A Leprous House: Leviticus 14:36-45

Leviticus 14:36‑45  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Leviticus 14:36-4536Then the priest shall command that they empty the house, before the priest go into it to see the plague, that all that is in the house be not made unclean: and afterward the priest shall go in to see the house: 37And he shall look on the plague, and, behold, if the plague be in the walls of the house with hollow strakes, greenish or reddish, which in sight are lower than the wall; 38Then the priest shall go out of the house to the door of the house, and shut up the house seven days: 39And the priest shall come again the seventh day, and shall look: and, behold, if the plague be spread in the walls of the house; 40Then the priest shall command that they take away the stones in which the plague is, and they shall cast them into an unclean place without the city: 41And he shall cause the house to be scraped within round about, and they shall pour out the dust that they scrape off without the city into an unclean place: 42And they shall take other stones, and put them in the place of those stones; and he shall take other mortar, and shall plaster the house. 43And if the plague come again, and break out in the house, after that he hath taken away the stones, and after he hath scraped the house, and after it is plaistered; 44Then the priest shall come and look, and, behold, if the plague be spread in the house, it is a fretting leprosy in the house: it is unclean. 45And he shall break down the house, the stones of it, and the timber thereof, and all the mortar of the house; and he shall carry them forth out of the city into an unclean place. (Leviticus 14:36‑45)
We have been speaking of the plague of leprosy in a house, and would like to add a few more remarks as to this solemn matter. May we who are fathers be more careful what we allow in our homes! Let us never suppose that because our children want to do something in the home, we can escape our responsibility before God if we allow it. God will hold every Christian father responsible for what takes place in his home. It is not enough to speak against it (Eli did that), but we must put a stop to it. In fact, the matter was so serious, as we see in our chapter, that everything was to be carried out of the house while the plague was carefully looked into. The plagued “stones” were pulled out, and the plaster of the house scraped off, and all, even the very dust of it, was put in an unclean place. Then new stones were to be put in place of the leprous ones, and the house was to be replastered. If doing all this did not check the spread of the leprosy, then the house was to be completely torn down, and the timber, the plaster, and the stones, were to be carried to an unclean place. Surely this has a deep lesson for us, for it is a type of what has happened in so many Christian homes even in our day. Little things were allowed, until at last the whole home became completely for the world, and no one could go into it without being defiled. No one could eat or sleep in this leprous house, of which we read here, without having to wash his clothes, and even then he was unclean until the evening. If the enemy of our souls cannot lead us to personal unfaithfulness, he will use every effort to ruin our homes, thus breaking our hearts and closing our mouths (1 Timothy 3:55(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) (1 Timothy 3:5)). Many of our readers are young people, and we need to remember that we reap what we sow. If we go into worldliness, then God in His government may allow us to get the wrong partner who will be a hindrance, instead of a help, in maintaining godliness in the home (1 Kings 11:44For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. (1 Kings 11:4)). There is no sweeter place on earth than a home where the Lord is given His rightful place, but no sadder place than one where He is not (Deuteronomy 11:18-2818Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. 19And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 20And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates: 21That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth. 22For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him; 23Then will the Lord drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves. 24Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be. 25There shall no man be able to stand before you: for the Lord your God shall lay the fear of you and the dread of you upon all the land that ye shall tread upon, as he hath said unto you. 26Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; 27A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day: 28And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known. (Deuteronomy 11:18‑28)).
Sin in the Assembly
Now there is also the application of what we have in our chapter, to sin in the assembly. There is a great responsibility upon those who are leaders in the assembly. We need faithful men, those who are true “doorkeeper[s] in the house of ... God” (Psalm 84:1010For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. (Psalm 84:10)). Sometimes, in order to save hard feelings and misunderstandings, we are liable to receive those into the assembly who cause the “red and greenish streaks” of leprosy which defile the whole assembly. Faithfulness in receiving to the Lord’s table, as well as faithfulness with those who are already there, is not an easy thing; but it is most necessary, though always in love. Alas, how often we see the modern “red streaks!” of worldliness with some, even while sitting at the Lord’s table, and our hearts are made sad. May we watch against these early beginnings of departure from the Lord, for one thing soon leads to another when we start on a wrong path.
Of course, priestly discernment was necessary, as we see in our chapter; and each case is different, but there was to be no negligence. If the leprosy was checked in time, the house could be cleansed, but if not, it had to be torn down.
For Further Meditation
1. What is one thing the Lord may allow in our lives if we go on with worldliness?
2. How was an Israelite to deal with the green and red streaks that might appear in the walls of their home? How can a Christian father apply this picture to his own home?
3. Leprosy in the House, and Its Cleansing from the Bible Treasury Volume N4 found at bibletruthlibrary.org will give you more teaching on these conscience-stirring types from Scripture.