The Compensation Offering; Leviticus 15:14-19
Today’s Reading Schedule: Leviticus (CEB)- Click to read
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, valued[a] in silver shekels,[b] 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 before[c] the Lord.”
What Does the passage Mean to Me/US?
They are somber, uncomfortable words. They are words that give us no wiggle room, no “plausible denial”. They are words that have haunted humankind since Adam & Eve first turned away from God and were driven out of Eden. They are words we are called to wrestle with during Lent.
We struggle with the guilt we carry unknown to others, as well as the “guilty” verdict placed on us by others. We know that if we don’t find reconciliation for that guilt, we have no peace. And living a life with no peace, no reconciliation, is a life of darkness and despair.
As Moses was revealing the laws God expected the people to live by, he was also revealing the means of reconciliation for times when the people failed to be faithful. To our modern ears, the seemingly endless procession of rules and animal sacrifices and closely prescribed restitutions seem so much like drudgery, as in “watch each-and-every step you make or word you speak” so as to not break one of God’s Laws requiring another sacrifice. Where is the joy and freedom in that kind of living??
But Leviticus 5:14-19 speaks to specific type of guilt; one that comes later upon learning that we have sinned, not against any person, but against God. An action, thought, word against our call to be faithful to “the holy things of God”.
It seems this recognition of guiltiness is what we are called to examine about ourselves during Lent. Discovering the areas of our life we thought we were “okay”, but, in reality, broke trust with God. Ugh.
While no animal sacrifice is needed, the recognition of guilt and intentional confession is needed. This process is not easy, but the joy is that when we do it, we find a new place of peace and reconciliation. Instead of “guilty”, Jesus promises Easter: grace, acceptance and joy. However, I must go through Lent, looking inward at the person I see in the mirror each day, discovering and confessing the broken areas, before I can realize the full joy of Jesus forgiveness and renewal in Easter.
Too many moments each day I live casually, substituting my own way for Your way. Send Your Holy Spirit to reveal every way and every place that I break faith with You. Make me ever more knowing of sins I didn’t even know I committed, or am still committing, and by my confession and repentance, free me to live for You, testifying to Your Glory and the grace of Jesus my Savior.
In Jesus Christ. Amen.
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