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患漏症的處理

利未記15章11節   患漏症的人沒有用水涮手,無論摸了誰,誰必不潔淨到晚上,並要洗衣服,用水洗澡。

可能有的人看到這章經文的主題會覺得很不自在,怎麼在這樣神聖的一本書裡,會出現這樣的主題呢?這種事情不是都隱秘不宣的嗎?但是當我們再讀下去時,就會發現原來只有造人的神才知道人的每一層需要;也相對地發現,耶穌所講的:「從人裡面出來的,那才能污穢人。」這句話何等真實。原來人的裡面是那樣地藏污納垢,從亞倫的兩個兒子取凡火獻祭,到人長大痲瘋,以及屋子長大痲瘋如何潔淨,讓我們充份體會到人的本質是何等地骯髒悖逆。也讓我們明白,原來罪的本質,非用血不能得以潔淨。

英文比較能表達這一章所要說的,有關人身體產生的分泌物discharge,一旦到了體外便是不潔,需要注意如何去潔淨,以免細菌到處感染,使人生病。因為分泌物包括的不只是男女性器官流出的東西,分泌物也包括口裡吐出的痰。只要我們思想一下,便會承認凡是從肉體裡出來的東西,都是不潔的。以前有些老祖母把食物在嘴裡嚼爛了,再放到嬰兒或小孩嘴裡,雖是一番好意,但是給現代母親看到,一定會大叫,「不要這樣,太髒了。」為什麼口水在自己嘴裡不覺得髒,一旦到了嘴巴外面就變髒了?以前的華人比較沒有衛生的概念,上至君王,下至販夫走卒,走到哪兒就吐痰吐到哪兒。有的人還洋洋得意,練得一口吐痰的痰功,一口飛痰可以把人打暈。但我想,也有可能是被嚇暈的,想到一口髒兮兮的痰向你飛來,能不先嚇暈嗎?

When You’re Not Sure Which Way to Go

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 3:1-8.  Let’s go!

Joshua 3:1-4a (NIV) 
1  Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over. 
2  After three days the officers went throughout the camp, 
3  giving orders to the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. 
4  Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.

On verses 1-4a:  Here Joshua and the Israelites are preparing to cross the Jordan River on their way to Canaan, also known as the promised land.  Joshua orders his officers, who in turn order the people to move out and follow two things: (1) the ark of the covenant, which was an ornate, gold-plated box that symbolized the presence of God; and (2) and the priests carrying that ark.  That way they knew which way to go (v4).

染疾之宅潔淨之例

利未記 14: 34 -36    你們到了我賜給你們為業的迦南地,我若使你們所得為業之地的房屋中有大痲瘋的災病,房主就要去告訴祭司說:『據我看,房屋中似乎有災病。』祭司還沒有進去察看災病以前,就要吩咐人把房子騰空,免得房子裡所有的都成了不潔淨;然後祭司要進去察看房子。

這一段經文是神給以色列人的預備,讓他們知道進了迦南地之後,若是碰到屋子有問題時,應該如何處理。因為以色列人在曠野住帳蓬,到迦南地居住的情況就會不一樣。因為在曠野裡經常有太陽在晒,帳蓬裡十分乾燥,而且經常移動,比較不會有發黴的問題;但是屋子不一樣,屋子住久了就會有問題,因為屋子是不移動的,例如浴室或衛生間若是一直很潮濕,牆壁和天花板縫隙便會逐漸產生黴菌,影響到居住者的健康。有人說,黴菌和潮濕的牆壁是孿生兄弟,因此神把處理房子的一些問題事先教導他們,免得他們的健康受影響。

但是神既然帶領以色列人進迦南,又應允他們所得為業之地房屋,為何會領他們到發霉的屋子裡去住呢?在〈申命記〉六章10-11節,摩西說:「耶和華你的神領你進祂向你列祖亞伯拉罕、以撒、雅各起誓應許給你的地,那裡有城邑,又大又美,非你所建造的;有房屋,裝滿各樣美物,非你所裝滿的;有鑿成的水井,非你所鑿成的;還有葡萄園、橄欖園,非你所栽種的,你吃了,而且飽足。」就像以色列人出埃及時,神讓埃及人因為懼怕,而把所有的美物都給了以色列人;神也應許,不僅把迦南地賜給以色列人,就連迦南人的房屋和美物也都要賜給以色列人。

因此當以色列人戰勝趕走一些迦南人之後,便順理成章住進迦南人的房屋裡,但是神知道那些房屋有的有問題 ,可能連迦南人住了生病,自己都不知道是怎麼一回事。有許多潔淨的概念和作法都是從《聖經》最先開始的,例如洗手再吃東西的概念。

Your Scarlet Cord + When Making Big Decisions

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 2:14-24.  Let’s go!

