When I was fresh out of college, I worked for a couple of years as a high school teacher. I noticed that students gravitated toward a particular teacher, Mr. S. One day I asked a student, “What do you like about him?” The student responded, “Oh, Mr. S., he gets us.” Mr. S. understood what students cared about, struggled with, and needed: he was a good teacher.
One of the things that the book of Leviticus has taught so far is that God gets us. He entered a covenant relationship with Israel, which included laws regarding how Israel should act toward Him and toward each other. However, He also knew that Israel was not going to be able to live up to their commitments. God provided a way for them to atone for sin so they could remain in fellowship with Him. As the Psalmist put it, God “knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust” (Ps. 103:14).
Today’s reading describes the guilt offering (see also Lev. 7:1–10) to atone for three kinds of sins. First, if someone had profaned sacred property (5:15), for example, eating food dedicated to a priest or withholding a tithe or some other violation against the sanctuary. Second, it was offered if they unintentionally broke one of the Lord’s commands (v. 17). Third, for defrauding or deceiving another Israelite and lying about it under oath (6:1–3). In each instance, the person would offer a ram as a sacrifice to atone for their sin. They also needed to make restitution for the wrong they had committed. For example, defrauding a neighbor required a return of the value plus 20 percent in addition to the sacrifice.
>> Isaiah 53 describes Jesus as our guilt offering. His death made possible the full forgiveness and atonement of sin (v. 10). Have you trusted in Jesus so that you can be made right with God?
Dear God, forgive me for falling short and grant me salvation. I believe in You; I believe that Jesus is Your Son; I believe that He took the punishment I justly deserve so I can have eternal life in You.