We look at the guilt offering now. I’m SO glad this one is included because it covers those who do intentional sins too.
When we looked at the sin offering last time, the text gave the specific definition of acts covered under that offering as “unintentional.” I don’t know about you but I find that when I get in trouble with sin it is usually an intentional act. “The Devil made me do it” doesn’t fly. It is my hands, my mouth, or my will that got me on the wrong side of the equation. With the sin offering I felt I was beyond hope. But today’s offering restores my hope and puts my fears to rest. Maybe I should have read this section with the last one so I wouldn’t have been so stressed. Then again, maybe that “stress” was good for me.
The offering we are looking at concerns one who is guilty of some act. The first act mentioned is unintentional but it is directed at “breach of faith” concerning a “holy thing of the Lord.” I’m assuming this is similar to the breach of faith in the last offering but this one is a breach of something concerning the Lord. This sounds to me like the person made a promise/vow to the Lord and for some reason did not keep it.
There are promises and then there are Promises. So many people make promises in times of desperation. “I will become a missionary if You will just get me out of this mess!” “If You will heal my son I will go to church every Sunday.” “I will never swear again if You will just keep me from dying.” These are what I call pie crust promises. Easily made and easily broken. I’m sure God hears them and He may even answer them in some way but I don’t know if he holds the other to their word. But Promises made concerning His personal issues He truly cares about.
One example that came to my mind is the minister who goes on television “for the Lord” and raises a lot of funds. After a time the money becomes more important than the reason the ministry even started. That person has broken faith with the Lord’s holy things. That person has impacted how others view the Lord and His children. This person is guilty of damage to God’s holy things.
When that person realizes what they have done they are to bring a guilt sacrifice. We are not under the sacrificial system now so my example wouldn’t be bringing such a sacrifice but a priest operating in the same way in the days of God’s Law would be required to do so.
That person has to make restitution for the damage they have caused. We are not told the value of the ram that is to be brought but it is a ram without blemish and that has a monetary value in silver. The person is also to bring 1/5th of its worth as a gift to the priest. The priest then prays for the person and God forgives him.
The next example is reminiscent of the sin offering acts. It was an unintentional sin that the person recognizes as sin later on. Ignorance was not an excuse for the act but as long as the person was ignorant of God’s stand on this issue they were free from judgement. But as soon as they realized what they had done went against God’s Laws they were required to bring a guilt offering because they WERE guilty. There was no “extra” penalty tacked onto this offering but he still had to bring a ram without blemish or its equivalent as his offering. He too would receive forgiveness once his offering was received by God.
The last example is the one that gives me hope, if I had lived in bible times. In this example it is clear that the act is not an accident or unintentional. There is no one who can say they unintentionally or accidentally robbed their neighbor. The phrase that seals it for me is this: “—in any of all the things that people do and sin thereby—if he has sinned and has realized his guilt and will restore” (verse 3b-4a). All the things that man sins in, when his heart is convicted and he recognizes his guilt he can bring it to the Lord with a guilt offering. This offering includes the animal offering PLUS restoration for the damage to the person he has wronged, INCLUDING an extra fifth as interest on what was taken.
This last one was the attitude of Zacchaeus when Jesus dined with him. As a tax collector Zacchaeus wronged and defrauded many people on a daily basis. He became rich doing so. He thought nothing of this act, even though he grew up in the same society that taught God’s laws as the rest of Israel. When he encountered Jesus his conscience finally awoke to his sin and he was ready to make restitution PLUS interest. He went above and beyond the law with his restitution as he promised four times the amount taken instead of full with 1/5th added on. I have a feeling he brought a guilt offering to the temple too for he was truly guilty of all these acts.
“And the priest shall make atonement for him before the Lord, and he shall be forgiven for any of the things that one may do and thereby become guilty” (verse 7). THERE is where our hope waited until Jesus came. We KNOW that not all sin is “unintentional.” In fact if we are being honest, I would say most sin is intentional. But God didn’t leave His people without hope for their behavior, as I was afraid He had done following the last reading we shared. He loved us enough to make provisions even before Jesus when He gave man His Law.
But even better than that hope in the Law, He provided Jesus as our eternal sacrifice as well as our High Priest. No longer would we be required to cause the death of an animal to atone for our sins. Those offerings didn’t remove the sin but covered it instead. God’s sacrifice of Jesus REMOVES our sin as far as the East is from the West! And Jesus intercedes on our behalf with the Father when we come to Him with repentance in our hearts. I wasn’t a tacked on provision at the cross but planned for from the beginning!
THIS DOES NOT OPEN THE DOOR FOR “It is easier to get forgiveness than permission” THINKING. If you are under this attitude then you haven’t really felt the weight of guilt on your heart over your actions and you don’t value your relationship with God enough to protect it. For when you truly value a relationship you will do what it takes to maintain it in good standing, even if it means denying yourself something. You wouldn’t need forgiveness if you knew what you wanted permission for would be granted. God wants us to know Him so well we won’t have to ask for permission or forgiveness because we know what He approves and disapproves of already.
Father God, thank You for putting a clause in Your law just for me. I know it wasn’t only for me but it sure fits! I know I have fallen on the wrong side of Your line more times than I can count or even want to remember. Those times have brought nothing but shame and pain. Thank You for not leaving me there. Thank You for completely washing my sins away; not just covering them. I want to live by “When the Devil reminds you of your past, remind him of his future.” I want to quit beating myself up over MY past sins. I know You nailed them to the cross with Jesus. I know that I need NOTHING more than His blood for my forgiveness and freedom. Help me walk in that knowledge daily. Thank You that I don’t live in the times of animal sacrifices. My life would probably have wiped out a herd over the years.
I also want to share the little reminder You bring back to my mind when I think about Your forgiveness. You don’t tell me that You are casting my sins as far as the North is from the South but as far as East is from West. On our globe it is possible to exhaust your northerly path and begin heading south while not ever deviating from a straight line. But you can never exhaust your easterly or western direction no matter how long you travel. The only way to alter that direction is to turn around. You NEVER turn around and go back and pick up our sins that were left behind. There is NO point where East ever meats West. For that I am VERY grateful! And that is never going to change!!!