Leviticus 14 details the offerings to be given when a person with infectious skin diseases, or a mildewed house, are declared clean. Both offerings involve two birds.
God gave the option of two doves or pigeons for those who couldn't afford a total of three lambs. Whether livestock or birds, one becomes a whole burnt offering and the second animal, a compensation offering. The priest dabbed he blood of the animal on the right earlobe, thumb and big toe. (This is where I get squeamish and dash on ahead.)
The house offering also involves blood (of course). But there are several differences: birds are the required offering, and cedar wood, hyssop, scarlet thread, and the second bird, are dipped in the blood of the first bird.
And then . . . here is what caught my attention with a sense of relief--the second bird is released in an open field.
Four birds brought for an offering. Three die; one is released. Why? and more importantly for the reasons of this devotional, why do I care?
A little meditation suggests several things:
- People are more important than things. The more costly offering--in terms of money and of life--celebrates the release of a person from uncleanness.
- The creation suffers when we suffer. This is not a sin offering, but for our disease. Call it an early version of animal testing, as it were. (does that make me political? LOl)
- God is sovereign. Sometimes He chooses one over the other. One bird dies, the other lives.
- With the last thought: God sometimes spares us when we deserve death.
- When God does something amazing for us, such as healing us from an infectious disease or providing healthy housing, we should respond with an offering that costs us something.
I pray you find these life lessons from the nuts and bolts of the law as challenging as I do.