Sermon for Saturday

And if she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtles or two young pigeons, the one for the burnt offering and the other for a sin offering, and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean. Leviticus 12:8

In a store in an American town, we became engaged in conversation with a young family who had several children around the ages of our grandchildren. The parents mentioned the great cost of having children, informing us that, even with their health insurance, having a baby would cost them thousands of dollars in medical bills. They were astonished to find that in our country, there are no such bills, and no health insurance premiums either. Despite the great cost, this family loved their children. But the thought of having children without having to go deeply into debt for their birth was an amazing dream. Our verse today speaks of a new mother receiving her ceremonial cleansing at no cost to herself.

The birth of a child was as important to the ancient Israelites as it is to modern-day Canadian families. Families who could afford it were required to bring a lamb as a burn offering and a turtledove or pigeon for a sin offering. But the lamb could be exchanged for a pigeon if the family was poor. And pigeons were free for the catching. God imposed no financial hardship on motherhood. But He still required a sacrifice; the burnt offering and sin offering were necessary. In the example of the purifying of a new mother in Israel, we find the illustration of God’s great provision. We today don’t bring a burnt offering or sin offering when a new child is born. But we take great comfort in knowing that the offerings have already been made, and have already been accepted. This means that every child born, until the age of accountability, is fully covered by the work of Christ. Like the Canadian – and unlike the American – health system, no payment is required.

Mothers in Israel loved their children as today’s mothers do. As they begin to grow, each mother desires all that is best for her child. In Israel, mothers would instruct their little ones in the truths about God. So do godly mothers today. Prayers in Old Testament days were probably very much like those of today. Bible stories told to children may have been the same, too, depending on the period of Bible history involved. Mothers hoped, and worked, for children who would love and serve the Lord. And mothers rejoiced when their little ones grew up and appreciated the sacrifices for themselves.

Prayer and faithfulness on the part of the mothers is critical to having our children transition from the shelter of their mother’s offerings to their own. May God save the little ones who are today the objects of their mothers’ prayers and faithful witness. – Jim MacIntosh

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