Joshua 2:14-21 (NIV) 
14  “Our lives for your lives!” the men assured her. “If you don’t tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the LORD gives us the land.” 
15  So she let them down by a rope through the window, for the house she lived in was part of the city wall. 
16  Now she had said to them, “Go to the hills so the pursuers will not find you. Hide yourselves there three days until they return, and then go on your way.” ……

On verses 14-21:  So that the Israelite army would know which house to spare, the Israelite spies tell Rahab to tie a scarlet cord to her window.  That way when the Israelites were attacking the city of Jericho, they would see the scarlet cord in Rahab’s window and know to leave that house alone.

This reminds me of an earlier incident in Exodus 12, where Moses instructs each Israelite family to take the blood of a lamb and put the blood on the doorframe of their house.  That way, when God was going through the land, He would see the blood of the lamb, pass over that house and spare the family inside.

Is it Okay to Lie?

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 2:1-13.  Let’s go!

Joshua 2:1a (NIV) 
1  Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. “Go, look over the land,” he said, “especially Jericho.”…

On verse 1: Before commanding his troops to enter the land they are planning to conquer, Joshua first sends two spies to look over the land. 

What can we learn from this?  Before making a big decision, do your due diligence first.  Whether it’s a relationship, a financial decision, a job opportunity, or something else that will involve a major investment of your time, heart, energy and resources, look before you leap.  Know what you’re getting into before getting into it.

Joshua 2:1b-7 (NIV)
1…So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there. 
2  The king of Jericho was told, “Look! Some of the Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.” 
3  So the king of Jericho sent this message to Rahab: “Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, because they have come to spy out the whole land.” 

長大痲瘋得潔淨的日子

利未記14章8-9節     求潔淨的人當洗衣服,剃去毛髮,用水洗澡,就潔淨了;然後可以進營,只是要在自己的帳棚外居住七天。第七天,再把頭上所有的頭髮與鬍鬚、眉毛,並全身的毛,都剃了;又要洗衣服,用水洗身,就潔淨了。

《聖經》裡的大痲瘋包括了不同種類的皮膚病,因此當我們讀到「長大痲瘋得潔淨的日子」時,就明白有的皮膚病會因為自身抵抗力或免疫力的增強而痊癒;但是真正的大痲瘋(韓森氏病Hansen’s Disease)因為是由麻風桿菌引起,則必須接受治療才會痊癒。根據維基百科,目前確診痳瘋病在吃藥的一周內就有99%的病菌能被消除,並切斷傳染性,持續吃藥兩年,病情能基本治癒。那麼在沒有藥物治療,又沒有神蹟的情況下,患者怎麼能夠得到潔淨呢?

一般的疾病得到醫治後,我們稱之為痊癒。但是長大痲瘋的人被稱為不潔,若有人不小心與之接觸到,那人也會變為不潔,需要隔離觀察一段時間,確定沒有被感染。因此若有長大痲瘋(會傳染的皮膚病)的人痊癒,《聖經》稱之為潔淨了,就需要讓祭司檢查,才能回到社區生活。

在檢查痲瘋病時有一種現象,「全身的肉若長滿了大痲瘋,就要定那患災病的為潔淨,全身都變為白,他乃潔淨了。但紅肉幾時顯在他的身上,就幾時不潔淨。」以前希臘的醫學家把這種現象稱為痲瘋的鱗狀皮膚疾病(lepra for the scaly skin disease),現代人稱之為銀屑病(psoriasis),華人稱為乾癬。

銀屑病(乾癬)是一種自體免疫系統失調,並不是傳染病,是一種常見的慢性皮膚病。臨床表現為邊界清楚的隆起紅色斑塊,表面有層狀銀白色鱗屑。皮損好發於頭皮和四肢伸側,尤其在肘和膝關節附近。局部蓋有多層銀白色鱗屑的丘疹或斑片,颳去鱗屑及下面發亮薄膜後有點狀出血,感覺癢,夏季常減輕或自癒,冬季又惡化復發(節錄自維基百科)。

不潔淨了!不潔淨了!

