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
THINK: Here we are given a list of activities to
consider performing. I will list them
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
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.
Father, thank you for the gift of the scapegoat. Thank you that you have made it just that
easy for us to be separated from our sins, since we cannot ever hope to make
atonement for them ourselves. Thank you
that You came after us when we were lost, and for continuing to chase after us
until we are retrieved. 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.