“For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the Lord.”
– Leviticus 16:30
Quoting from Nelson’s Bible Manners and Customs, we read, “…the keyword of Leviticus is ‘holy,’ which appears at least 87 times; and the second keyword is ‘atonement,’ which occurs at least 45 times. It seems clear, then, that what Leviticus teaches is that sinful human beings can approach the infinitely holy God of the universe only on the basis of sacrifice through the shedding of blood.”
The forty years of wilderness wandering can be viewed as a waste of time to some. It was an absolute necessity, however, for God to take a “rag-tag” group of slaves and mold them into a great nation. God gave them the law, the tabernacle, the priesthood, and the system of sacrifice. It would be a pattern of holy living.
The Day of Atonement was the national day of the Hebrew’s confession of sin. It was performed by the high priest in the manner that God prescribed. It was the shedding of blood by another; there was no other way to accomplish this sacrifice. The Apostle Paul called this day, and others like it, as a “shadow of things to come” (2 Cor. 2:17). It certainly was that! Jesus fulfilled this once for all as He became the substance of this prescribed ritual.
Many of us have discovered that after accepting Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we experience peace with God, yet not everything we go through is necessarily joyful. There are times in our lives we can be overwhelmed with the sense that we are in a wilderness. It is important to remember that these seasons are for our development into maturity and holy living before the Lord. Remember that Jesus loves you and is walking with you even when it does not seem as though He is. Do not stand on your feelings that are like the “shadows of things to come,” stand on the substance that is Jesus, the Word of God!
“My sins were laid on Jesus,
The spotless Lamb of God;
He bore them all and freed me
From the accursed load. My guilt was borne by Jesus;
He cleansed the crimson stans
In His own blood most precious
And not a spot remains.”
– Horatius Bonar