Monday, 11 May 2015

Leviticus 16: The Scapegoat

Good morning girls! Welcome to week 4 in our studies in Leviticus. How are you handling it? To be honest, I feel that I am now really starting to get to grips with it and I am enjoying it very much, especially today's chapter. I have never before read a book of the Bible where I have seen God so revealed in His holiness and where I have really been made aware of the sinfulness of mankind, especially my own. This is something to be very thankful for. Remember the lesson Christ taught about the Pharisee and the publican? The Pharisee, in his self-righteous pride, thanked God that he was not a filthy sinner like the publican; whereas the publican prayed humbly that God would be merciful to him even though he knew he wasn't worthy of God's grace. The Lord Jesus said it was the publican, confessing his sin before a holy God, who was justified.

Over the past 3 weeks, we have learned in a deeper way about the holiness of God, the sin of human beings and the wonderful way that God has made for us, the unclean, to be made clean and acceptable in His sight. It is only, as our memory verse for this week explains, by being washed in the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ that we can be made clean. There is absolutely NO OTHER WAY! This is where the real difficulty lies for many people...they cannot accept that they are sinners in the sight of a holy God. This is the foundation of being saved. We have nothing good in us, there is nothing good about us. Indeed, there is no one (apart from Christ) who is righteous, no, not one. We need to see that we are filthy sinners who do not deserve salvation or heaven and we must accept that the Lord God Jehovah is purity and holiness. He has provided the perfect way for our sins to be the application of the blood of His dear Son, the only sin-bearer, to our souls.

There are so many symbolic types and pictures of Christ in this and the preceding chapters that I couldn't go through them all, but the one that I'm looking at today is that of 'the scapegoat'. The word 'scapegoat' means a person or group of people who are made to take the blame for others, even when they themselves are maybe innocent . We can see this very often in society today, perhaps in politics or business, where someone is made to take the blame for something that others have done wrong.

In Leviticus 16, this goat has been chosen as one that bears away the sins of all the people of Israel. Aaron as high priest, puts his hands on its head and confesses the sins of the nation and then the goat is sent far away into the wilderness, never to return again. Isn't this an amazing picture of the Lord Jesus Christ and what He has done for us? God the Father put the transgressions of all sinners upon the head of His sinless, spotless Son and then He had to bear these sins away for us on Calvary. The scapegoat is a simple, but also
very profound, picture of salvation. The only problem that there may have been for the Israelites was the fear that, although the goat was taken very far away from the camp, it could have wandered back to the camp someday, maybe even a long time after, carrying all the sins with it. The wonderful thing about our salvation is that our sins, once laid upon the Saviour, were destroyed for ever. God has forgotten them and they will never return to cast a shadow over us again. We can never be punished for something that has already been destroyed and the price has already been paid.

Rejoice today, dear sister-in-Christ, that, on the day you repented of your sin and trusted fully in the FINISHED work of Christ on the cross, your sins were put away for ever and ever. God will never ask you to pay the price for them when His Son has already paid it. God has forgiven and forgotten. Sometimes we find it hard to forgive ourselves and find it even harder to forget our sins; but as long as God has forgiven and forgotten, that's all that matters! Praise and thank Him for all He has done for you!

Prayer matters:
♥   Pray that the Lord will cause you to see your own sinfulness, His perfect holiness and the Saviour who cleanses us and brings us close to God
♥   Thank the Lord for all He has done for you, especially in revealing your own sinfulness - this is a gracious thing because without it you could never be saved
♥   Praise Him because your sin has been totally forgiven and forgotten

Hugs, Karen x

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