“When a person sins in that he hears a public curse against one who fails to testify and he is a witness (he either saw or knew what had happened) and he does not make it known, then he will bear his punishment for iniquity.”
“When an individual becomes guilty with regard to one of these things he must confess how he has sinned.”
“If a person sins and violates any of the LORD’s commandments which must not be violated (although he did not know it at the time, but later realizes he is guilty), then he will bear his punishment for iniquity.”
I love how reading passages over and over again there is always something to glean from God’s Word! Leviticus is often thought of as being dry and a lot of jargon about offerings and prescriptions for dealing with sin. It couldn’t apply to us today, could it? As a mother of five children, I have often heard the expression, “I didn’t know”, or “I forgot”, or “It was an accident”. What strikes me in the verses above is that there are no excuses given for the offender’s lack of knowledge of their own transgression. Instead, there is a prescribed solution, and the One to whom we are accountable paid it. We cannot take care of our sin our way, though. It must be in accordance with the One with Whom we will give an account. While it is difficult for our generation to understand the slaughtering of animals for the propitiation of our sins, both for known and unknown sin, we have the same sins going on today and the same excuses. Acknowledging our shortcomings is just as necessary and required by our Holy God.
We are good at making excuses for ourselves in this generation, but the idea of the scapegoat has been around a long time. In Hebrew, the word scapegoat is Saʿir La-ʿazaʾzel, (one interpretation is “a goat for Azazel”, which means strong God). This refers to a goat being used to bear the sins of Israel during the ritual of Yom Kippur. The scapegoat has been used in most cultures, ironically. Whether the goat was sacrificed or set free to bear all of the iniquities, it did not have a choice – it was chosen to take away the people’s sin.
Mankind recognizes it has a need to have sin dealt with, if we are honest with ourselves. But we often create our own solutions as to how to remedy our sinful status. We can also come up with excuses, rationalize or placate our guilt. Maybe the standards were to high, or maybe someone else is responsible or to blame. But not in God’s economy. No fig leaf is sufficient to cover our shame or guilt and redefining our guilt to make ourselves feel better really doesn’t. We still need covering for our hidden and known sins today, but we do not have a scapegoat – we have the Lamb – who chose to bear all of our sins.
Recently, I became aware of negligence in an area of my life. It was hidden from me in that I did not recognize it as sin, just an inability. Becoming aware of something as sin is not fun and we can easily dismiss it as maybe we are not talented in a certain area or lack understanding. It can be easier to avoid it rather than face accountability. Maybe it is not a sin, after all. But once I are aware, I am culpable. No more ignorance to hide behind. Although it is difficult to have to work on those areas of our character that are challenging for us, we cannot pretend any longer that we do not know. We must instead ask God to help and to strengthen us in our areas of weakness.
I am grateful that God exposes our sins. He does so to free us. The deeper we go, the more unrighteous we may appear, but cooperating with the Holy Spirit when He illumines our hidden sins, which we often couch as inabilities or habits that are a part of our personality, is ultimate victory. True, we each have our own unique challenges in our perspective walks with God, but He is sufficient to help each of us in our time of need.
Thank You, Lord, for lifting the veil so we could see and gain access to You. Thank You for Your grace and love, which always seeks to rid us of the cancer of sin and draw us nearer to You. Praise Your Name!