Welcome to our study of the not-so-boring-and-irrelevant book of Leviticus. (Click here for the beginning of this study).
I have to admit, I was a little distracted by Facebook before beginning my study today… not exactly setting myself up for success to approach God’s Word. I repented and prayed for God’s help to focus on HIS truth.
With that in mind, I plunged into study about the sin offering (Leviticus 4).
What does this tell me about God:
- God’s grace provides a way to take care of unknown sin.
In the past week, have you messed up without realizing it? Perhaps you drove around with a breaklight out, or unknowingly shared false information. I tend to fail on a regular basis, usually due to my clumsy conversation. Just the other day, I asked a question in a group Bible study, genuinely seeking an answer. Tragically, my question came across quite sarcastically, and the whole group received it as if I was trying to make a point. I left the study feeling quite defeated in how I was perceived.
Leviticus 4 gives hope for routine failure-makers like myself. The chapter is all about how to repent of sins committed unknowingly, and restore relationship with God.
- God’s holiness is not subject to human definition.
Some like to turn God’s word into a bunch of philosophical debates. Like “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”… many might like to argue “If I didn’t know I was doing something bad, is it still wrong?”
Leviticus 4 reminds us that God is completely holy (separate, pure, etc.). Even our unknown sin is enough to taint us and destroy our relationship with God. We must acknowledge that sin is not just “messing up,” rather, it is breaking covenant with God. Being Holy, God will not have a relationship with anyone who breaks that covenant, it is completely against his nature! Thankfully, God is ALSO completely loving, and His grace is big enough to cover our unknown sin when we turn to Him for restoration.
- The Law is so much more than a set of rules
The sin offering in particular stands as a reminder that we can never achieve perfection! God set up the law as a mirror, to help humanity see how far from holy we are, how much we need a Savior! The animals sacrificed in the sin offering were the temporary saviors, the substitutions of Jesus who would pay for the imperfections of all humanity, once and for all at the cross.
For while we were still helpless, at the appointed moment, Christ died for the ungodly. For rarely will someone die for a just person—though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us! Romans 5:6-8
How should I live in light of this:
- I should be more aware of potential sin.
Imagining the bloody activity at the temple or tabernacle is enough to make me gag. If I was required to sacrifice an animal (a pricey requirement) every time I unknowingly sinned, I think I would be more aware of my actions.
That being said, I realize now that I do not think of the cross often enough. I do not remember the great and bloody sacrifice Jesus endured to cover my sin. This next month, when I think of or sing about the powerful blood, I will not do so without reverence for the gravity of the cross. I know the Holy Spirit will give this reminder renewed weight to keep me conscious of my actions.
- Establish a repentant heart.
The sin offering gave the people a tangible way to repent. I know this is an area God is challenging me in. I want to see the gravity of my sin. Though Jesus has already paid the price, I do not want to take it for granted.
- Live with increased gratefulness for God’s grace.
Even with the horrors of sacrificial requirements, the Israelites never stopped sinning. The sacrifices were never enough. Until Jesus came, the burden of sin weighed heavy on each human’s shoulders. I want to live in light of this, with greater gratefulness of Jesus’ stepping in my place, carrying my sin-weight upon His shoulders.
Any thoughts or questions:
- Why did the priest’s sin bring guilt on the people? (verse 3)
My husband helped me with this one. He reminded me that the priest was the mediator between the people and God. He represented the people, therefore his sin brought guilt on the people. One man’s relationship with God held ramifications for the whole nation. In the same way, Jesus took the role of our high priest, but instead of imperfection affecting the whole, his righteousness is attributed to all who trust Him. WOW!
- Why was the blood sprinkled on the veil? (verse 6)
The veil represented the barrier between humanity and God (the inner chamber or “Holy of Holies”). Blood was the requirement to atone for sin, which is our barrier between us and God. Jesus’ blood tore the actual veil in half, from top to bottom, when He paid the full requirements for our sin. Now we have unhindered fellowship with God. Another WOW!