02/20/22 When They Could Not Afford It

READING: Leviticus 12:1-14:32 

Today’s reading is about regulations and sacrifices for a people whom God had set apart as His own. In the midst of these laws are these words to those who could not afford to bring the prescribed offering:

  • Generally, a woman who had given birth was to bring a lamb and a young pigeon or turtledove for the burnt offering and the purification offering, respectively. If she could not afford the lamb, however, she could do something different: “If a woman cannot afford to bring a lamb, she must bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons. One will be for the burnt offering and the other for the purification offering” (Lev 12:8)
  • Likewise, those healed of a skin disease who could not afford to bring the prescribed offering for purification could offer less and still find God’s grace. That offering would then include in addition to a lamb, some flour, and some olive oil, “two turtledoves or two young pigeons, whichever the person can afford. One of the pair must be used for the sin offering and the other for a burnt offering” (Lev 14:22, cf. 14:30). 

Clearly, God had concern for the poor. Moreover, the former mandate to a woman who had given birth foreshadowed what Mary and Joseph did when Jesus was born. My SEBTS colleague, Dr. Mark Rooker, puts it this powerful way: “After the birth of the Lord in the New Testament, Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day. Following his circumcision Mary offered two birds to declare her days of purification were completed. What is of interest here is not only that Mary carried out the prescription of the Law in perfect obedience but that she rendered the offering of the poor (Luke 2:21–24). This indicates that the Savior of the world, who created all that exists, not only humbled himself in becoming a man but was born in the most meager of circumstances in ancient Israel. Yet even for the poor like Jesus’ parents, God was gracious, for the less expensive offerings achieved the same result—the new mother was atoned for and became clean.”*

Our God is a gracious God. Praise Him on this Lord’s day! 

PERSONAL REFLECTION: What is your heart toward the poor?        

TODAY’S PRAYER: “God, thank You for showing us throughout the Scriptures just how gracious You are.”         

TOMORROW’S READING: Leviticus 14:33-16:34 

 *Rooker, M. F. (2000). Leviticus (Vol. 3A, pp. 184–185). Broadman & Holman Publishers.

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