Nature or Nurture?
A daily devotion for April 14th
Purification After Childbirth
12 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Say to the Israelites: ‘A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period. 3 On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised. 4 Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over. 5 If she gives birth to a daughter, for two weeks the woman will be unclean, as during her period. Then she must wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding.
6 “‘When the days of her purification for a son or daughter are over, she is to bring to the priest at the entrance to the tent of meeting a year-old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a dove for a sin offering. 7 He shall offer them before the Lord to make atonement for her, and then she will be ceremonially clean from her flow of blood.
“‘These are the regulations for the woman who gives birth to a boy or a girl. 8 But if she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for her, and she will be clean.’”
The Lord said to Moses,Say to the Israelites:Lev 12:1-3A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period. On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised.
That text certainly reminds us of Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus. In fact, that Baby came into the world to deal with the very problem which made this chapter necessary. God is not against childbirth, nor against babies. Nor is human birth essentially an inherently unclean event. There is nothing wrong with birth, nor with sex. But these requirements were given to the people of God in order that we might remember a most basic and fundamental fact: that since the fall of Adam every human being born into this world is born into a fallen race.
There is no way by which man in his natural condition is ever going to be able to solve the basic, fundamental problems of human relationships. We are born into a condition that is tainted and twisted. Someone has thrown a monkey wrench into the human machinery, right at the very beginning, and it simply doesn't operate as God intended. God impresses this upon his people by this restriction, this reminder that something connected with birth is unclean. The fact that a mother was unclean for a week after the birth of a male child (two weeks for a female child), and that she had to go through another thirty-three days of purifying after that, provided an opportunity for her and her whole family to be reminded forcefully that the baby was born with a tainted nature. The circumcision of the male baby was an additional reminder that something needs to be removed from the life inherited from Adam.
This is very important because it makes a difference in the way a child is trained. If you think that babies are born absolutely innocent, you will raise your child in quite a different way than if you believe the truth about them. They need guidance and training and help in handling this twisted nature. The world, of course, forgets about this principle. They want to pretend that babies are innocent, and that if you just leave them alone and give them opportunity to express themselves, they will grow into whole, fulfilled persons. So God teaches his people right from the beginning that there is a problem here which must be handled and cannot be ignored.
Thank you, Lord for always teaching me according to reality. Thank you that two thousand years ago you sent a baby into the world, born of a woman, who would bring cleansing for all my sin.
Life Application: The Bible begins at our birth for our tutorial for life, with reminders of our fallenness and carefully prescribed procedures for recovery, again, beginning at childbirth. How awesome that the Son of God was born of woman, on our behalf!
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