Analogies are great. Sometimes you can find them just by paying attention to the little things in our world. Sometimes, they jump from the pages of the Bible itself. This week, I was on vacation in another town and visited the little church that was right across the street from where I was staying. The pastor made a great analogy in his sermon involving Leviticus 14. Sin is like a plague on our spiritual house. From the moment it is suspected to the day we are pronounced “clean,” we must be aggressive about removing it.
“When ye be come into the land of Canaan, which I give to you for a possession, and I put the plague of leprosy in a house of the land of your possession…”Leviticus 14:34
Sin is Like Leprosy
Leprosy in the Bible is a serious business. The word in Hebrew is “tzaraat.” It held a meaning that was later confused with the medical condition of leprosy that we know about from the Middle Ages and beyond. While both diseases have to do with the lesions on the skin in part, the bigger picture for biblical leprosy was more about being unclean in the eyes of God. It was an outward expression of an internal defilement placed there by God Himself. If it showed up on YOUR body, your clothing, or your house, it had to be handled. If it was someone else, it had to be avoided. That meant lepers were separated for both physical and moral reasons. Nobody wanted anything to do with the people, places, and things that were displeasing to God.
Sin also causes us to be unclean in God’s eyes. When it shows up in our house – our lives – we have a problem that we must deal with before it spreads or destroys us altogether.
Leprosy in the House
Since leprosy wasn’t just any old physical ailment, the Lord had specific instructions about what to do with a case of it. When it showed up in a house, Leviticus 14:33-53 outlined a seven-step plan of action to follow. It’s amazing how closely the whole scenario aligns with the idea of dealing with sin in our lives.
Step 1: Report it to the priest the moment it is even suspected (Leviticus 14:35).
“And he that owneth the house shall come and tell the priest, saying, ‘It seemeth to me there is as it were a plague in the house.’”Leviticus 14:35
Sin is like a plague, a cancer that will spread unless it’s dealt with aggressively from the moment a blemish appears. When we find ourselves alerted to something in our lives that even “seems” to be a possible case of sin, it’s important to contact our High Priest immediately. Of course, I’m not talking about our local pastors. I’m talking about the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:14).
Step 2: The priest would command the house to be emptied and then inspect it (Leviticus 14:36).
Inviting Jesus to inspect us is simply a matter of prayer. We must clear out all our mental clutter and focus our attention on Him. Then we can invite Him to search us. Psalm 139:23-24 is a prayer we can pray. It says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Step 3: If leprosy was suspected, the priest would shut the house for seven days and check again (Leviticus 14:38-39).
It may take more than one prayer on more than one day for the Lord to show us the entire scope of the issue. We must keep praying until we have peace.
Step 4: If it is still there, the priest would command the stones of the house to be removed and cast into an unclean area of the city (Leviticus 14:39-40).
When Jesus finds a sin He wants us to deal with, here’s the important part. We must be aggressive and get everything out of our lives that even MIGHT be contributing to it. We must take it far away and dump it.
The pastor told a story of a teenager he knew. The boy told him that the Lord had been dealing with him to stop listening to a certain kind of music. The boy boxed everything up and put it at the top of his closet. You can guess what happened a few months later when the boy came to the pastor again for help with the same issue. The pastor had to ask the question, “Why didn’t you get rid of it?” If the Lord is dealing with us about a situation in our lives involving people, places, or things, we must get them out – completely. We can’t make provision. We can’t keep things “just in case.” There must be a total removal, a mental and physical separation with bridges burned for no return.
Step 5: Then the house must be scraped and the dust removed to the same unclean place (Leviticus 14:41).
It does no good to remove the stones from the house if you leave the remnants in the walls. Here’s where we must deal with the roots of sin. The example the pastor gave was about anger in a marriage. It won’t help to deal with your temper if you don’t clean up the bitterness and unforgiveness that set it off. Scraping is simply taking more time in prayer. That allows Jesus to help you realize and repent for all the issues involved in the sin. It may take some time but will save you time in the long run. After all, if you don’t get it all out, it will keep coming back again.
Step 6: New stones must replace the old ones with new mortar (Leviticus 14:42).
Once the stones are gone and the walls are scraped, you must consciously fill your house with fresh stones and mortar. If you leave a void, something WILL come in to fill it. This way, you get to pick the things that are God-honoring and bring you closer to Jesus. The example the pastor gave was an addiction. If you get the means to an addiction out and scrape for the underlying root causes for the “need” for that addiction, you must then consciously fill that void with something good. Otherwise, another unhealthy addiction might find its way back into your void.
Step 7: If the plague didn’t come back, it would be pronounced healed (Leviticus 14:48). Then a special animal sacrifice would be made to cleanse the house (Leviticus 14:49-53). If the plague did come back, the entire house must be destroyed and rebuilt (Leviticus 14:43-45).
“For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.”1 John 3:20-21
When we repent and get everything touching that sin out of our lives, we have peace through the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus. If not, the Lord may need to take some more drastic measures. In fact, this is another reason we must be merciless about dealing with even the first signs of sin. It’s the easy way. We can pray and ask the Lord to help us remove sin before He has to take down our timbers with our stones.
Sin is Like a Plague on Our HousePraise the Lord that we still have a High Priest who makes house calls. Click To Tweet
I really enjoyed the pastor’s sermon and learning more about leprosy for this blog. The most impactful part of the study, for me, was Leviticus 14:35 and the words “seemeth to me.” At the first hint that something seems to be amiss, THAT is the moment when we must deal with sin in our lives. We can’t just cover it with a wall hanging or wait and see if it grows.
We must be immediate and aggressive about getting it out. Not to the top of our closet or out into the backyard. But far enough away that we can never dig it back out again. God is not pleased with sin and will help us repent and change our ways if we allow Him to do it. If not, He may need to get more extreme, calling in a demolition crew to raze our house to the ground. Either way, sin must be removed if we are to remain in God’s presence. Then the blood of Jesus will make us clean.
Special thanks to Pastor Brandon at the little church across the way.
If you like to look closely at scripture, try Three Simple Instructions From God to Us. In it, we look at Hebrews 3-4. Or, try Decide to Become a Bondslave for Christ where we look at Exodus 21:1-6. Please sign up to receive my blog in your email inbox. You can find that at the upper right of your screen (or at the bottom on a phone). Also, check out my YouTube Channel where I read the blogs out loud and have a playlist of hymns.