Scripture reading for February 7th: Leviticus 16-17
Man is always looking for someone to blame for sin. It was the “woman you gave me” for Adam. Eve became his “scapegoat”! It was the “serpent” for Eve that became her “scapegoat”. God Himself was blamed by both of them as the ultimate problem. Amazingly, God had already planned to provide a “scapegoat”!
God loves man and worked out a picture of salvation from sin which is recorded in these chapters of Leviticus. God set apart one day a year when the High Priest could go behind the curtain of the Holy of Holies in the Tent of Meeting. That day was called the Day of Atonement. The term “atonement” simply means a “covering”. On this day, the Israelites could have a yearly “covering” for their sins as the blood was sprinkled on the atonement cover of the Ark of the Covenant.
First, a bull was killed and the blood sprinkled for the High Priest as a sacrifice for his sins. Then two goats were brought before the Tent and lots were cast. One of the goats was sacrificed and the blood sprinkled by the High Priest behind the curtain for the sins of the people. Everyone waited outside to see if God would accept the sacrifice for sins committed. They were thankful when the High Priest came out alive, his work on their behalf accomplished for another year. (Leviticus 16:6-19)
The second goat was then brought forward. The High priest laid his hands on it and confessed the sins and rebellion of the Israelites. This goat was then led out away from the camp into the wilderness to a solitary place and left there. As the Israelites watched the goat bearing their sins disappear in the distance, they were reminded of the sacrifice necessary to bring a covering for their sins. God provided a “scapegoat” who would take the blame for them! (Leviticus 16:20-28)
Jesus Christ came as God’s designated “scapegoat”! He offered Himself on the cross to make “atonement” for our sins. He shed His own blood to pay the penalty for our sins, once for all time! (Hebrews 9:11-14) He bore our sins and carried them away into a place of God’s forgetfulness, never to be remembered again! (Hebrews 10:17) All we can do is say “amen” to God’s work on our behalf! What a loving and giving Lord!