Apples of Gold

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The Scapegoat

‘But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.’

Leviticus Chapter 16 Verse 10

There is much to glean in the book of Leviticus though often it is difficult to write about. The events of this chapter however are very clear indeed. Any soul burdened with guilt should find comfort in the story of the scapegoat.

The tabernacle was no doubt built with the spoils of Egypt. It is interesting to note that when the children of Israel were asked to give a free will offering towards the building of the tabernacle and its furniture they did so with a willing heart and more than enough was handed over.

In fact there came a point when Moses had to tell them to stop giving!

Are there days when I take my salvation for granted? The children of Israel showed their gratitude for their deliverance through their offerings. Do I hold back that which is rightfully God’s? Do I ease my conscience through my tithing and think little about any addition offering? Do I truly give my all for the Lord or do I hold back?

Christ Jesus was spent for me. I desire to be spent for Him but am I truly willing to be spent? I often wonder what am I exposing myself to? Am I leaving myself wide open for ridicule, for poverty, for further pain and suffering? I may hold many fears about a total surrender of body, mind and soul for Jesus, and I may wonder where I will land if I make such a commitment.

If I am to fall anywhere, I truly believe that it will be into the loving and all-powerful arms of Jesus. Them that honour me, I will honour. I have walked the walk of a Christian for many years now, yet there always seems to be a ‘holding back’ from total dedication. It is as if it must be put off until another day.

The Lord has asked me to open my mouth wide yet I have shown great reluctance in doing so. I want the blessings and I want His favour, but what of the cost?

The longer I go on the more I see the cost that was paid for me and the less I fear. The more of myself that I give to the Lord the more I receive in return. It is part of my spiritual education and though I am a stubborn and poor pupil yet His care and patience with me is obvious.

The greatest hindrance to His favour and His blessing is when sin is lying at my door. It need not be any outward sin, nor a sin that any of my fellows may be aware of, but it is sin that I know about and sin that has not been repented of. Sins of commission and sins of omission. I am guilty of both on a daily basis.

Because I have sinned against God, I still try and rectify the problem through my own good works. I would have fitted in well in Galatia! Peace however does not come to my needy soul through anything that I do or have done. Each and every day I must get back to basics and take my guilty soul to Calvary for cleansing.

There may be times when it is difficult to ‘see’ Jesus dying on the cross for me. The Lord however is gracious and He has given us highly visible ‘expressions’ (I hope that is the right word), of the nature and working of His way of salvation. There is none clearer than the picture we have of the scapegoat.

Aaron having laid both of his hands upon the head of the scapegoat confesses all the iniquities and transgressions of his people. The goat is then led away from the camp by the hand of a fit man and taken into the wilderness never to be seen again. The goat bears the iniquities into a land that is not inhabited.

Kneeling at the foot of the cross I confess my sins to God. On the cross Jesus is punished for my sins and dies in my room and stead. My sins are taken and laid upon Jesus. The penalty for these sins is paid through the sacrifice of Jesus. I in turn am found clothed in His righteousness. This is not a reward, it is a gift from God.

This is God’s way of saving sinners. His way is perfect and it converts the soul that lies in sin. The confessed and repented sin of a Christian is hidden in Christ. He bore our sins on the cross at Calvary. He died that we might have life and have it more abundantly.

It is wrong to suffer the guilt of sins which have been repented of. It is as if God’s sacrifice is not good enough. Who then is setting the standard? Is there yet another name whereby we can be saved? No, there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.

His name is Jesus. His blood not only cleanses from all our sins and shortcomings, it also takes away our guilt and replaces it with a peace which passes all understanding.