Together, we serve
to know Christ
and to make Christ known
for the glory of God

16 April 2020

Proverbs 9:13-18

13 Folly is an unruly woman;
    she is simple and knows nothing.
14 She sits at the door of her house,
    on a seat at the highest point of the city,
15 calling out to those who pass by,
    who go straight on their way,
16     ‘Let all who are simple come to my house!’
To those who have no sense she says,
17     ‘Stolen water is sweet;
    food eaten in secret is delicious!’
18 But little do they know that the dead are there,
    that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead.

Folly is presented in comparison and contrast to Wisdom. Both have a house; both call out from high places; both call to the simple. Yet unlike Wisdom, Folly is merely loud, not wise. She knows nothing. Wisdom possesses ancient knowledge from her close relation to God the Maker. Folly’s sitting at the high places displays her impudence; she sits where she has no right. Whereas Wisdom calls to the simple in order to deliver them from their foolish ways, Folly calls out to the simple precisely because they are so easily led into such ways. Wisdom appeals to the simple to eat of her bread and drink of her wine, which nourish and refreshes the mind and soul; Folly presents what is stolen as sweet. It may well taste sweet for the moment, but Folly is leading her simple followers to their death. Wisdom offers life.

Who will be chosen by the fool? Verses 7-12 observe it will be Folly. We shake our heads at such foolishness, but we need to ask ourselves how often we have chosen Folly as well. We choose what will give us a rush. When our lives become routine, we look for some kind of adventure that stirs us, some kind of escape from our troubles and boredom. Folly understands that. That’s the basis of her appeal about stolen water and bread eaten in secret.

How do we resist her? Self-control helps to a degree, but it gives in after time. What we need to do is grasp the adventure that belongs to any who would follow Wisdom. Remember, Wisdom is a companion of God who created the world with all its mysteries and awe-inspiring beauty. Wisdom leads to life, which is not mere avoidance of death; it is life abundant; it is life that has meaning, that produces what is of real value. It is a life that leads unto glory.

When we turn to Christ, we enter into the kingdom of God which moves forward in mysterious ways, winning converts and battling against the forces of evil such as Folly and the Forbidden Woman. Souls are at stake, and God gives to us the privilege to join in the battle. He gives to us the privilege to be builders of the kingdom. He gives us the joy to be explorers of his nature and of his grace; to search far and wide his ways and how his counsels are being carried out. The one who is able to withstand Folly as she calls out, is the one too excited, too busy, too devoted for Christ and for his kingdom.

 

Leviticus 13

13 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘When anyone has a swelling or a rash or a shiny spot on their skin that may be a defiling skin disease, they must be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons who is a priest. The priest is to examine the sore on the skin, and if the hair in the sore has turned white and the sore appears to be more than skin deep, it is a defiling skin disease. When the priest examines that person, he shall pronounce them ceremonially unclean. If the shiny spot on the skin is white but does not appear to be more than skin deep and the hair in it has not turned white, the priest is to isolate the affected person for seven days. On the seventh day the priest is to examine them, and if he sees that the sore is unchanged and has not spread in the skin, he is to isolate them for another seven days. On the seventh day the priest is to examine them again, and if the sore has faded and has not spread in the skin, the priest shall pronounce them clean; it is only a rash. They must wash their clothes, and they will be clean. But if the rash does spread in their skin after they have shown themselves to the priest to be pronounced clean, they must appear before the priest again. The priest is to examine that person, and if the rash has spread in the skin, he shall pronounce them unclean; it is a defiling skin disease.

‘When anyone has a defiling skin disease, they must be brought to the priest. 10 The priest is to examine them, and if there is a white swelling in the skin that has turned the hair white and if there is raw flesh in the swelling, 11 it is a chronic skin disease and the priest shall pronounce them unclean. He is not to isolate them, because they are already unclean.

12 ‘If the disease breaks out all over their skin and, so far as the priest can see, it covers all the skin of the affected person from head to foot, 13 the priest is to examine them, and if the disease has covered their whole body, he shall pronounce them clean. Since it has all turned white, they are clean. 14 But whenever raw flesh appears on them, they will be unclean. 15 When the priest sees the raw flesh, he shall pronounce them unclean. The raw flesh is unclean; they have a defiling disease. 16 If the raw flesh changes and turns white, they must go to the priest. 17 The priest is to examine them, and if the sores have turned white, the priest shall pronounce the affected person clean; then they will be clean.

