Provision for the Poor

Today’s Passage –Leviticus 11 – 12 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – John 5 – 6; Proverbs 6; Psalms 31 – 35)

Read a previous post from this passage – Creeping Things

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 18:3 & 46

Read the “0206 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth.” (Leviticus 11:2)

Our reading in Leviticus 11 records the dietary requirements for Israel. As I read this passage, I asked myself the question: why did God have all of these rules regarding eating? I am sure that there are many reasons, but one of them must be that God was concerned about the health of his people. The creatures that God permitted them to eat were healthier for them.

Leviticus 12 discusses the laws for women regarding purification after giving birth. If she had given birth to a boy, she would be separated from the rest of the congregation for a total of 41 days. For the birth of a baby girl, the time of her separation was even longer, totaling 80 days. Again, I am not sure as to why God required these specific numbers of days, but I think it provided the mother with a sufficient time for rest and recuperation, as well as a period of needed bonding with her child.

The thought that captured my attention from this passage, however, was the fact that God made provision for those that were poor among his people when it came time to offer their sacrifices for ceremonial cleansing after giving birth. Typically, a lamb was required along with a turtledove or pigeon; but for the poor, two turtledoves or two pigeons were all that was required:

“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)

Mary and Joseph must have been pretty poor, because there is no mention of a lamb being offered at the time of Mary’s purification at the Temple:

“And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” (Luke 2:22-24)

It’s hard to believe that the God who owns all the silver and gold, and a cattle on a thousand hills, was born into poverty; but He was.

“For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9)

God did not demand unreasonable expectations on the poor. Even the system of tithing was not unreasonable. Both rich and poor were to give a percentage, and percentages are fair to everyone.

God loves all people, the rich as well as the poor, and God does not want the poor to be neglected as far as ministry is concerned; nor does He want them to be excluded from participation in worship. The New Testament church opens its doors wide to everyone:

“My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?” (James 2:1-5)


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