Today’s Devotion: Leviticus 4
Like the first four chapters and those yet to come, this chapter has a theme – a big theme. Sins of ignorance; sins of the priest; sins of the congregation; sins of the ruler; sins of the common people; the law of the sin offering.
To rephrase this, the following are not exempt from sin: People who don’t know any better, Pastor’s, the church-goers, government authorities, you and me. That pretty much covers everybody! Notice something a bit more disturbing. Look at these verses…
2 “Say to the Israelites: ‘When anyone sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord’s commands—
13 ” ‘If the whole Israelite community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord’s commands, even though the community is unaware of the matter, when they realize their guilt.
22 ” ‘When a leader sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the commands of the Lord his God, when he realizes his guilt.
27 ” ‘If any member of the community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord’s commands, when they realize their guilt.
Two words are repeated throughout this chapter, sins unintentionally and realize their guilt. WOW! In other words, people that don’t even know that they are sinning will feel guilty about it. I can relate.
Have you ever had the silent treatment from someone who is mad at you, but you don’t know what you did wrong or why they are upset or mad; you could just tell that something wasn’t right? Even without knowing the cause you give that person a gift and try to get back in good graces with them because you don’t like the tension or dissonance. You have no idea what you might have done, but you want to make it right – if it isn’t your fault – at least try to cheer them up. Meanwhile you are doing a search of yourself trying to figure out what you did or said that would have hurt or offended them?
I think this is what this chapter is trying to teach us. I’m not trying to say we need to live our lives in guilt and constantly fight for His love, attention and forgiveness. What I am trying to say is that through our love of God, we desire to please Him.
I feel sorry for those who don’t have a relationship. No one is exempt – even those who don’t know any better. That explains why we, sinners, feel that something is missing in our lives. We mess up. We may not even be aware of it, but our guilt draws us toward God and helps us realize we need Him.
I pray that this chapter would have us praying, not only for our own shortcomings, but the hearts of the lost whom God is trying to get their attention. Those burdened with guilt and don’t understand its source. Bring Him an offering of prayer and acknowledge Him. I say this as I bend my knee right now…