Leviticus 12:7 (HCSB)
7 He will present them before the Lord and make atonement on her behalf; she will be clean from her discharge of blood. This is the law for a woman giving birth, whether to a male or female.
This is one of those, “Huh?” passages for me. On one hand I find the fact that giving birth makes a woman unclean counter-intuitive considering God’s mandate way back in Genesis 1:28 to “be fruitful and multiply.” If it is God’s will that man should reproduce, why would childbirth result in being unclean, and have this purification requirement?
Well, after spending so much time journaling through all the sacrificial commands and rules, I think I have a different perspective on this passage. I don’t think it is so much a punishment of sorts for being fruitful, after all, God certainly sees children as a blessing, but I think it has more to do with the symbolism of the blood leaving the woman. Blood is life, and the bleeding of the woman, in some way, seems to be symbolic of death, thus impure and unclean. Not to mention the process following childbirth is a sort of purification with the discharge starting as bright red and eventually tapering off. God has designed the body in such a way that it literally purifies itself! And this is, I think, the point of this passage, if we are looking for some sort of life application here: that which is like the loss of blood, of life, is unclean, it is the opposite of what God is. It is not a comment on pregnancy, childbirth, or reproduction, it is a comment on the appearance and similarity to the draining of life.
The remainder of the content in the passage seems to me to be practical content. It is likely simply rules to help assure health, or perhaps it is due to cultural context of the Israelites, and maybe the cultures common to the area at the time.
Lord, thank You for reminding us, in all things, and at all times, that You are the source of life, You are life. I pray that we would see things through that lens, and focus on life giving things that draw us ever closer to You. Amen.