18 ‘When someone has a boil on their skin and it heals, 19 and in the place where the boil was, a white swelling or reddish-white spot appears, they must present themselves to the priest. 20 The priest is to examine it, and if it appears to be more than skin deep and the hair in it has turned white, the priest shall pronounce that person unclean. It is a defiling skin disease that has broken out where the boil was. 21 But if, when the priest examines it, there is no white hair in it and it is not more than skin deep and has faded, then the priest is to isolate them for seven days. 22 If it is spreading in the skin, the priest shall pronounce them unclean; it is a defiling disease. 23 But if the spot is unchanged and has not spread, it is only a scar from the boil, and the priest shall pronounce them clean.

24 ‘When someone has a burn on their skin and a reddish-white or white spot appears in the raw flesh of the burn, 25 the priest is to examine the spot, and if the hair in it has turned white, and it appears to be more than skin deep, it is a defiling disease that has broken out in the burn. The priest shall pronounce them unclean; it is a defiling skin disease. 26 But if the priest examines it and there is no white hair in the spot and if it is not more than skin deep and has faded, then the priest is to isolate them for seven days. 27 On the seventh day the priest is to examine that person, and if it is spreading in the skin, the priest shall pronounce them unclean; it is a defiling skin disease. 28 If, however, the spot is unchanged and has not spread in the skin but has faded, it is a swelling from the burn, and the priest shall pronounce them clean; it is only a scar from the burn.

29 ‘If a man or woman has a sore on their head or chin, 30 the priest is to examine the sore, and if it appears to be more than skin deep and the hair in it is yellow and thin, the priest shall pronounce them unclean; it is a defiling skin disease on the head or chin. 31 But if, when the priest examines the sore, it does not seem to be more than skin deep and there is no black hair in it, then the priest is to isolate the affected person for seven days. 32 On the seventh day the priest is to examine the sore, and if it has not spread and there is no yellow hair in it and it does not appear to be more than skin deep, 33 then the man or woman must shave themselves, except for the affected area, and the priest is to keep them isolated another seven days. 34 On the seventh day the priest is to examine the sore, and if it has not spread in the skin and appears to be no more than skin deep, the priest shall pronounce them clean. They must wash their clothes, and they will be clean. 35 But if the sore does spread in the skin after they are pronounced clean, 36 the priest is to examine them, and if he finds that the sore has spread in the skin, he does not need to look for yellow hair; they are unclean. 37 If, however, the sore is unchanged so far as the priest can see, and if black hair has grown in it, the affected person is healed. They are clean, and the priest shall pronounce them clean.

38 ‘When a man or woman has white spots on the skin, 39 the priest is to examine them, and if the spots are dull white, it is a harmless rash that has broken out on the skin; they are clean.

40 ‘A man who has lost his hair and is bald is clean. 41 If he has lost his hair from the front of his scalp and has a bald forehead, he is clean. 42 But if he has a reddish-white sore on his bald head or forehead, it is a defiling disease breaking out on his head or forehead. 43 The priest is to examine him, and if the swollen sore on his head or forehead is reddish-white like a defiling skin disease, 44 the man is diseased and is unclean. The priest shall pronounce him unclean because of the sore on his head.

45 ‘Anyone with such a defiling disease must wear torn clothes, let their hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of their face and cry out, “Unclean! Unclean!” 46 As long as they have the disease they remain unclean. They must live alone; they must live outside the camp.

 

Regulations about defiling moulds

47 ‘As for any fabric that is spoiled with a defiling mould – any woollen or linen clothing, 48 any woven or knitted material of linen or wool, any leather or anything made of leather – 49 if the affected area in the fabric, the leather, the woven or knitted material, or any leather article, is greenish or reddish, it is a defiling mould and must be shown to the priest. 50 The priest is to examine the affected area and isolate the article for seven days. 51 On the seventh day he is to examine it, and if the mould has spread in the fabric, the woven or knitted material, or the leather, whatever its use, it is a persistent defiling mould; the article is unclean. 52 He must burn the fabric, the woven or knitted material of wool or linen, or any leather article that has been spoiled, because the defiling mould is persistent; the article must be burned.

53 ‘But if, when the priest examines it, the mould has not spread in the fabric, the woven or knitted material, or the leather article, 54 he shall order that the spoiled article be washed. Then he is to isolate it for another seven days. 55 After the article has been washed, the priest is to examine it again, and if the mould has not changed its appearance, even though it has not spread, it is unclean. Burn it, no matter which side of the fabric has been spoiled. 56 If, when the priest examines it, the mould has faded after the article has been washed, he is to tear the spoiled part out of the fabric, the leather, or the woven or knitted material. 57 But if it reappears in the fabric, in the woven or knitted material, or in the leather article, it is a spreading mould; whatever has the mould must be burned. 58 Any fabric, woven or knitted material, or any leather article that has been washed and is rid of the mould, must be washed again. Then it will be clean.’

59 These are the regulations concerning defiling moulds in woollen or linen clothing, woven or knitted material, or any leather article, for pronouncing them clean or unclean.