May 14, 2010

Exhume Sin Before It Buries You

Too many people avoid Leviticus. The strange world of the Hebrew sacrificial system. It makes little or no sense to many modern day readers. I personally find it rather edifying to uncover the profound truths in Leviticus that are also in the rest of the Bible. Folks tend to bail on Leviticus and all the other books prone to repetitive terminologies because they feel they are rereading what they already have read. God instituted laws into the Israelite's lives over time following instances of disobedience just as we add rules and regulations to our children as they grow older and mature in their responsibilities. What is often missed are the subtleties and differences in these seemingly identical iterations of the Law. My case-in-point today is in Leviticus 5.

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “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, valued in silver shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, for a guilt offering. 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. “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. 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. It is a guilt offering; he has indeed incurred guilt before the Lord.” Leviticus 5:14-19

The statements of particular interest that grab my attention in an otherwise straightforward mandate from God for compensation of sin are...?

"If anyone commits a breach of faith and sins unintentionally" and "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

We also see this type of statement in Numbers

“But if you sin unintentionally, and do not observe all these commandments that the Lord has spoken to Moses" ~Numbers 15:22

“If one person sins unintentionally, he shall offer a female goat a year old for a sin offering." ~Numbers 15:27

What are these specific statements from God telling us? First, they tell us that, no matter how good our intentions can be when performing duties in our lives we can and do easily become victims of either our own stupidity or someone else's and sin unintentionally. Second, and more importantly, we can and do sin and do not even realize it. It is often these sins that bury us too. If we know of a sin we can confess them to God seek forgiveness for them. The ones we cannot see or do not know about we do not confess and do not seek forgiveness for and remain hidden and buried. We need to exhume them before they bury us. Buried sins bury people and God knows this. He had a plan to overcome it or should I say He had a plan to expose it. We must ask the Lord to show us the deeply entrenched sin that clings like barnacles in the shadowy recesses of our lives. They dwell in darkness because they are tenacious and don't want to be found. They are the hardened sins with protective shells that are difficult to remove without a lot of searching and a lot of scraping and "elbow grease" (as my parents would've said). The ones that have dug in and gotten a nearly insurmountable foothold like squatters squatting illegally on what should be holy ground. God's ground.

"For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete." ~2 Corinthians 10:3-6

Additionally, and I have mentioned this before, Leviticus is a big book (as is the writings of the Law in general in the Pentateuch). A big book of rules and regulations for making people holy. It is a quality control manual for holiness. Why be holy? God tells us to be holy because He is holy. It is the only way we can stand in His presence. Sometimes I believe God allowed these books of Exodus, Leviticus...and the entire Bible to be written solely to show all the myriad of sin, variances, and different permutations that sin can take and how much there was to overcome at the cross. Yes, even the ones we can't see need to be and are accounted for by the Lord.

Even more amazing is that that the Old Testament was just the conquering that Christ did up to the point of his Crucifixion and Resurrection. We then need further explanation of what He did in the New Testament and further eyewitness accounts and witnesses to the fact of man's depravity and sin and the New Testament only covers up to about 95AD. Christ conquered the sin for all time. If we had to document all of it in a book like the Bible, the book would be endless and would still be a work in progress today and well into the future.

Who perceives his unintentional sins? Cleanse me from my hidden faults. Moreover, keep Your servant from willful sins; do not let them rule over me.Then I will be innocent, and cleansed from blatant rebellion. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to You, LORD, my rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:12-14

Sin is like throwing stones on your grave. One stone at a time. One persons stones alone would be enough to reach the clouds. The weight of it crushes us all. It is a weight only one could lift and all shall bend their knees at the sound of His Holy name. Jesus Christ.

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