May 27, 2019

Forgiveness Always Costs Something

Leviticus 4–5

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Laws for Sin Offerings

And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, If anyone sins unintentionally1 in any of the LORD's commandments about things not to be done, and does any one of them, if it is the anointed priest who sins, thus bringing guilt on the people, then he shall offer for the sin that he has committed a bull from the herd without blemish to the LORD for a sin offering. He shall bring the bull to the entrance of the tent of meeting before the LORD and lay his hand on the head of the bull and kill the bull before the LORD. And the anointed priest shall take some of the blood of the bull and bring it into the tent of meeting, and the priest shall dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle part of the blood seven times before the LORD in front of the veil of the sanctuary. And the priest shall put some of the blood on the horns of the altar of fragrant incense before the LORD that is in the tent of meeting, and all the rest of the blood of the bull he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering that is at the entrance of the tent of meeting. And all the fat of the bull of the sin offering he shall remove from it, the fat that covers the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them at the loins and the long lobe of the liver that he shall remove with the kidneys 10 (just as these are taken from the ox of the sacrifice of the peace offerings); and the priest shall burn them on the altar of burnt offering. 11 But the skin of the bull and all its flesh, with its head, its legs, its entrails, and its dung—12 all the rest of the bull—he shall carry outside the camp to a clean place, to the ash heap, and shall burn it up on a fire of wood. On the ash heap it shall be burned up.

13 “If the whole congregation of Israel sins unintentionally2 and the thing is hidden from the eyes of the assembly, and they do any one of the things that by the LORD's commandments ought not to be done, and they realize their guilt,3 14 when the sin which they have committed becomes known, the assembly shall offer a bull from the herd for a sin offering and bring it in front of the tent of meeting. 15 And the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands on the head of the bull before the LORD, and the bull shall be killed before the LORD. 16 Then the anointed priest shall bring some of the blood of the bull into the tent of meeting, 17 and the priest shall dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle it seven times before the LORD in front of the veil. 18 And he shall put some of the blood on the horns of the altar that is in the tent of meeting before the LORD, and the rest of the blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering that is at the entrance of the tent of meeting. 19 And all its fat he shall take from it and burn on the altar. 20 Thus shall he do with the bull. As he did with the bull of the sin offering, so shall he do with this. And the priest shall make atonement for them, and they shall be forgiven. 21 And he shall carry the bull outside the camp and burn it up as he burned the first bull; it is the sin offering for the assembly.

22 “When a leader sins, doing unintentionally any one of all the things that by the commandments of the LORD his God ought not to be done, and realizes his guilt, 23 or the sin which he has committed is made known to him, he shall bring as his offering a goat, a male without blemish, 24 and shall lay his hand on the head of the goat and kill it in the place where they kill the burnt offering before the LORD; it is a sin offering. 25 Then the priest shall take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering and pour out the rest of its blood at the base of the altar of burnt offering. 26 And all its fat he shall burn on the altar, like the fat of the sacrifice of peace offerings. So the priest shall make atonement for him for his sin, and he shall be forgiven.

27 “If anyone of the common people sins unintentionally in doing any one of the things that by the LORD's commandments ought not to be done, and realizes his guilt, 28 or the sin which he has committed is made known to him, he shall bring for his offering a goat, a female without blemish, for his sin which he has committed. 29 And he shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering and kill the sin offering in the place of burnt offering. 30 And the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering and pour out all the rest of its blood at the base of the altar. 31 And all its fat he shall remove, as the fat is removed from the peace offerings, and the priest shall burn it on the altar for a pleasing aroma to the LORD. And the priest shall make atonement for him, and he shall be forgiven.

32 “If he brings a lamb as his offering for a sin offering, he shall bring a female without blemish 33 and lay his hand on the head of the sin offering and kill it for a sin offering in the place where they kill the burnt offering. 34 Then the priest shall take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering and pour out all the rest of its blood at the base of the altar. 35 And all its fat he shall remove as the fat of the lamb is removed from the sacrifice of peace offerings, and the priest shall burn it on the altar, on top of the LORD's food offerings. And the priest shall make atonement for him for the sin which he has committed, and he shall be forgiven.

