It’s a new year and we started off with a bang in Bible Study Fellowship by reading the book of Leviticus. If you’ve ever tried to “read the Bible through in a year,” you’re already familiar with Leviticus. It’s the book that made you give up.
It’s tedious. It’s not fun or exciting. It’s basically a handbook for the Israelite priests, with little narrative and lots of primitive rules and rituals.
In short … it’s boring.
This first week in Leviticus, we looked primarily at the five different types of sacrifices that were made at the tabernacle. I didn’t expect anything to reach out and grab me.
But God’s always in the business of surpassing expecations, surprising you when you think there’s nothing new under the sun. Or in Leviticus.
Yes, the sacrifice system that God implemented for the Israelites seems barbaric and cruel to our modern minds. But the most important thing to remember is that all of it pointed to Jesus.
It was merely an imperfect physical representation of what Jesus would ultimately accomplish in the spiritual realm.
Still, as we trudged through the different types of sacrifices, I found myself yawning.
Until we reached the last one.
The guilt offering.
“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.” Leviticus 5:17-18 (ESV)
Whenever a person was guilty of a sin, particularly of a sin he wasn’t aware of, he would transfer his guilt onto the animal and then offer it to the priest to be slaughtered at the altar, thus killing the animal and the guilt in one fell swoop.
Yes, I know. It’s violent and gory. But I can’t help thinking about its significance.
The guilt was gone. Done away with. The nasty, nagging gremlin of guilt disposed of, spilled out with the blood of the sacrifice.
And if this sacrifice points to Jesus, then isn’t that the perfect picture of what Jesus does for us? He took the guilt and offered it up as a sacrifice. Once and for all.
Hiding in the dull book of Leviticus, there it is. This little gem of a reminder. The best-kept secret for getting rid of guilt for good.
I’ve spent my whole life feeling guilty about something or other.
- Just this morning I felt guilty for taking my kids by the donut shop. We woke up late and there wasn’t time for breakfast at the table, so donuts it was. Alongside a big steaming plate of guilt.
- I feel guilty right now, looking around my house, noticing all the organization and cleaning and projects that are crying to be done. And I’m sitting here typing on a keyboard instead of getting stuff accomplished. Guilt.
- I feel guilty that I’m not the mom I ought to be. That I yell too much, get angry too much, am too tired to devote enough quality time with the kids. That I’m screwing my kids up for life. Mommy guilt is the worst kind.
So when I looked carefully into the scripture, at this obscure ritual described so tediously in the MOST BORING BOOK of the Bible, I was shocked, amazed and grateful.
Jesus took the guilt. I don’t have to lug it around anymore.
He took it on, let it invade and infect his blood stream, then poured it out in His sacrifice at the cross.
Jesus went to Calvary to get rid of guilt once and for all.
Why do I insist on carrying baggage that’s already been paid for? Why do I burden myself with guilt that’s already been erased?
This morning I’m asking God to remind me, nag me even if that’s what it takes, that there’s no need to carry guilt around. I don’t need to be a martyr. Dragging around a big bag of guilt doesn’t make me holier or more righteous in any way—and it certainly doesn’t make me happier.
I can let it go. (Cue the Frozen soundtrack.)
And so can you.
It’s your turn!
What are you feeling guilty about today? What has you tied up in knots right now? Is it mommy guilt? Or maybe guilt that you don’t have it all together?
Please share your thoughts in the comments section. I need to know I’m not alone in feeling this way!!