Saturday, February 15, 2014

Leviticus 12

Today's reading in our daily plan is Leviticus 12. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • After the rules concerning clean and unclean food, God now moves on to clean and unclean people. The first (there are more to come) concerns women in childbirth, and how a woman can be purified from uncleanness after childbirth.
  • The uncleanness came from the bleeding, not from the birth.
  • Verse 2 mentions the woman's period. We will read more about that in chapter 15. (So we've got that going for us, which is nice.)
  • We don't know why the length of uncleanness after the birth of a girl was longer than the birth of a boy. (We can know that it has nothing to do with the value of men versus boys, as God values both equally. In fact, the Bible says that in this way, there is no difference to God between men and women. See Galatians 3:28.)
  • God prescribes the offering a woman should make to become ceremonially clean again (verses 6-7), then (in verse 8) gives a less expensive offering for poor women.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • The reason for all of God's rules are not always clear to us. But what is clear is that God really cares about holiness. Holiness is the underlying theme of the entire book of Leviticus. God is looking for people who are truly devoted to him.
  • That idea, and this chapter about childbirth, could lead us to think about Mary. Mary was the person God chose to give birth to his Son, as Jesus came to be born into our world. Why did God choose Mary? Well, it's not that she was perfect, no one is (but Jesus). As we read about her it becomes obvious that she was utterly submitted to God and to his will for her life, no matter what it was or how confusing it might have been. (See Luke 1:26-56.) And, because of that attitude, God was able to use her ordinary life for something extraordinary.
  • Also, an interesting note: In Leviticus 12:8 God says that someone living in poverty could bring "a pair of doves or two young pigeons" for an offering, rather than the normal lamb. In Luke 2, Mary is required to give an offering, and it is "a pair of doves or two young pigeons." Mary was living by Leviticus 12 (probably about 1,500 years after it was written), and living in poverty. But being poor didn't stop God from being able to use her.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Reading books of the Bible like Leviticus can be confusing, but imagine how confused Mary must have been when God told her that though she was a virgin, she would be giving birth, and the baby would be the Son of God and Savior of the world. God used Mary in such a powerful way because, no matter what, she trusted and submitted herself to God. What about you? Do you want God to use your ordinary life for something extraordinary? Then, like Mary, trust God and submit your life to him and his will. So … in what way do you need to do that right now?