Tag Archives: guilty

Scapegoat

Most people have heard the term “scapegoat.” Typically, we hear this word when referencing someone who took the fall for the team or someone who took the blame for something they weren’t even guilty of committing.  This term is rooted in Leviticus 16, when we read of the need for Aaron to present a live goat that would take on the sins of the people, and then go into the wilderness to symbolize the complete removal of the sins of the people.

There is argument over the term Azazel. Some people see this as being Satan. Others understand this term to mean “complete removal” or “entire removal.” No matter the possibilities, this action of laying of hands on the goat’s head for confession was seen as a transfer of the sins from the people to the goat. Driving the goat away from the people, into the wilderness, symbolized the removal of the sins of the people.

You may use this term “scapegoat” today to describe someone who carries the blame alone, despite their lack of guilt. This live goat that Aaron lay hands upon is a foreshadowing of Who would come to be the ultimate Scapegoat. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was free of sin. He was perfect. As He hung on the cross, it was as if Aaron lay hands on Him. The sins of all people were transferred to Jesus Christ. He bore it all. He died on the cross, killed like a criminal, and then He was sent away to remain in a tomb. But the story doesn’t end there. On the third day, He rose. Unlike the need for Aaron to continue to find scapegoats to purify the people, Jesus Christ was able to provide the complete removal of sins forever. There is no need for another scapegoat. Today, if you are convicted of sin in your life, turn to the one true Scapegoat, Jesus Christ, and repent of your sins. You will be forgiven.

“The other goat, the scapegoat chosen by lot to be sent away, will be kept alive, standing before the LORD. When it is sent away to Azazel in the wilderness, the people will be purified and made right with the LORD…. When Aaron has finished purifying the Most Holy Place and the Tabernacle and the altar, he must present the live goat. He will lay both of his hands on the goat’s head and confess over it all the wickedness, rebellion, and sins of the people of Israel. In this way, he will transfer the people’s sins to the head of the goat. Then a man specially chosen for the task will drive the goat into the wilderness. As the goat goes into the wilderness, it will carry all the people’s sins upon itself into a desolate land.” – Leviticus 16:10, 20-22 [NLT]

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Earnestly Seek

In Hosea, we read a lot about the sinfulness of God’s people. Judgment was given. In Hosea 5:15, we read that the people needed to acknowledge their guilt. After they acknowledge their guilt, then they must seek God’s face. You cannot seek God, you cannot move in His direction, until you acknowledge you have sinned against Him. You first repent, which means change your mind. You recognize that you don’t want to sin. Read that again. It doesn’t mean you won’t sin. You don’t want to sin. You wish you wouldn’t sin.

The verse says that in the distress of the people, the people would “earnestly seek.” This is a powerful thing. The word choice “earnestly seek,” means seeking early in the morning, seeking diligently, even seeking painstakingly. We are to earnestly seek God—to seek Him diligently. This is a search that should start early. This is a search that you need to be all in for doing. This is also a rewarding search. Remember, God’s Word says if you search for Him with all your heart, you will find Him (Deuteronomy 4:29, Jeremiah 29:13).

Today, you have a choice. You can acknowledge that you have a great need for Jesus and you can seek Him wholeheartedly. You can recognize that you fall short just like everyone (Romans 3:23). Or you can make the choice to continue forward with life without acknowledging anything. I pray you earnestly seek Him. It will be a blessing!

“I will return again to my place, until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face, and in their distress earnestly seek me.” – Hosea 5:15 [ESV]

Reckless Driving

On the way to work today, I got to see some crazy driving decisions face some immediate consequences. I was traveling my usual route, following a car moving in the direction of my office. Behind me, was a fella I will call Mr. Impatient. I am not sure if the person was a male or female, because the car traveled by so fast. What I do know is the driver decided to enter into the turning lane in a no-passing zone, and passed by myself and the car in front of me. It was clear to me the person wanted to get somewhere quickly. It was also clear to me that the local police officer just pulled out of the convenience store parking lot and noted right away that someone wasn’t following the laws of the road. The cheeky driver knew that he was spotted and he pulled over beside a car lot, with the police officer pulling up behind him.

It all happened so fast, but it surely left an impression. I found it interesting how the reckless driver so easily pulled over when the cop only began his pursuit, without even turning on his lights. It reminded me of our relationship with God, and how easily we wander off. God blessed us with His Word, which helps us to know how to travel the narrow path. He also gave us His Spirit to help convict us when we are traveling in the wrong way. We are the reckless drivers often. Sometimes we are quick to pull over and repent; sometimes we continue traveling despite the conviction.

Today, take some time to read His Word so the Spirit can help bring it to mind when it is most needed. Draw closer to God as you take in His Word and chew upon it. Ask the Spirit to reveal any areas in your life that should cause you to pull over so God can help you to get back on course. The choice is always there. We can travel the road we want at the speed we want; however, the narrow path that leads to life is the best road to travel. On that road, we follow the road signs God has provided, which may mean traveling at a pace slower than we would prefer.

