
For one thing, the body matters. Many of us can treat the body as a negative. We refer to it as a prison. The body is something good and it is something that God will raise us up in again. Too many of us sing songs that are practically Gnostic where we compare the body to a prison. That doesn’t come from Jesus, but it comes from Plato instead.
Second, sex is something sacred as it is the connecting of two sacred bodies in the most intimate way possible. As a divorced man now, I am having to make the pledge that until I remarry again, I will be abstaining from sex. It is not because I delight in abstaining. It is not because I can celebrate and say “Whew! At least I don’t have to do that anymore!” It’s quite the opposite for me and for many other men who are divorced if not all of us.
So why do it? It’s the right thing to do. It honors God, our future spouses, and ourselves. Granted I have a future spouse, she will know that I was faithfully pure both inside of marriage and outside of it. Today, we often treat sex as a casual activity that you just do for recreation.
Christians are to hold to something different, but we are not to give the view that we are anti-sex. We should be the most pro-sex people out there. After all, God created this whole system and meant for us to enjoy it as well. He just wants to enjoy it in the way it was meant to be enjoyed and ultimately, the way that will provide us with the best joy.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)