‘If a woman conceives and gives birth to a male child, she shall be [ceremonially] unclean for seven days, unclean as during her monthly period. On the eighth day the flesh of the male child’s foreskin shall be circumcised. Then she shall remain [intimately separated] thirty-three days to be purified from the blood; she shall not touch any consecrated thing nor enter the [courtyard of the] sanctuary until the days of her purification are over. – Leviticus 12:2-4
This is a ceremonial uncleanness. We have seen throughout Leviticus, strong spiritual messages to the church. We are all born in sin. We are first flesh, then born of the spirit. The fact that this man and this woman had a child is not sin. God had instructed Adam and Eve to have children. The sin in the garden of Eden was disobeying God, not that they had children.
After the laws concerning clean and unclean food, come the laws concerning clean and unclean persons. Man imparts his depraved nature to his offspring, so that, excepting as the atonement of Christ and the sanctification of the Spirit prevent, the original blessing, Increase and multiply, Ge 1:28, is become to the fallen race a direful curse, and communicates sin and misery. Let those women who have received mercy from God in child-bearing, with all thankfulness own God’s goodness to them; and this shall please the Lord better than sacrifices. Matthew Henry
The regulations of Leviticus about sex-related uncleanness served one very important purpose—it clearly separated sex from religious worship. If one had sexual relations with his wife this rendered both unclean until evening. This meant that the Israelites could not have sexual relations during the Sabbath, since this would cause both to be unclean, thus prohibiting their participation in worship. The effect was to encourage the Israelites to keep their minds devoted to worship. Ideally, both sexual intimacy and spiritual intimacy need the undistracted involvement of body, soul, and spirit. This means that either activity should be engaged in apart from the competition of the other.
On the spiritual side, its requirements are very full of importance. Motherhood is one of the most sacred and beautiful things in the whole realm of human experience. This needs no argument. But motherhood is exercised in a race which is defiled. When the great singer of Israel, in his penitential psalm, said: “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psa. 51.5), he was casting no reflection upon his own mother, but rather stating a racial fact, from which no human being escapes. Here then is the value of this law. God provided that Motherhood should be sanctified by sacrifice. To us, Motherhood has been for ever made holy by the Seed of the woman, through Whom woman is saved in child-bearing. It is always a sad thing, to say nothing stronger, when mothers forget to remember this, and to recognize it in the sacred service of the sanctuary.
You have purified Your New Covenant people in the blood and water that flowed from the side of Your Son as He hung on the altar of the Cross. It was an event that signified the Sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist and Your abundance grace which supernaturally cleanses us, Your New Covenant people, sanctifying us and making us acceptable for sacrifice and worship—“a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation.” Send You Holy Spirit to guide us, Lord that we may be made more fully aware of the duty of all Christians to live lives of holiness, consisting in total self-offering and total dependence on You. We pray in the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.