利未記 13:9人有了大痲瘋的災病,就要將他帶到祭司面前。

當祭司很不容易,除了要學習怎樣維持聖所的供奉,獻祭時宰牛宰羊,還要學習診斷大痲瘋,真是十八般武藝樣樣都要會。但是真正的大痲瘋和《聖經》裡講的大痲瘋不大一樣,真正的大痲瘋是「韓生氏病Hansen’s Disease」,由癩桿菌(又稱痲瘋桿菌)所引起,主要侵犯人體的皮膚、粘膜以及周圍末梢神經,有時也侵犯人體器官,若不治療會造成知覺麻木,最後 喪失肌肉控制力和手腳殘障。但是癩桿菌一遇到空氣極易死亡,到目前尚無法在實驗室培養,且95%的人都有自然的免疫力,因此並不像人們傳言的那麼恐怖。

《聖經》裡所講的大痲瘋,包括了許多種皮膚病,例如癬、癤和白斑;就如中國的傳統醫書也把癘、癩、大風、痲瘋、天刑等,都稱為癩病(即痲瘋病)。真正的大痲瘋雖不易傳染,但有很多種皮膚病都會傳染。古代沒有什麼公共衛生的知識,若不把會傳染的皮膚病加以隔離,那必然很難控制疾病的蔓延。因此皮膚若有異樣,隔離一段時間,加以觀察,再確定是否留在社群中或予以隔離,不但可以保護健康的百姓,也可以保護有病的患者,讓他們有足夠的時間和空間去療養和康復。神定的「七天」,正是大部份病毒或病菌發展的時間,也是看看患者是否能自己產生抵抗力而自行痊癒的一段時間。

一旦人被祭司診斷身上有長大痲瘋災病,他要撕裂衣服,也要蓬頭散髮,蒙著上唇,喊叫說:「不潔淨了!不潔淨了!」然後要獨居營外。這是患者最可憐之處,想想看一個人要高聲大叫自己不潔淨,免得被別人不小心碰到,那種羞恥感會何等地深;而獨居營外不僅是肉體的孤獨,更是靈魂上的孤單,彷彿被這個世界遺棄了。家人不能再跟你擁抱,朋友不能再找你一起做事,沒有人要你靠近,你變成這世界上沒有人要的「孤魂野鬼」。

What a Great Team Looks Like

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 1:10-18.  Let’s go!

Joshua 1:10-15 (NIV) 
10  So Joshua ordered the officers of the people: 
11  “Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get your supplies ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the LORD your God is giving you for your own.'” 
12  But to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joshua said, 
13  “Remember the command that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: ‘The LORD your God is giving you rest and has granted you this land.’ ……

On verses 10-15:  Joshua is leading the Israelites toward Canaan, also known as the promised land.  To get there, Joshua and the Israelites would need to go west and cross the Jordan River.  However, the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh, though they were part of the Israelites, had an agreement with Moses, Joshua’s predecessor, that instead of settling in the promised land west of the Jordan River, they could settle in the land just east of the Jordan.  Joshua respects and upholds this agreement, telling the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh that their wives, children and livestock may stay in the land just east of the Jordan, but that the men from Reuben, Gad and Manasseh must still cross the Jordan River with the rest of the Israelites and help the rest of the Israelites fight and take over the promised land. 

The Key to Finding Courage

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 1:1-9.  Let’s go!

Joshua 1:1-5 (NIV) 
1  After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: 
2  “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them–to the Israelites. 
3  I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 
4  Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates–all the Hittite country–to the Great Sea on the west. 
5  No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.

On verses 1-5:  The book of Joshua begins with God giving Joshua the charge to get ready to cross the Jordan with his people into the land of Canaan. God gives Joshua an encouraging vision of what the future would be for him and his nation (v3-4).  God also gives Joshua His promise that He will always be with Joshua (v5) and will give Joshua success (v3).