After the description of the sacrifices cleansed lepers were to make, Leviticus 14 goes on to describe how a priest could determine whether a house was infected with mildew. These instructions sound very much like the instructions in the previous chapter for how the priests could determine whether a person had leprosy. Involved were inspection, incubation periods, diagnoses, and treatments.
What I began to think about as I read this chapter (in light of the previous one, as well) was just how much God entrusted to the priests. Certainly, in ancient Israel — especially given the time and place in which they lived — leprosy or anything that could "spread" was a major concern. With a couple million people living in wilderness conditions without sanitation, anything that was capable of spreading could easily and quickly become an epidemic.
So, since God was in the midst of also establishing Himself in the minds of the Israelites as the Sovereign God, why leave such a major concern to the judgment of the priests? Why not dole out the pronouncements Himself? He could have set up a little "lab" in the sanctuary and had the people come in one at a time to receive their pronouncement. God, of course, knew whether they were infected with a disease or not. His "clean" or "unclean" pronouncement would have only taken five seconds — eliminating the need for the seven-day waiting period, to see whether the rash or mildew would spread.
How come God didn’t elect to do things that way? I think it’s because God values intelligence and because He acts in ways that promote our reason and encourage us to use it. He cares about whether we use our brains or not. He doesn’t want us to become unthinking doofuses who merely hear His pronouncement and say, "Yes, sir. Thank you very much, sir." Even with such an important matter as a potential epidemic, God preferred to let His priests handle the investigation and diagnosis, even though it took a lot more time, energy, and effort for them to do it than for Him to make a simple pronouncement.
God cares what we think. God cares that we think. This is why I think it’s such a shame that, often, Christianity has portrayed faith as something you must do with your mind switched off. Sometimes we have implied that in order to believe in God or trust in Him, we have to ignore reality and forget about the evidence that’s right under our nose. Some people say that faith can only be blind, that it requires a leap.
On the contrary, I think Leviticus 14 should tell us how highly God values our intelligence. He wants us to investigate, to ask questions, to make judgments, to diagnose. He gave us a brain for a reason... because He intended us to use it. He wants us to think!