God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Monday, February 18, 2013

February 18 - Leviticus 16-18: God Provides a Scapegoat for His Pure People

Today’s Reading: Leviticus 16-18

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

God is both telling the people how to live and why he has rejected the people currently living in Canaan.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

God spoke to Moses telling him how Aaron should perform the annual sacrifice for the sins of the people. There would be two goats—one to be killed and the other to be released as a scapegoat.
God gave warnings against sacrificing to other gods. If anyone ate blood they were to be cut off from the community.
God told the people not to act like the Egyptians or the people in Canaan. These included certain sexual partners and offering children to gods as sacrifices. Anyone who did these things would be cut off from their community and their land.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

The scapegoat took the sins of the people into the wilderness.

All my life I had been told the people needed to remember their past sins every year, like rolling out a carpet with all of the past stains there. However, God set the sacrifice for the sins of the people so that the people knew their sins (which were not taken away completely) were no longer with them. So each year they would bring the sins that they committed during that year. God always gives a scapegoat that will bear the sins of the people into the wilderness.

Blood = Life

God is very clear—blood represents life. No one is to eat the life of another animal. Blood gives life literally within our veins and figuratively by washing away sins. That imagery will stay throughout the entire Bible.

God wanted the people to have drastically different sexual (and sacrificial) lifestyles than the others around them—pure lives which did not pollute the land.

Chapter 18 is very thorough but also self-explanatory. God places the impetus for these instructions at the beginning and the end:
Don't live like the people of Egypt where you used to live, and don't live like the people of Canaan where I'm bringing you. Don't do what they do." (v. 3, The Message)
Don't pollute yourself in any of these ways. This is how the nations became polluted, the ones that I am going to drive out of the land before you. Even the land itself became polluted and I punished it for its iniquities - the land vomited up its inhabitants. (vv. 24-25)
The people in these nations had polluted the land by their sins and God would punish the people. God will reject a people if they do not set things right and expects his Chosen People to live lives in stark contrast to those who do not set things right.

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