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 guilty boy February 17 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: Leviticus 5:1- 7:38

Guilt and Responsibility

Who broke the lamp? Not me! Who put the scratch on my car? Not me! Who wrote on the wall? Not Me! “Not Me” gets blamed for everything, but we know someone is guilty. If you are the parent of young children or are a caregiver or teacher of them, you can usually identify the one who is guilty by the look on his face or his bowed head and refusal to look at you in the eyes. Unfortunately, children learn how to lie as they grow up so that they are quite good at it by the time they are teenagers and adults. But, is that what God wants? No. He wants his people to admit their guilt and take responsibilities for their actions. For Israel, God had very specific instructions on how to do this. Though the instructions for us are not quite the same as they were for the Israelites, this lesson will show us how to get rid of guilt. Also included in this Bible study are additional responsibilities of the priests in regard to the burnt, sin, grain, fellowship, and guilt offerings. They show us that if we are responsible and faithful to our tasks, we will have God’s best. We can live in communion and fellowship with God. We do not have to live a life of guilt.

Closely akin to the sin offering was the guilt offering. A perfect ram was brought for a sacrifice. A poor person could bring a perfect lamb, or two doves or pigeons, and the poorest of Israelites could bring two liters of fine flour to be offered on top of a sacrifice being burned on the altar. After the animal or bird was slain, blood was sprinkled on all sides of the altar, and the rest was poured out at the base. Only the blood and fat were offered on the bronze altar; the good parts of the animal or bird were portions for the priests to eat (unless the offering was for them). The remaining parts of the body of the animal were taken outside the camp and burned.

There were three elements to the guilt offering, two of which were not present in the sin offering. First, there was a confession of the sin committed toward God or man, whether intentional or not. This was followed by the penalty, the sin offering discussed earlier. Last, a complete restitution was made with 20% added on to it, whenever possible and appropriate.

Most of us are not Israelites, and none of us offer burnt sacrifices (unless it is our own meal). What should we do when we are guilty of sin against God, a family member, neighbor, co-worker, or even a stranger? First, like the Israelites, we need to take responsibility for it. We need to confess our sin to the one(s) we have offended, whether our sin was intentional or not. As soon as we are aware of it, we need to confess our wrong if at all possible. This is difficult, especially if we are used to excusing our behavior or shifting our blame onto others. It is time to man up (or woman up) to our responsibilities. It is time to humble ourselves and admit we were wrong.

Second, we need to seek the Lord’s forgiveness. Unlike the animal sacrifices that Israel offered, Christ was the perfect sacrifice to pay the penalty for our sin; He is our sin and guilt offering.

The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean [we will look at this ceremony in later chapters of Leviticus]. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! (Hebrews 9:13-14, NIV)

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1John 1:9, NIV).

Third, like the Israelites, if at all possible we need to make complete restitution for the wrong we have done. Do we need to add twenty percent? There is no commandment in the New Testament regarding this directive. In some cases, however, if we did follow this principle it might discourage law suits because we are presenting ourselves as honest and willing to make things right. The penalty we pay might also discourage further misbehaviors.

Up to this point in Leviticus the emphasis of the offerings has been primarily focused on the individual. Many instructions have also been given to the priests in regard to the sacrifices. Now the focus in Leviticus shifts to additional responsibilities of the priests regarding the offerings.

For the burnt offering, the priest was to make sure the bronze altar was always kept burning. Why? Perhaps this symbolized God’s readiness to receive offerings. Whenever we come to God he is always ready to forgive us or to accept our sacrifices of praise and dedication.

Whenever the ashes were to be removed from the bronze altar, the priest was to wear clean linen garments before he did the task (assumedly because the altar is holy, set apart to God) and then change into regular clothes to take them to a ceremonial clean place outside of the camp.

When the priests brought grain offerings before the LORD, they were to offer a handful of it as a memorial portion, and then the priest and his family could share the rest. The only exception to eating the remainder of the offering was if the grain offering was offered by a priest, or at the time of his anointing for service. It was then the grain offering was considered a dedication offering for God alone.

The sin offering, as with the other offerings, was most holy and anything touching it became holy. Jesus was our sin offering.

…we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all… because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy, (Hebrews 10:10,14, NIV).

It is interesting that when Jesus healed people, some expressed the faith that if they could only touch him they would be healed. Those who did were made whole (Matthew 9:20-21; Matthew 14:35-36; Mark 3:10; Mark 6:56; Mark 8:22; Luke 5:12-13; Luke 6:19). When Jesus touches us spiritually, he heals our sinful soul and makes us holy.

The guilt offering and the sin offering were very similar. The priest could eat the good portions after the blood and fat were offered. The personal responsibility that the priests assumed was rewarded. Here was the working principle for the priests:

The same law applies to both the sin offering and the guilt offering: They belong to the priest who makes atonement with them. The priest who offers a burnt offering for anyone may keep its hide for himself. Every grain offering baked in an oven or cooked in a pan or on a griddle belongs to the priest who offers it, and every grain offering, whether mixed with oil or dry, belongs equally to all the sons of Aaron. (Leviticus 7:7-10, NIV)

Those who take responsibility and are faithful to the task receive God’s best.

The fellowship offering was a communal offering of thanksgiving, an offering given upon the fulfillment of a vow, or simply an offering given of free will (a free will offering). First the animal sacrifice was presented to the priests, along with a grain offering. Then, after the blood and fat were offered, the priests, the worshipper, and his family shared in eating the cooked meal. The priests were given the breast, the thighs and the unleavened cakes of bread to eat. The worshipper and his family could have the rest of the good part of the animal and bread made with yeast, but they were not to eat any bloody meat or fat. They also had to be ceremonially clean to participate in the fellowship offering. God’s concern, as always, was that the people be holy because he is holy. God has the same requirement of us (1Peter 1:15-16; Leviticus 11:44,45; 19:2; 20:7).

Lessons to live by:

  • What should we do when we are guilty of sin?
    • First take responsibility for it. Confess your sins.
    • Second, seek the Lord’s forgiveness.
    • Third, make complete restitution whenever possible and appropriate.
  • We can live in communion and fellowship with God. We do not have to live a life of guilt. We can have his forgiveness and peace (more...)
  • Those who take responsibility and are faithful to the task receive God’s best.
  • Be holy for God is holy

Today’s Bible memory verse:

1John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness,” (NIV).

praying girl Write a private prayer response to today’s Bible study:

Please send your comments to mtbiblestudies@gmail.com

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