Today’s readings are from Leviticus 5 and 6 and 2 Corinthians 3 and are well contrasted in reference to the old and new covenants.
Rob and I recently attended our first ram sale at Peak Hill. We went as observers only as our back yard would definitely not feed one of these beasts for more than an hour or so. They are huge, beautifully laden with thick, soft merino wool which has just the right amount of crinkles in the tufts to provide a very high CF (comfort factor for those who don’t know these things!) Some of the most valuable of these rams are preciously housed at night in a shed with ABC FM playing.
I can imagine the high worth of these beasts throughout the centuries as they can provide food, warmth, progeny and income for their owners. As we read in the Leviticus passage today, rams were used as payment for sins. Sheep were restitution for sins such as not speaking out when one should, speaking untruthfully or touching something unclean, all without realising it. I don’t know who the sin police would have been to catch people out in this way!
To unknowingly sin against God however, required a ram as a guilt offering, plus an extra fifth for the priests. Each beast would probably have had as much value to the owner then as those at the Peak Hill ram sale last weekend. Verse 16 And the priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering, and he shall be forgiven.
Were the people in Moses’ time more willing to admit to their hidden, guilty actions? I can’t imagine most of us these days admitting to our own hidden sins. Is that because we want to keep our public persona credible, likeable, reliable? Or is that because we can confess them directly to our Lord God, our God who loves us and is always ready to shower us with his grace?
The 2 Corinthians reading describes the hope and confidence we have in living now under a new covenant with Jesus. I like verse 3 And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
I love the picture of the Holy Spirit capturing my heart with knowledge of Jesus. The words etched on the stone tablets given to Moses will always be a preferred recipe for living. Our hearts though are configured by the Holy Spirit. Verse 4 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ towards God. Verse 6 The letter kills but the Spirit gives life. We don’t need to be bogged down in trying to adhere to an enormous list of rules and we don’t need to be continually racked with guilt after we have realised a sin we have committed. Thank you Jesus!
I am so grateful that I live now, confidently, freely under God’s grace because of Jesus’ death. May my life reflect my love and faith in who God is and may we all know his forgiveness for the times we do something wrong, whether publicly or not.
I’m glad we didn’t need to buy that ram!