Leviticus 12 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional
“When her days of purification are complete, whether a son or a daughter, she is to bring to the priest at the entrance to the tent of meeting a year-old male lamb for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering.” Leviticus 12:6
Chapter 11 had been a reminder of our fallen World and of man’s dealings with it. It described a World of clean and unclean, a World in which many of its parts must be shunned, because they are not clean. But don’t forget that it is also a World in which many of its parts are wholesome and good for men. Man can avoid the unclean and be “holy”, set apart to G_d. And (to some extent) it can be like Him. Provision had been allowed by G_d to counter the effect of the fall, as far as mankind was concerned.
Here, in chapter 12, comes a reminder of another consequence of the fall: How the fall affected womankind. Childbirth was now inevitably connected with ‘uncleanness’. It is through the discomforts of childbirth that G_d chooses to remind women of Eve’s part in the fall (Genesis 3:16). It stands as a reminder that every time a child is born, another sinner is born into a sinful world.
So, in every case of childbirth there was no avoiding uncleanness. It was not a question of choice. It was something that had to be endured. Birth inevitably involved sin because the birth process had been affected by sin, and the child being born into the world was now subject to sin. Indeed he (or she) being born is a sinner, by nature. (Compare: Romans 5.14; Psalm 51.5; 58.3) Therefore, the very process of birth falls short of perfection and must be deemed ‘unclean’. That is why the woman, being in the process of producing a sinner, was prevented from approaching the holiness of G_d. She had to be purified, along with the child.
Any person, observing or participating-in the birth of a child, can see G_d’s point, quite clearly. When a child is born, it is covered with blood and mucus. It comes out ‘unclean’. This does not contradict the (Luke 2:23) statement that “every child who opens the womb shall be called holy to the L_rd”. The latter means that the first newborn child is seen as set apart for Yahweh’s service, not that it is ‘ritually holy’ at the point of birth. In the grace & mercy of G_d, while it enters the world ‘unclean’, the firstborn is also set apart as His.
Because of the grace of G_d, it was recognized that the uncleanness of a woman during childbirth would be temporary and not permanent. Therefore, through following G_d’s command, the woman and the child could come out of their period of uncleanness in childbearing and return to “cleanness” and the light of G_d’s holiness, with all traces of sin being put behind them. That is the process described in today’s passage. It is also a picture of salvation and the necessity of being “born again”. (John 3:16)
~Steve Wiggins, Associate Leader, Worship Leader
Daily Devotional, Tuesday, April 22, 2014