Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | April 30, 2014

Christ is the Chief Scapegoat. But, we His children and followers, who bear His image, are also like scapegoats who are led through the wilderness.

Today’s devotion comes from Leviticus 16:7-10.

“He shall take the two goats and present them before the Lord at the doorway of the tent of meeting.  Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats, one lot for the Lord and the other lot for the scapegoat.  Then Aaron shall offer the goat on which the lot for the Lord fell, and make it a sin offering.  But the goat on which the lot for the scapegoat fell shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make atonement upon it, to send it into the wilderness as the scapegoat.”  Leviticus 16:7-10.

—————-

Scapegoat is defined by Dictionary.com as:
“1.  a person or group made to bear the blame for others or to suffer in their place.
2. Chiefly Biblical. a goat let loose in the wilderness on Yom Kippur after the high priest symbolically laid the sins of the people on its head. Lev. 16:8,10,26.”

“3 He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
6 All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him.
7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment He was taken away;
And as for His generation, who considered
That He was cut off out of the land of the living
For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?”  Isaiah 53:3-8.

John the Baptist was a type of Christ who like the scapegoat was sent into the wilderness.

“Now in those days John the Baptist *came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said,
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness,
‘Make ready the way of the Lord,
Make His paths straight!’”
Now John himself had a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist;  and his food was locusts and wild honey.  Then Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea and all the district around the Jordan;  and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins.”  Matthew 3:1-3.

Jesus Himself was sent into the wilderness.

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry.  And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”  But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”  Matthew 4:1-4.

“But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.”  Luke 5:16.

“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;  so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.”  John 3:14-15.

The Apostle Paul was also sent into the wilderness.

“I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren;  I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.  Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches.  Who is weak without my being weak?  Who is led into sin without my intense concern?”  2 Corinthians 11:26-29.

The Psalmist poured out his heart to the LORD.

“I resemble a pelican of the wilderness;
I have become like an owl of the waste places.”  Psalm 102:6.

David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah, said:

“O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly;
My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You,
In a dry and weary land where there is no water.”  Psalm 63:1.

We too may be sent into the wilderness for a while.

But, there is hope!

This same David continues with his story and testimony.

“2 Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.
3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips will praise You.
4 So I will bless You as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
5 My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.”   Psalm 63:2-5.

We may be led through the wilderness.  But, God’s lovingkindness is always with us.

There is a purpose for which we are led through the wilderness:  “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;  in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”  Philippians 3:10-11.

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;  we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed;  perplexed, but not despairing;  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;  always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.  For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.  So death works in us, but life in you.”  2 Corinthians 4:7-12.

In conclusion, Christ is the Chief Scapegoat.  But, we His children and followers, who bear His image, are also like scapegoats who are led through the wilderness.

“To Him who led His people through the wilderness,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting;”  Psalm 136:16.

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