LEVITICUS 13:1-59 | MARK 6:1-29 | PSALM 39:1-13 | PROVERBS 10:10
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45 “The person with such an infectious disease must wear torn clothes, let his hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of his face and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ 46 As long as he has the infection he remains unclean. He must live alone; he must live outside the camp.”
That was the law regarding treatment of those who suffered from defiling skin diseases or leprosy. Woe was unto you if you were so unfortunate as to be afflicted with this disease. You would be an outcast for the rest of your living days.
Several thousand years later, however, we find a man by the name of Jesus who stops to speak, nay, touch a leper and make him whole. Not in secret, but in broad-daylight. Who was this man—was he not aware of Moses’ law?
Mark continues to provide an account of this same man, Jesus’ life and times. Along with his few disciples, this very Jesus goes about the small towns and regions of ancient Palestine tending to the physical, mental, and spiritual needs of the people. He does good everywhere that he goes, and yet his reputation is one that is a source of disturbance to the elders of the Temple and to the ruling Roman governor, Herod. Soon, there will be another Roman governor by the name of Pontius Pilate who will bear the infamy of sending Jesus to the cross, but today, we learn of the beheading of John the Baptist by Herod.
Turning next to the Psalm of the day, we don’t know under what circumstances David wrote these lines which later became cataloged as Psalm 39. Whatever the circumstances, they could not have been too cheerful. If anything, they must have been dire and filled with sorrow—circumstances that caused David to contemplate the end of life and the very brevity of it. He starts out with a resolve to hold his peace even in the presence of the wicked. That, sometimes, is the only wise recourse. David says:
1 I said, “I will watch my ways
and keep my tongue from sin;
I will put a muzzle on my mouth
as long as the wicked are in my presence.”
But his hope in the Lord is never too far behind. He continues to say:
7 “But now, Lord, what do I look for?
My hope is in you.
8 Save me from all my transgressions;
do not make me the scorn of fools.
May it be that in our own hour of need, we might also heed the wisdom of David in holding our tongue and counting on the Lord to save us from the “scorn of fools.”
Finally, a verse from the Book of Proverbs in which Solomon, wise king of Israel, speaks to the imprudence of deceit:
10 Whoever winks maliciously causes grief,
and a chattering fool comes to ruin.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.