“When you come into the land of Canaan … and I put a leprous disease in a house in the land of your possession, then he who owns the house shall come and tell the priest, ‘There seems to me to be some case of disease in my house.’ Then the priest shall command that they empty the house before the priest goes to examine the disease, lest all that is in the house be declared unclean.”
For the first two years of our marriage, Megan and I lived in a rental home that was tucked back in the woods, surrounded by trees, and had a plethora of moisture problems. The house sat right at the base of a hill, meaning that whenever a storm came, water pooled around the foundation of the home and filled our crawl space. When black mold started showing up in our bathroom, under the vanity, even behind the drywall, the landlord promptly put the house up for sale and gave us two months to move out. Unsurprisingly, the upper-respiratory infections I’d been chronically battling while living in that house seemed to evaporate overnight upon leaving.
To God, a moldy home and an infected body provide the same analogy for unconfessed sin. That’s why He poignantly speaks of both as leprous. Whenever these pilgrims see spotting on their arms or on their kitchen walls, He wants to condition them to instinctively recoil, to realize that such spotting isn’t good, that it does damage, and that the only possible remedy is to rid it at the source. He wants them to see in these physical phenomena an analogy for their spiritual condition, and to take it as a matter of life and death. The fact is we can cover up moldy walls with paint and wallpaper, but the toxins still spread. And we can wear long-sleeve shirts to cover up open sores, but the contagion is still virulent. And we can go to church on Sundays and join Bible studies on Wednesdays and serve in ministry on Saturdays, but if there’s a rot growing in our hearts, it will still do damage whether its seen or not.
Oh that we’d picture our secret sin today as an old house with leaking pipes and mold-covered walls and leave it in the rearview for good! We’ll breathe a whole lot better when we do.