Speak to the children of Israel, saying: “If a woman has conceived, and borne a male child, then she shall be unclean seven days; as in the days of her customary impurity she shall be unclean.” (Leviticus 12:2)
If there are concepts and principles embedded within every command God gave to Israel including, as we have shared, what goes into the body (food), it stands to reason there are principles within commands concerning what comes from the body. Such is the focus in this particular section of Scripture. While we won’t bother to get into the specifics of the issues presented here (even though Scripture does), it is beneficial to understand why God considered it essential to address such things.
There are essentially two distinct views in regard to these laws of purity and impurity. One view is that they are purely hygienic — God teaching people about cleanliness so as to prevent the spread of infection and disease. The other view is that they are levitical – in other words, purely religious, which would imply they serve no value to the community outside of the scope of religion. However, it is my opinion that these instructions, as well as many others, serve both purposes. Why wouldn’t God want healthy souls living in healthy bodies especially when those bodies are in His service? And again, He is holy — set apart — and calls us to be holy.
So then, if instructions such as these possess a dual purpose such as I am suggesting here, then we are presented this notion: God tells us to do something in a physical sense to teach us a spiritual concept. As Paul said, “first the natural, and afterward the spiritual” (1 Corinthians 15:46). Messiah, also, alluded to this idea when He rebuked some religious people for paying tithe of mint, cumin and anise but failing to acknowledge the “weightier matters.” He argued that, “These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone” (Matthew 23:23). In other words, they should absolutely obey the literal command but with an eye on the spiritual issues God was teaching them through these things. In short, we learn about the spiritual when we do the physical.
The prophet Samuel said, “to obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Samuel 15:22). Through obedience to God’s Word, we not only experience a more abundant life, physically speaking, but we learn eternal principles that draw us closer to Him in holiness. If we believe that He is the Creator of all, then we must acknowledge that He is smarter than we are and has a reason for what He tells us. As His children, let us be of the mind to receive His Word with humility and then serve Him “with joy and gladness of heart.”
Blessings and Shalom,