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” – Romans 12:2 [NLT]

One Sneaky Dog

10606005_10153078767998776_8901731169283629346_nHaving two dogs certainly can be entertaining. This morning as I was preparing to leave for work I noticed Marci was walking what looked to be an obstacle course underneath the kitchen table. I did not understand why she was weaving and turning through chairs until I saw where the course brought her. She was trying to sneak to Max’s bone, grab it, and then sneak away. She could have easily walked straight toward the bone and snatched it but she figured he would catch her and intervene. Instead, mom (me) spotted her naughty paws and repossessed the bone.

Marci was a sneak because she did not want to get caught. She was doing something wrong. It would not have made her actions right if she wasn’t caught; it was still wrong. She knew it was wrong too. In life there are times when we think something is not so bad so long as we don’t get caught. Guess what!?! Whether you are caught or not by human eyes, security cameras, etc., God sees all and knows all. You can deceive, lie, steal, cheat, and sin again and again without human detection but God sees. So why does that not bring us to reconsider these poor decisions? Why do we sneak around to do these bad things in an attempt to not get caught by people, rather than stop altogether with these bad things because they are wrong and we want to please God who sees all?

Tonight let us praise God and thank Him for His mercy. Let us remember that today we did things we were not meant to do, but we did them anyway. For some of us, we tried to hide what we did. For some of us, we were already alone and didn’t think anyone would find out. Pray that God will reveal these things to you and that the Holy Spirit would convict you and God would give you the strength to overcome and claim victory through Jesus. We have not yet achieved perfection, but we can make it to the finish line. Fix your eyes on Jesus.

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.” – Hebrews 4:13 [NLT]

Filthy Lips

As a mother, I remember the days when my children would eat something and get food all over their faces. I would get out the napkin, wet it and get their faces ready to see the world. Still today I check their faces before we leave just to be sure they are clean. And yes, I check mine as well.

In Isaiah 6, the prophet is standing before God and he immediately acknowledges that he is sinful. He understood that he could not stand before God filthy. God is holy. Then an angel takes a burning coal and touches Isaiah’s lips. The angel says, “Gone your guilt, your sins wiped out” (MSG).

If we accept Jesus and what He did for us, our guilt is gone – our sins are wiped out too. Through the blood of Jesus, we no longer live condemned, but we are made as white as snow. But we have to acknowledge that we are sinful. We have to acknowledge our unclean lips. Even after we repent and accept Christ into our lives, there is a need of daily repentance of our sins. The blood of Jesus wipes out each sin, but for each one, we must bow before the Lord and acknowledge our need for repentance.

“Then I said, ‘It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.’ Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs.” – Isaiah 6:5-6 [NLT]

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Crumbling Bags

When I reached back to the bag rack, I noticed that there was a bunch of crumbled bags that were placed inside the first bag on the rack. They must have fallen off the rack, come off with other bags, or posed a problem by being too difficult to open during bagging. As a result, rather than try to open each one and properly hang it on the rack, someone decided to just toss them all into another bag so they were out of sight and out of mind. That helped the person to deal with the situation, but the situation was not resolved. The bags still needed fixed and reattached.

Each bag had to be taken out of the bag, opened, and attached to the bag rack. It took a bit of time but it got done. While doing the not-so-thrilling task, I considered how we all do this at times. We push things off. We let things for other people. My kids do it in the kitchen. They make a small spill when pouring some milk or juice and it sits. They could easily clean it up with a rag and it would only take a few seconds. Instead they leave it and it becomes more difficult to clean when I notice it there. A spouse may leave the car nearly empty of gas so the other person has to drive to the gas station to fill it up. A co-worker might leave something for the next shift or for another co-worker simply because “they can do it.”

We live in a culture that has a problem accepting responsibility. I know I’m guilty of it and when I look around, I can tell that I am not the only one. We do not want to take responsibility. We do not want to be accountable. It is so much easier to push things off. Today, be accountable. Take responsibility. Remember that in any and everything you do, it can be an opportunity to give God the glory He deserves. Don’t just stash some crumbled bags away for the next person. Don’t leave your work area dirty for your co-worker. Don’t let the milk sit for the next person. Take initiative.

“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31 [NLT]

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Looking Around

In Exodus 2, we read about Moses committing murder. Verse 12 mentions how Moses looked around in all directions before acting. The NIV states: “Looking this way and that and seeing no one.” Moses knew what he was doing was wrong. In the same way, we sometimes look around to see if anyone is watching before we do something we know we shouldn’t be doing in the first place.

We cannot hide anything from God so why do we look around? Do we look around in hopes that no one else will see what we are about to do? Do we care what people think? Are we already feeling guilty for something we have prepared to do in our hearts? No matter the case, when we are looking around before we are doing something, perhaps we should not be doing it—perhaps we should consider doing something else.

If you catch yourself looking around today, take a step back and ask yourself why you are looking around. Ask yourself what is guiding your steps.

“After looking in all directions to make sure no one was watching, Moses killed the Egyptian and hid the body in the sand.” – Exodus 2:12 [NLT]

 

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