Vayikra/Leviticus 12:2 "When a woman conceives and gives birth to a male ..." (Artscroll, Stones)
The Rabbis discuss this phrase at some length in the Midrash. R' Levi said, "Human beings entrust to Him a drop of fluid in privacy, and the Holy One, blessed be He, openly returns to them completed and perfected human beings. Is this not a matter for praise?" (Vayikra Rabbah 14.2). In other words, R' Levi is acknowledging that control over the creation of life is a matter for G-d and not for the husband and wife who happen to engage in sexual relations. Just as the gender of a child is beyond the control of man, so is the creation of the life itself. Some couples remain childless, others have children early or late but not both, while others seem to produce offspring regularly throughout the normal child-bearing years.
Once conceived, R' Abba b. Kahana comments that, "the embryo has its own abode in the mother's womb, but the Holy One, blessed be He, guards it so that it shall not fall out and die. This then is the meaning of 'You granted me life and grace, Your careful attention preserved my spirit' (Job 10;12, CJB)" (Vayikra Rabbah 14.3). Again, the Rabbis' attention is drawn to G-d's provenance in guarding and protecting the unborn child during pregnancy. The prophet Isaiah testifies to the end of the process: "'Shall I bring to the point of birth, and not give delivery?', says the L-rd. 'Or shall I who gives delivery shut the womb?' says your G-d" (Isaiah 66:9, NASB).
G-d has plans and purposes, not only for each of us as individuals (Jer 29:11 ff) but for His people as a whole. Just as a pregnancy has a certain length, from conception to birth, over which man has little natural control, so events happen in the spiritual realm according to G-d's calendar rather than that of men. Someone has said that the moment of power is at the intersection of man's preparation and G-d's timing. Often, it is simply a matter of waiting and allowing G-d's plans to work through our obedience and patience.
At this time of year, when we are usually counting the Omer from Pesach to Shavuot, we need to remember Yeshua's instructions to His disciples, "you shall be baptised with the Ruach HaKodesh not many days from now" (Acts 1:5, NASB) as He was taken from them into heaven. Shavuot will come, as it always does, a day after the seventh sabbath, fifty days from the start of the count. Our people met with Adonai on Mt. Sinai to receive the Torah in smoke, fire and the sound of the shofar (Shemot 19:18 ff.), 50 days after leaving Egypt. The Ruach HaKodesh was poured out on the same day thousands of years later in wind and fire (Acts 2:1ff). It was just a matter of waiting.
Further Study: Psalm 40:1-3; Acts 1:6-8
Application: All of our lives go through cycles, up times and down times. Our strength comes from knowing that G-d is constant and never changes. He is not fickle or capricious as man can be - we may wobble but He is always faithful and true.
© Jonathan Allen, 2004
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