Troublesome Topic: Tear Down that Moldy House

Lesson 10 of 13

Sin must be treated as something very serious, and must be dealt with at the source of the problem, not just on the surface.

One of the laws that now interests me the most is the one explained at length in Leviticus 14. In this chapter it is contamination on the walls of a house, such as mold, mildew or fungus, that are being discussed. If it was confirmed that stuff growing on the walls of the house was of the contaminated sort (a priest had to come inspect the house and make that determination according to the guidelines explained in Leviticus 14) the first thing that was tried was that the house was closed up and left alone for 7 days. If it was worse after 7 days, the stones of that part of the wall were to be taken out, thrown in an unclean (isolated) place and new stones put in their places. Also, all the plaster of the entire house was to be scraped off and new plaster put on all the walls. If the mildew or mold came back again, do you know what they had to do? They were to tear the house down!

Leviticus 14:45


He shall tear down the house, its stones and its timbers and the plaster of the house, and he shall carry them outside the city to an unclean place.


He must completely destroy that house, including its stonework, its heavy timbers and especially the nasty plaster that was in the house, and he must take them outside the city limits, to a place that is isolated due to contamination.

If following the Torah was in itself going to provide salvation this might be an acceptable price to pay. But we know that the Torah did not provide salvation. So our reaction is to think, “Wow, what a high price to pay for a lesson on contamination.” Why was the price for that learning session so high? It was a costly lesson because the truth taught by it was so serious; a cheaper method would not have communicated adequately the graveness of the danger at hand.

And what was the content of that lesson? By this means God was teaching His people that sin is a very serious thing. By its nature, sin will grow and get worse, it will not just go away. The law of diminishing returns applies here. In the case of a young dating couple, what satisfied yesterday is not quite enough to satisfy today. So there is a predictable progression from holding hands to kissing and beyond. What started as appropriate displays of affection between a young couple soon lead to inappropriate actions. Why? Because of the diminishing returns in the level of pleasure of the same old action. To get the same level of pleasure something new needs to be tried. The exact same thing is true of sin. A boy who, at age 8, steals match box cars is not still stealing match box cars when he is 15. The grown man, who at age 15 was stealing bicycles, is no longer just stealing bicycles, but motorcycles and cars. So sin by nature will grow more sinful.

Furthermore, this lesson was intended to teach that when there is spiritual contamination in their lives it had to be dealt with at the source, not just covered up on the surface. We likewise cannot put another coat of paint over our spiritual downfalls and hope that they will not come back to haunt us later. Sin cannot be covered up by good deeds, or church attendance. In order to deal with sin, we must deal with the heart, for a heart that is impure (not turned over to God’s control) will produce nothing but impure thoughts, actions and reactions.

If we had lived in those days, we would have hoped our house did not get the wrong kind of mildew (unless the wife and mother had always hated that house and secretly wished for a new one). Those of us under the New Covenant should be just as desirous of not having mildew grow in our hearts, for, though it is harder to spot, it is also harder to get rid of. Therefore, we should examine our lives, our attitudes and reactions every day and allow the Spirit of God to shine His flashlight on our “walls.”

The next lesson for the full version of this study is: The Treatment of Lepers Part One

The next lesson for Why Is That in the Bible? is: The Treatment of Lepers Part One