A Low Place and High Grace: Leviticus 14:45-16:3

Leviticus 14:45‑16:3  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 10
Leviticus 14:45-16:345And 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. 46Moreover he that goeth into the house all the while that it is shut up shall be unclean until the even. 47And he that lieth in the house shall wash his clothes; and he that eateth in the house shall wash his clothes. 48And if the priest shall come in, and look upon it, and, behold, the plague hath not spread in the house, after the house was plaistered: then the priest shall pronounce the house clean, because the plague is healed. 49And he shall take to cleanse the house two birds, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop: 50And he shall kill the one of the birds in an earthen vessel over running water: 51And he shall take the cedar wood, and the hyssop, and the scarlet, and the living bird, and dip them in the blood of the slain bird, and in the running water, and sprinkle the house seven times: 52And he shall cleanse the house with the blood of the bird, and with the running water, and with the living bird, and with the cedar wood, and with the hyssop, and with the scarlet: 53But he shall let go the living bird out of the city into the open fields, and make an atonement for the house: and it shall be clean. 54This is the law for all manner of plague of leprosy, and scall, 55And for the leprosy of a garment, and of a house, 56And for a rising, and for a scab, and for a bright spot: 57To teach when it is unclean, and when it is clean: this is the law of leprosy. 1And the Lord spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying, 2Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When any man hath a running issue out of his flesh, because of his issue he is unclean. 3And this shall be his uncleanness in his issue: whether his flesh run with his issue, or his flesh be stopped from his issue, it is his uncleanness. 4Every bed, whereon he lieth that hath the issue, is unclean: and every thing, whereon he sitteth, shall be unclean. 5And whosoever toucheth his bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. 6And he that sitteth on any thing whereon he sat that hath the issue shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. 7And he that toucheth the flesh of him that hath the issue shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. 8And if he that hath the issue spit upon him that is clean; then he shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. 9And what saddle soever he rideth upon that hath the issue shall be unclean. 10And whosoever toucheth any thing that was under him shall be unclean until the even: and he that beareth any of those things shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. 11And whomsoever he toucheth that hath the issue, and hath not rinsed his hands in water, he shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. 12And the vessel of earth, that he toucheth which hath the issue, shall be broken: and every vessel of wood shall be rinsed in water. 13And when he that hath an issue is cleansed of his issue; then he shall number to himself seven days for his cleansing, and wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in running water, and shall be clean. 14And on the eighth day he shall take to him two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, and come before the Lord unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and give them unto the priest: 15And the priest shall offer them, the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for him before the Lord for his issue. 16And if any man's seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall wash all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the even. 17And every garment, and every skin, whereon is the seed of copulation, shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the even. 18The woman also with whom man shall lie with seed of copulation, they shall both bathe themselves in water, and be unclean until the even. 19And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even. 20And every thing that she lieth upon in her separation shall be unclean: every thing also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean. 21And whosoever toucheth her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. 22And whosoever toucheth any thing that she sat upon shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. 23And if it be on her bed, or on any thing whereon she sitteth, when he toucheth it, he shall be unclean until the even. 24And if any man lie with her at all, and her flowers be upon him, he shall be unclean seven days; and all the bed whereon he lieth shall be unclean. 25And if a woman have an issue of her blood many days out of the time of her separation, or if it run beyond the time of her separation; all the days of the issue of her uncleanness shall be as the days of her separation: she shall be unclean. 26Every bed whereon she lieth all the days of her issue shall be unto her as the bed of her separation: and whatsoever she sitteth upon shall be unclean, as the uncleanness of her separation. 27And whosoever toucheth those things shall be unclean, and shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. 28But if she be cleansed of her issue, then she shall number to herself seven days, and after that she shall be clean. 29And on the eighth day she shall take unto her two turtles, or two young pigeons, and bring them unto the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 30And the priest shall offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for her before the Lord for the issue of her uncleanness. 31Thus shall ye separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness; that they die not in their uncleanness, when they defile my tabernacle that is among them. 32This is the law of him that hath an issue, and of him whose seed goeth from him, and is defiled therewith; 33And of her that is sick of her flowers, and of him that hath an issue, of the man, and of the woman, and of him that lieth with her that is unclean. 1And the Lord spake unto Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered before the Lord, and died; 2And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat. 3Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering. (Leviticus 14:45‑16:3)
We were noticing that if leprosy continued to spread in a house, the house had to be torn down. We believe these things have a voice for us even today. How many places we can think of where there was once a happy testimony gathered to the precious name of the Lord Jesus, but “the house” has been torn down and the “candlestick” removed (Revelation 2:55Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. (Revelation 2:5)). These things can all be traced to unwatchfulness and unfaithfulness, and we all have our part in it. May these things exercise each one of us who are children of God, for we are members one of another, and we each have our own responsibility before the Lord.
It is lovely to see the provision made here if the plague was checked in time, for the house could then be preserved by that which figured the death of Christ. The cedar wood, the scarlet, and the hyssop were all to be dipped in the blood of the bird that had been killed, as in the case of the cleansing of a leper himself. Sometimes there is a danger of considering a man’s position (like the great cedars), and not acting in faithfulness because of this; but the cedar wood (man in his greatness), the scarlet (human glory), and the hyssop (man in his smallness), were all to be dipped in the blood. In a word, we are not to have respect of persons in these matters, but to act for God’s glory. We all need to take the low place, too, at such times. Even though this is law, and not grace in our chapter, let us remember God’s character has not changed, nor His estimate of sin, although we need to be “strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” in meeting it (2 Timothy 2:11Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 2:1)).
The Flesh Doesn’t Profit
The next chapter (Leviticus 15) reminds us once again, in figure, that we are fallen creatures, and that “the flesh profiteth nothing” (John 6:6363It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. (John 6:63)). Even contact with defilements, which in many cases we cannot prevent, defile us, and therefore the Word of God (like the water) needs to be constantly applied to all our ways. Then, too, the one who has an infirmity which he cannot help or prevent still needs both the application of the Word and of the death of Christ lest his infirmity be the means of getting him out of communion. What a hopeless condition we were in apart from the work of Christ, and how foolish for any person to think that in himself he is fit for God’s holy presence. Nothing we can do can cleanse away our sins, for every moral thought, every movement, every act of the natural man is sin.
God Going on With His People
The sixteenth chapter is most important as giving us the ground work, or basis, by which God could go on with Israel as a nation in all their guilt and defilements. Of course we need hardly remark here that all these things were only types and shadows, for the blood of bulls and goats could never put away sin (Hebrews 10:44For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. (Hebrews 10:4)), nor could they make the one who offered these sacrifices perfect as pertaining to the conscience. All this awaited the work of Christ, which was accomplished on Calvary, and which is the only real basis of God’s relationship with Israel, or with sinful man at all.
First we notice that there was to be a bullock for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. This gives us the two points in view on this most important day: the sin offering to meet the sinner’s need and the burnt offering showing how God has been fully glorified in the atonement which has been made.
For Further Meditation
1. What does hyssop represent in Scripture?
2. If we were to spend too much time thinking about our flesh, we would rapidly become discouraged. But our God has made a tremendous provision to be able to continue on with us. How many ways can you think of that God has made provision for both our weakness and our sin?
3. You can find a nice article from Words of Truth entitled The Bunch of Hyssop at bibletruthlibrary.org.