Monthly Archives: February 2015

Our Scapegoat

Have you ever had a bad day… or year? You are frustrated, disappointed, angry, unhappy, and maybe you have a headache on top of everything. Then someone close to you says something stupid and you erupt. You let them have it with both barrels and say things that are just plain cruel. But when you get right down to it, they didn’t really deserve all that. It’s not their fault you are miserable.

You made them your scapegoat.

God instructed the Israelites to use a scapegoat. (Leviticus 16) They symbolically put all their sins on this goat, then released the goat into the wilderness.

It’s a picture of what Jesus did at Calvary. God wants us to put all our sins on Jesus. All of them. It wasn’t his fault that we sinned. He doesn’t deserve our punishment. But God says, give them to Jesus anyway. Then, release them.

Too many of us put that scapegoat on a leash. We let it have some lead, but then we occasionally call it back. We feel the guilt. We may even repeat the sin.

But God, through this picture in Leviticus, and through his Son, tells us to let it go. (I saw Frozen this weekend and, even though I don’t know all the words to the song, I think the tune is going to be in my head all day!)

Let God remove that sin from the camp, from our lives. Cut the chord.

But, you say, my sins are too heavy. My sin is mine to carry. My sin is too ugly to place on Jesus. Where in the Bible does it even hint at such a thing? The only sin God can’t forgive is the unconfessed sin.

Jesus told the parable of the seed. (Mark 4) Here is a better use of your effort: Repent of that sin, and let the Scapegoat take it away. Then dig in, grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus, and bear fruit. Love, joy, peace…

So much better than clinging to a goat.

My Dear Scapegoat, thank you for removing my sin, for taking it upon yourself and taking it away. Forgive me when I continue to call those sins back. Help me to do what you intend, and that is to allow you to remove my sin as far as the east is from the west, never to be used against me… ever. Thank you Jesus. Thank you for forgiveness. Thank you for allowing me to live my life free from the guilt and pain my sins deserve. May I be rooted in Scripture, and may I bear fruit for your kingdom. Help me to allow you to remove my sin, to let it go, and enjoy sweet fellowship with my Savior.

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Stink

The Israelites heard the instructions from God: Bread will rain down from heaven in the morning. Go and collect what you need for today. Fix it however you want, but eat it all or throw away the leftovers. DO NOT STORE ANY OF IT OVER NIGHT. (Exodus 16)

Clear instructions, easily followed. Yet some decided for themselves that saving just a little until morning couldn’t hurt. They were wrong. The next morning they were greeted with crawling worms and a repulsive smell.

I wonder if some of us aren’t still holding on to some act of disobedience, believing it won’t stink in the morning. I mean, hasn’t God spelled out plainly what is expected of his children? Doesn’t Jesus say in no uncertain terms that he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and no one goes to the Father except through him? Doesn’t God tell us to be holy, set apart, fleeing youthful lust, loving our neighbor, treating everyone honestly? Don’t we know that to lie, to commit adultery even in our hearts, to hate are sins? Doesn’t Scripture plainly tell us what sin is, that we all sin, and that forgiveness is required and freely given only by grace through the blood of Jesus?

Then why do we think one little lie is no big deal? Why do we think a peek at pornography doesn’t hurt anyone? How can we hold a grudge, gossip, treat someone unfairly, and think that doesn’t stink to God?

Can we believe all religions have merit, that all lifestyles are acceptable if the people practicing these things are nice people? Surely God didn’t really mean good people might be going to hell, right?

Well, what does Scripture say? Either it’s true, or it’s not. There can be no, “what if’s”. The lesson here is, if we hold on to sin… even a little… we’ll wake up in the morning with an odor that disgusts our Lord, perhaps like a wet dog sprayed by a skunk. Like manna the day after, we’ll stink, plain and simple.

I want to be a fragrance that pleases my Savior. I want my life to be lived under the blood of Jesus, praying, sharing the Gospel, making choices that please and honor him. May I be quick to recognize sin and confess it, may I never hold on to what I might think is no big deal if Scripture says it is.

I guess I would like to challenge us all to check our stink.