wet wall

Leprosy in the house

Leviticus 14: 33-36 (The Law Concerning Leprous Houses)

And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying: “When you have come into the land of Canaan, which I give you as a possession, and I put the leprous plague in a house in the land of your possession, and he who owns the house comes and tells the priest, saying, ‘It seems to me that there is some plague in the house,’ then the priest shall command that they empty the house, before the priest goes into it to examine the plague, that all that is in the house may not be made unclean; and afterward the priest shall go in to examine the house.

The book of Leviticus is one of those books that make me appreciate the grace I enjoy today as a Christian. The chapter-by-chapter study of this book in fellowship is the most likely possible means to make me read it to the end.  I seriously don’t think I would be patient to take each chapter on my own otherwise. The temptation to skip to the end will be very strong. There are times when I wonder how God had so much time to address even tiny details that a rational man would term very insignificant. Yes, He seems to be interested in the details; all of them.  

The first seven chapters of the book went on and on about various kinds of offerings to be offered to God and how to go about them. The next three chapters were on how the priests went about their priestly obligations. Then we arrived at regulations on food to be eaten, purifications after childbirth, skin infections and body discharges. Perhaps my attention was immensely drawn in chapter 14 which talked about leprosy in the house because I could really relate.  

As a child I understood leprosy was a dangerous skin disease and I was told lepers are kept outside the society like outcasts to prevent the spread of the disease. When we travel, I see some persons along the highway whom I considered as lepers when I see their fingers and toes. What I didn’t know was that I had even seen some in the society from a close range.  All I knew then was that the sight of the affected skin was hideous- something that could make me loose appetite for food instantly.

The Bible however uses the term ‘leprosy’ for a range of diseases affecting the skin like we see in chapter 13 of Leviticus. Then it addresses mildew in chapter 14 as leprosy in the house. The affected part of such house is to be broken down and reconstructed to eliminate the mildew. Mold or mildew thrives in a damp environment and I think could be likened to leprosy because it spreads.  

God instructed the Israelites to report any case of mildew they observe to the priest. Before the priest comes to examine the house, it must be emptied. If it is certified infected on examination, the affected wall is to be scraped off, thrown out of town and replaced with new bricks. Then it is plastered again. An infected house was tagged ‘unclean’ until it’s corrected and the required purification rites were done. Today there are no purification rites but the process is quite similar. The root cause is to be discovered and fixed before trying to correct the deforming wall. Otherwise the problem reoccurs. It’s like treating the symptoms of cancer and ignoring the cancer itself- death is imminent.

Sin is an infection

We can apply this to our lives as Christians. First of all, how does an infected house look? Unattractive, right? Yeah, that is how sin makes you look before God. Hence, the need for cleansing. Sin in the life of a Christian is an infectious disease like leprosy. It starts somewhere and if it is left unchecked, it spreads. When you find yourself repeating a wrong thing over and over again, you should check for the actual problem you have and work on it.

Back then in my university days I was in a relationship with clearly defined boundaries. We both knew sex was a ‘no-go area’ but I gave myself further standards by extending the boundaries. I defined fornication as anything beyond a normal touch and embrace. This was to keep me away from being tempted to sin. We never had sex but a time came when we had time alone too often and I understood what it means to struggle with sin.  Each time I compromised my extra standards, I had feelings of guilt overwhelm me. We tried to console ourselves by believing we had done nothing wrong since sex was not involved. I tried to find solace in Romans 7:15-19.

For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.          

 Paul went further and exclaimed “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Is this supposed to justify sin?  Who was I kidding? He answered himself in the next chapter.

Romans 8:1-2. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

Sin is curable

If you truly have the Spirit of the living God inside of you, it sets you free from the bondage of sin. The Spirit, through the wisdom in the written word of God, reveals a way out of the devil’s schemes.  I knew better than to stay alone behind closed door with someone I had feelings for and ask for God’s mercy. That is putting God to test. The solution was to create a physical distance or meet in public. If we must be alone, the door was to be left open. These were tough decisions for me to make then but they worked. I mentally imagined the look on God’s face anytime I tried to let my guards down. We quarreled over my rules but I upheld them and he had to comply if we were going to remain together.

Fornication is just one among many sins people easily fall prey to. The solution is to find the root cause of the sin you find yourself repeating. If it’s your girlfriend or boyfriend that won’t stick to boundaries, it’s time to end such a relationship. Sex should never be a reason to be with someone whom you are not married to. If you find yourself always doing something wrong when you are in the company of someone or some people, social distancing comes handy here. Avoid their company by all means.

1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”

What about a sin that nobody physically encourages you to commit, yet you find yourself there all the time? Seek help. Remember God’s instruction earlier? If a man notices the plague in his house, he is to report to the priest. The priest then instructs him to empty his house for proper examination. When you cover sin, it festers and the devil is exalted. Decorating a wall infested with mildew is not the solution. It will look good for a few days and the tide lines are back again. Just like wearing an expensive cloth is not the cure for body odour.

Our roof once had a leak and we only found out when the freshly painted wall began to show tide lines. We got someone to climb into the roof, find the leaking spot and fix it. I had a worse experience of wet walls in my room where I lived before. I was told it was a structural problem of the house. Water seemed to be absorbed into the wall from the bathroom and my room which was at the other side of the wall suffered the consequence. The painting and wallpaper gave way gradually. The books and every other item resting on the wall got damp and some were rendered useless. It was that bad. 

You can do better

I urge you to examine your life today. Take a flash light (the word of God) into the dark areas of your life and see if there is a mildew growing somewhere within the walls of your life. Fix it before it totally destroys you.  A reoccurring sin in your life is an indication of a deeper problem lurking around secretly in your heart. Take it to God in prayer and confide in a spiritually mature person that can hold you accountable to keep you in check. What about our homes as parents? How attentive are you to the conducts of the members of your home? Could there be someone of questionable behavior that could influence the others? Ask for God’s intervention through prayers and take necessary actions to correct such conduct in love.

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