Here is a song that kept running through my mind with today’s reading. It is called “The Steadfast Love of the Lord” (Medley) by Jim Gilbert. We are learning as the Israelites did about God’s wonderful love of us. He is HOLY and we can learn more from these readings about how we should come before the Lord in our daily lives, not because a law tells us to but because our heart wants to honor and love Him in all our ways.
The Day of Atonement: This was the day the High Priest would enter into the Most Holy Place which was behind the curtain beyond the Holy Place. The Most Holy Place was where the Ark remained which at this time held the 10 commandments. The Ark had an atonement cover also known as the Mercy Seat. God’s presence dwelt among His people between the two Cherubim that were part of the Mercy Seat. ONLY the HIGH PRIEST could enter into the Most Holy Place and could ONLY enter once a year.
On the Day of Atonement, the High Priest was to annually make atonement for his family’s sin, his sin, and the entire Hebrew Nation’s sin. He was to sprinkle blood on the ark of the covenant to make “atonement” (to cover) the sins of all their nation for 1 year. In the OT, the sacrifices could ONLY atone for the sins, or cover them. However, when Jesus made became our High Priest His Sacrifice not only covered our sin but it TOTALLY wiped it away!!
The High Priest would take 2 goats, each one representing how God takes our sin from us. The first goat was sacrificed and God would forgive the sin. The people were to put all their GUILT onto the second goat (guilt is very much alive in so many of our forgiven sins). The second goat was presented to the Lord and then sent into the desert. It was RELEASED!
There is so MUCH symbolism in Chapter 16; the preparation before coming to the Lord, the atonement, the washing and cleaning after the forgiveness. I always wondered where the term “scapegoat” came from. And here it is… right here in Leviticus!! I believe we all ask God to forgive us of our sin. However, many of us hold on to the GUILT and God does not want us to hold on to ANY part of our forgiven sin. HE WANTS US TO RELEASE OUR GUILT BECAUSE IT IS PART OF THE FORGIVENESS. God loves us so much that He wants to cover the sin from us forever but He also wants us to “feel” forgiven. THIS IS SUCH AN AWESOME WORD PICTURE TO ME. I encourage you to take some time “killing some goats” with confession of sin to the Lord; AND don’t forget to let that second goat run straight into the desert …. NEVER allowing it to come back. (It is a Hebrew tradition to actually FOLLOW the goats into the wilderness and push them off a cliff to make SURE they did not come back.)
We no longer come to the Lord for forgiveness through a priest, but through Jesus, our High Priest. Check out Hebrews chapter 10 to read more about how HE made the final sacrifice once and for all. We are so blessed that because of HIS final sacrifice we may have direct access with God thorough HIS son Jesus .. a privilege that we can do this EVERYDAY. He gives us grace every day. His mercies are NEW every morning. And HIS love is steadfast!! Do we take HIM for granted? I know there are many days when I do.
Chapter 17 and 18: In God’s wisdom and HIS love, he KNEW he needed not only to give the Israelites the 10 Commandments, but a full explanation of what they really meant… how to use them in everyday life. The Book of the Covenant helped with explanation of HOW to use the commandments. He did not want to leave any openings for people to say ….. “but… I didn’t know you meant THAT too!” These next chapters are referred to as the “holiness code”.
LIFE IS IN THE BLOOD. Ponder that, use your concordance to look up references to this and see what the Lord is teaching you about this… and then share in the comments.
Chapter 18: Course: Sex Ed. 101. YEP… it is right here in the bible…. No kidding.. check it out for yourself 🙂
Why is God laying this out? Look at 18:1-3
The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘I am the LORD your God. You must NOT do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices.
The Lord warns them that what was behind them (Egypt) and what is before them (Canaan) are fully of people living in unholy ways. The Israelites are to keep themselves pure and set apart. The bottom line is HIS people are not to have sexual relations with relatives, commit adultery, have sex with the same sex, partake in child sacrifices, or bestiality because this was all happening where they came from and where they were headed. God said — do it my way — NOT the ways that you see….not the same way the people around you are doing things!
You may be reading the bible for the first time and this may be your first experience reading about homosexuality in the Bible, so let’s just talk about it very quickly. THEN YOU PRAY ABOUT IT.
Vs:22 Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman, that is detestable.
First, you can’t take any one verse out of this chapter and say “well that is different”….These are God’s words. God said THAT (the act/the sin) is detestable NOT “THEY” (the people/the person). There is a HUGE difference. The sin is detestable not the person. You may be saying BUT…. “that is Old Testament”, nope…it is repeated in Romans chapter 1. That’s all I am going to say about it. We are ALL sinners. Jesus could write a book of my sins and I thank HIM that He forgives me. God loves ALL His children, even a wretch like me. And HE is so wonderful at dealing with each of us individually, through HIS love and mercy.
Verse 21. Child sacrifice. Molech was another god that was worshiped, We will actually read about Molech sporadically throughout the Bible. But just to give you a quick recap the Canaanites would sacrifice their first born by “passing them through the fire” as an honor to their god.
Here is what one might look like. (now you know why making the Golden Calf was a “great sin”…look familiar??)
Sharing HIS love,