Leviticus is a book about how the people of Israel should WORSHIP. It’s a balance of offerings and feasts, with the reminder that God’s provision for sinful humanity is the blood atonement.
Leviticus 17:11; 20:7–8
A football kicker misses the winning kick. A basketball misses a crucial free throw. A baseball player makes an error that allows the winning run. What do we do? We make scapegoats out of them. A scapegoat is simply something or someone we blame. This word actually has it’s origins in the Bible, specifically in Leviticus 16. The scapegoat was part of God’s instructions for the Israelites during the Day of Atonement.
The high priest would offer sacrifices for his sin and the sins of the nation. The priest would cast lots between two goats, one to be a sacrifice and the other to be the scapegoat. The first goat was slaughtered for the sins of the people and its blood used to cleanse the altar, tent of meeting and the Most Holy Place. After the cleansing, the second goat was brought to the priest. He would lay his hands on the scapegoat and confess over it all the sinfulness of the Israelites and put them on the goat’s head. He would then release the goat into the wilderness. Symbolically, the scapegoat took on the sins of the people and removed the sin from them. This, of course, was a clear foreshadowing of Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Paul sums up the idea of Jesus being our scapegoat in 2 Corinthians 5:21… “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” The Old Testament Law is a great help for us in enriching the meaning of who Jesus is and what He’s done for us. Hebrews 10:1 tells us… “The Law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming- not the realities themselves.” How incredibly blessed we are as New Covenant Christians not to have to look ahead for a Savior to come; we get to experience the affects of a Savior who has already come. We have experienced the reality!
We have to be careful not to look for scapegoats in our lives. To blame others for our failures and mistakes. Adam and Eve blamed others in the Garden (Genesis 3). So did Aaron in the wilderness (Exodus 32). It’s human nature to do so. But we don’t have to, because our Savior became the scapegoat. He took the “blame” upon Himself, even though He was sinless. There is no longer any condemnation for sin (Romans 8:1). We do need to confess our sins and bring them before the Father who will forgive and forget (when we come in genuine repentance). And here’s the encouraging thing… Our Savior the scapegoat, isn’t wandering in the desert somewhere like the Old Testament goats. He’s at the right hand of God interceding for us. And He’s no goat, He’s our God!
- Are there any ways that you have been blame shifting?
- Are there any sins that you need to lay at the altar of the Savior, our “Scapegoat” this week?
- How can you celebration your sins being forgiven this week?