Sin is everywhere. When we open our eyes and look around, sin is permeating every part of our society. It is glorified in music, on television, in magazines, in billboards. It is in politics and journalism. It is in our dress, our speech, our thoughts. With open eyes, it feels like we are standing in the middle of an landfill that stretches for as far as we can see. To make atonement for sin, where does God want us to start.
The temptation is to look to address the biggest areas of sin. Maybe start by trying to change media channels. Or maybe a better approach would be to sin of leaders, since they are leaders. Or maybe the answer is to look to the low-hanging fruit – maybe start with trying to establish dress codes.
But, this isn’t something we need to figure out. God gives us the answer in Leviticus 16.
When He calls Aaron to see the sin in the community and establish a day of atonement, the first area God directs Aaron to focus on is Aaron. He starts simple. Take a bath. Change your clothes. Bring a bull.
So far so good. I can do this. I can start the day of atonement with me. I can take a bath. I can change my clothes. I could even get a bull, at least figuratively, I could bring the stubborn bullheadedness of my sin nature. I can recognize that I need forgiveness and atonement.
But the next step is the one that can trip us up. (I apologize, but this is going to be a little gory). The next step for Aaron was to slaughter the bull. He wasn’t supposed to give it a pinprick. He was supposed to kill it, slit its throat and let it totally bleed out. According to Purdue.edu, blood would make up approximately 7% of the total body weight of the animal. This comes out to about 6 gallons of blood. I know that is gross sounding, but think about that in terms of our own confession of our sins in approaching God for forgiveness and atonement.
I’m o.k. bringing my sin before God. I’m o.k. with a pinprick of bleeding my confession of my sin before God. But God wants me to let it all drain out. He wants me to completely abandon that old life and let it die. Not because He needs it, but because I do.
Only by letting all my sin bleed out in confession to the Lord can I offer up prayers for forgiveness like incense so thick it is like a cloud before God’s eyes. And only then can I be completely at-one-with (atonement) God, putting me in a position where I can truly make a difference in also praying for others’ sin life.
So where should I start: Start with me. Do the basics to approach God. Then let it all come out in confession.
MHP: the inner sanctum in the tent of meeting, the area behind the curtain containing the ark of the covenant
AC: The mercy seat. The lid over the ark of the covenant shaped with 2 cherubim angels, wings streched over it, facing the cover
A box of acacia wood overlaid with pure gold inside and out, contains the 10 commandments
16:1 after the death of the 2 sons of Aaron who died when they approached the Lord, 16:2 or else he will die, 16:13 so that he will not die
Honorable preparation is required. A cleansing of my own thoughts when approaching things that are holy (work, worship) Have I prepared myself to honor God?
one was to be sacrificed as a sin offering, the other was used for making atonement by sending it into the wilderness as a scapegoat
For his own sin offering, to make atonement for himself and his household. His sins needed sacrifice
wash, change, bring bull, slaughter bull, take censer of burning coals from the altar 2 handfuls finely ground fragrant incense, take behind the curtain, put incense on fire,(smoke conceal), sprinkle blood with finger on front and 7 times before atonement cover
Am I bringing everything before God.? Are my prayers like the incense smoke; so robust and thorough that it fills God’s most holy place with supplication?