“If anyone sins in that he hears a public adjuration to testify, and though he is a witness, whether he has seen or come to know the matter, yet does not speak, he shall bear his iniquity; or if anyone touches an unclean thing, whether a carcass of an unclean wild animal or a carcass of unclean livestock or a carcass of unclean swarming things, and it is hidden from him and he has become unclean, and he realizes his guilt; or if he touches human uncleanness, of whatever sort the uncleanness may be with which one becomes unclean, and it is hidden from him, when he comes to know it, and realizes his guilt; or if anyone utters with his lips a rash oath to do evil or to do good, any sort of rash oath that people swear, and it is hidden from him, when he comes to know it, and he realizes his guilt in any of these; when he realizes his guilt in any of these and confesses the sin he has committed, he shall bring to the LORD as his compensation4 for the sin that he has committed, a female from the flock, a lamb or a goat, for a sin offering. And the priest shall make atonement for him for his sin.

“But if he cannot afford a lamb, then he shall bring to the LORD as his compensation for the sin that he has committed two turtledoves or two pigeons,5 one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. He shall bring them to the priest, who shall offer first the one for the sin offering. He shall wring its head from its neck but shall not sever it completely, and he shall sprinkle some of the blood of the sin offering on the side of the altar, while the rest of the blood shall be drained out at the base of the altar; it is a sin offering. 10 Then he shall offer the second for a burnt offering according to the rule. And the priest shall make atonement for him for the sin that he has committed, and he shall be forgiven.

11 “But if he cannot afford two turtledoves or two pigeons, then he shall bring as his offering for the sin that he has committed a tenth of an ephah6 of fine flour for a sin offering. He shall put no oil on it and shall put no frankincense on it, for it is a sin offering. 12 And he shall bring it to the priest, and the priest shall take a handful of it as its memorial portion and burn this on the altar, on the LORD's food offerings; it is a sin offering. 13 Thus the priest shall make atonement for him for the sin which he has committed in any one of these things, and he shall be forgiven. And the remainder7 shall be for the priest, as in the grain offering.”

Laws for Guilt Offerings

14 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 15 “If anyone commits a breach of faith and sins unintentionally in any of the holy things of the LORD, he shall bring to the LORD as his compensation, a ram without blemish out of the flock, valued8 in silver shekels,9 according to the shekel of the sanctuary, for a guilt offering. 16 He shall also make restitution for what he has done amiss in the holy thing and shall add a fifth to it and give it to the priest. And the priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering, and he shall be forgiven.

17 “If anyone sins, doing any of the things that by the LORD's commandments ought not to be done, though he did not know it, then realizes his guilt, he shall bear his iniquity. 18 He shall bring to the priest a ram without blemish out of the flock, or its equivalent, for a guilt offering, and the priest shall make atonement for him for the mistake that he made unintentionally, and he shall be forgiven. 19 It is a guilt offering; he has indeed incurred guilt before10 the LORD.”

Footnotes

[1] 4:2 Or by mistake; so throughout Leviticus
[2] 4:13 Or makes a mistake
[3] 4:13 Or suffer for their guilt, or are guilty; also verses 22, 27, and chapter 5
[4] 5:6 Hebrew his guilt penalty; so throughout Leviticus
[5] 5:7 Septuagint two young pigeons; also verse 11
[6] 5:11 An ephah was about 3/5 bushel or 22 liters
[7] 5:13 Septuagint; Hebrew it
[8] 5:15 Or flock, or its equivalent
[9] 5:15 A shekel was about 2/5 ounce or 11 grams
[10] 5:19 Or he has paid full compensation to

Forgiveness Always Costs Something



Key Verse | Leviticus 4:20b

"And the priest shall make atonement for them, and they shall be forgiven."

