READ: Today’s passage comes from Leviticus 16 (verses 20-22, specifically, though they recommend reading through to verse 30). This passage talks about the scapegoat. The scapegoat was the goat upon whose head the nation’s sins were placed. Then, this goat was sent out into the wilderness, taking those sins with him.
THINK: Here we are given a list of activities to consider performing. I will list them for you.
- Picture yourself laying your hands on this precious animal’s head. Even better, hold a stuffed animal, figurine, or even your pet, and put your hands on its head.
- Confess to God your acts of rebellion, your bad attitudes, and your harsh thoughts about others.
- Experience the feeling of transferring your sin to this animal. (Don’t feel sorry for the animal. God didn’t give it the capacity to take on hurt or guilt from your sin.)
- See yourself sending it off as it takes your sin far away from you.
PRAY: What do you wish to say to God about having sent your sins off without you?
Now, that’s a powerful question. To be perfectly honest, I don’t know how to respond to that question. God says that this is good enough, but my mind questions: “Is that really all there is to it? Surely, that can’t be it. What else do I have to do?” I can also say that just that response right there would be enough for me to not want to take that step, if I didn’t already know better. Even so, it was hard to actually do that activity in faith. I kept getting this nagging voice in the back of my head telling me that there’s no way this could be good enough, because, what if the goat comes back? How do we get so good at rationalizing away everything? But, even more important to ask, if that’s all there is to it, then why not do it and trust what God says? What do we have to lose but our sins?
LIVE: Quiet your mind and wait on God to show you situations in which you need to remember what you just did. Practice resting assured of God’s love in those situations as you are resting assured now.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of the scapegoat. Thank you that you have made it just that easy for me to be separated from my sins, since I cannot ever hope to make atonement for them myself. Thank you that You came after me when I was lost, and for continuing to chase after me until I am back home in the fold. Forgive me, Lord, when I have cheapened the sacrifice of Your Son by refusing to believe that it is enough. Help me to remember, when I am having the hardest time forgiving myself, that I cannot withhold from myself that which you have so freely given. And when I am hurting and tempted to seek vengeance on those who have wronged me or my family, remind me that you withhold your forgiveness from nobody and that I will only be forgiven the measure I am willing to forgive. Give me strength to walk in faith, resting in this forgiveness, claiming it for myself as my victory over sin. Every. Single. Day.
In Jesus’ Precious Name, Amen.