We continue with cleansing for leprosy but this time it is a house that has the disease. The first sacrifice for cleansing is the same.
God takes us through proclaiming a house clean or unclean first before He shares the end process. As with the leper, there is a waiting period to see if the disease actually progresses or if it is something benign.
EVERYTHING has to come out of the house before the priest does his work otherwise the family risks losing their possessions too. I have a feeling if any of the household items, including clothing, was affected it should be dealt with the same way. After emptying the house the family is made to wait seven days for the decision of the priest. This is better than the two weeks required for judging a leprous person.
Something that I noticed is that God didn’t address leprosy of a house while they were in the wilderness. He stated plainly that these instructions were for AFTER they reached and obtained the land He had promised them. I have a feeling that this was because of His protection for them during this time. God spoke to Israel at the end of their journey, recorded in Deuteronomy 29, and stated that He had blessed their wanderings with protections beyond their imaginations. “During the forty years I led you in the wilderness, neither your clothes nor the sandals on your feet wore out” (Deut. 29:6).
I wonder what they thought of this blessing in particular. Did it even occur to them that their clothes were lasting longer than they ever dreamed possible or did they take this for granted? Did they get tired of wearing the same thing? The children had to have grown out of their clothes but the abundance of livestock provided them with the means to make new clothes for the growing children. Did they distribute the clothes of those that died or were they considered unclean?
Anyway, back to the houses of their future. These houses addressed were made of stone. Does that mean houses made of wood didn’t suffer from this “condition”? I imagine the “disease” could start small and be hidden from sight for a while. But once it was noticed, it had to be addressed.
I wonder if this is like black mold or mildew. I’ve had to deal with these issues before and they are not easy to clean up completely. One of the reasons in my experience is humidity or dampness in the house. Is this why all the plaster and affected stones had to be removed? I didn’t have this option as it was not my house; I was only renting.
Once the house was pronounced clean the sacrifice was the same as the initial sacrifice for a person cleaned of this disease. Two birds had to be provided; one was killed in an earthenware vessel over clean water. Cedar, scarlet yarn, hyssop and the other bird were all dipped in its blood and used to sprinkle the house seven times. Then the remaining bird was set free. This was the only sacrifice required for the home with leprosy.
I’m curious about the symbolism of the scarlet yarn, cedar and hyssop. Hyssop makes an appearance at the cross. It was this species of tree/plant used to bring a final drink to Jesus’ lips. Blood and hyssop were used in both cleaning events. Cedar was a symbol of wealth and scarlet yarn was used in the weavings of the Tabernacle. Could these have symbolized the return of prosperity and the redemptive thread of God’s work? Just a thought.
Father God, thank You for protecting Your people. It still amazes me to read about clothes and shoes not wearing out for FORTY YEARS! Mine are lucky to make it five years. But then I tire of wearing the same thing again and again so I discard them, usually before they are completely worn out. You were also proactive in You laws. The people were not going to need these instructions for many years to come. They would need the one regarding people with leprosy but not houses. Did You give it at that point in time for order’s sake? To keep the like things tied together? It makes sense to me that way.
Thank You for protecting my family from the molds and mildews that grew in the homes I lived in. That was YOUR hand at work too. Thank You for the home You have provided for me now. It is not perfect but it is a FAR cry better than it used to be. Help me be always grateful and remember my blessings instead of looking at the deficits.
And on a last note, THANK YOU that my animals and my son’s animals are getting along well. PLEASE help the cats adjust to the change quickly and readapt when they come back later. Calm the dog’s curiosity so they will leave the cats alone. You have the power to affect men’s hearts so I KNOW You can do the same with animals.