Bio | Jaclyn West

Hello, Journeyers! I first read The Journey as a sophomore at SMU in 2010. Since then I've stayed in school and recently finished my doctorate in Psychology. I'm so thankful the Lord let me finish!

I trusted Christ when I was 7, but it was about 17 years until I learned what following Jesus really looked like in community.

I get to disciple women and hear stories of redemption in Equipped Disciple, re:generation, on Believe Team, and the Clinic Connecting Team!  God is a wonderful story writer, and it's fun to be along for the ride seeing what He's doing!

Central Truth

Our familial connection with God is obstructed when we sin. Even sin we commit that we are not aware of merits guilt, has consequences, and has to be washed away for us to be in unhindered relationship with God again.

Devotional | Leviticus 4–5

I used to think the role of the high priest was kind of like a Pharisee's role: one guy standing above everyone having a bunch of people feel guilty in front of him as they do their obligatory deed to cleanse...

I used to think the role of the high priest was kind of like a Pharisee's role: one guy standing above everyone having a bunch of people feel guilty in front of him as they do their obligatory deed to cleanse their guilt. But lately, I've been given a new perspective on the real role of the high priest and why it is important for how we understand and get to know Jesus.

Who was the high priest? Appointed by God. Chosen from among men.

Jesus never appointed Himself our high priest. He was selected by God, just like Aaron was. "That is why Christ did not honor himself by assuming he could become High Priest. No, he was chosen by God . . . ." (Hebrews 5:5, NLT; see Psalm 110:4; Philippians 2:5-9).

I also thought the high priest was not relatable, but in fact he was chosen, because in his humanity he could naturally relate to those who brought sin offerings, having faced temptations himself. Jesus can relate to us because He was human, too. And He also had to make the choice of whether He would reach for His own glory or His Father's, although importantly He never sinned (2 Corinthians 5:21). "And he is able to deal gently with ignorant and wayward people because he himself is subject to the same weaknesses." (Hebrews 5:2, NLT) Jesus does not lord anything over us, but offers us a grace-filled way into His family by paying our fine so we can be made right with God.

Can you imagine the parade of animals entering the tabernacle all day long? The person who sinned was required to kill an animal so the priest could atone for the sin. God's holiness demands purity and atonement. A life for a life. "For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness." (Hebrews 9:22b, NLT). Without forgiveness, there can be no relationship. God instituted this so we could know Him intimately. Praise the Lord for making a way (John 14:6) through His Great High Priest for us to come back into intimate relationship with Him.

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Discussion Questions

1. Have you ever considered how often you unintentionally sin and how Jesus' sacrifice covers even those instances? (2 Corinthians 5:21)

2. Are there any relationships in your life in which you could extend forgiveness? Even to an enemy? (Matthew 5:44, 6:14; Romans 5:8)

3. When you think of the holiness of God, does it make you feel appropriately small? (Isaiah 43:10-11; John 3:30)

4. How would you rate the quality of your relationship with your High Priest today? (Isaiah 43:4)

5. What is one thing you can do to draw near to the Great High Priest who can relate to you? (James 4:8)

2 Comments available

Hugh Stephenson about 3 hours ago

When I was a small boy, we had a small round table where the kids sat. Once when I had committed some wrong, I heard my mother calling for me. I knew I was in trouble and I ran and hid under the table. I was sure she couldn’t see me because I couldn’t see her.

I tried to talk my way out of the wrong and convince her otherwise, but it was no use.

I continued this practice in large and small ways until 2013 when it all caught up to me and I started re:gen and Prodigal.

At 55 I grew up.

My searching & fearless moral inventory in step 4 was exhausting. I went through it again as a co-leader in 2014 and then again in 2015.

When I confessed the entire list to my mentor and CG brother. He said, “I don’t know that guy”.

Hope Harris 3 days ago

@Greg Jones thanks for your words of encouragement.

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