Sermon in a nutshell: Ask Forgiveness to God (Lev. 5:14-19)
We live in the sight of God!
In the world, we are responsible only for our intentional wrongdoings and negligence. When we commit crimes, we go to prison or pay fines. When we make mistakes, we compensate for the damages that we incurred. In this way, we are accountable to the victims and the community. In this system God is not considered.
However, living by the Bible, we are always aware of God. According to the Bible, when we commit a crime, we hurt not only the victims and society but also God. That is the reason why we give a “Guilt Offering.” A Guilt Offering gives us awareness that we live in the sight of God.
All the Offerings are connected and show us what we believe.
The Burnt Offering shows our total commitment. The Grain Offering expresses our belief that our possessions belong to God. Once we build the foundation of our life, we make this faith statement: “My life is yours, O Lord, and my possessions are all yours, O Living God!” Whatever we do has something to do with God! When we make mistakes, we try to reconcile with the victims of our wrongdoings through a Peace Offering. We also recognize that our actions affect our community through a Sin Offering. Finally, we confess that we hurt the heart of God through our Guilt Offering.
Offerings are actually our faith statement. When we show our checkbook and schedule book, people can tell where our hearts are.
Two Practical Implications of this offering system.
- We behave when nobody watches us.
When we believe in the Guilt Offering, we believe that our actions and words have an influence on God. Even though nobody watches us, we know that God knows what we do and God can be pleased with it or hurt by it. We live in the sight of God and not in the sight of people. We do good deeds whether people take notice of us or not. We avoid wicked thoughts and things- whether we are caught or not is irrelevant. It has nothing to do with punishment or rewards. We do it or don’t do it because God is our guide.
The best example of this is the story of young Joseph. When the wife of Potiphar seduced the young Joseph, he replied to her, “How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” And although she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not consent to lie beside her or to be with her. Joseph was living in God’s sight.
- We do not believe in revenge.
When we believe in Guilt Offerings, we know that every single action of any human being affects God’s heart. If we commit a sin, it hurts God. If we help one another, it pleases God. When other people do us wrong, we know that they hurt God and that they will reap the consequences of their behavior. This knowledge persuades us not to take personal revenge.
When someone ignores the law of gravity and jumps from a high building, thinking that he or she will be fine, what will happen? If someone believes that he or she can touch a boiling pot with bare hands, what will happen? There are rules and laws that work in the realm of God. When we go against them, believing that we are exempt from them somehow, we are going to learn a lesson the hard way.
If this is the case, we do not need to take action for personal revenge. The best thing that we can do is to pray for our enemies so that they can repent early enough not to endure the consequences of their actions.
The best example of this faith is found in 1 Samuel 24: 1-22. Saul was running after David to kill him. However, one day, Saul was sleeping in a cave and David and his men were sitting in the innermost parts of the cave. David’s men urged him to kill Saul. However, David scolded his men severely and did not permit them to attack Saul. Why not? Listen to the faith statement that David made in the 1 Chronicles 29: 11-12. “Yours, O Lord, are the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the heavens and on the earth is yours; yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might; and it is in your hand to make great and to give strength to all.”
When we believe that God is the source of all our blessings, we pay more attention to what God is doing than to what others are doing. We focus more on the relationship with God than on our relationship with others. In our relationship with others, we love them, forgive them, and care for them. For ourselves, we examine our hearts and behaviors, we confess our sins, and we share what we have with others.
The rest of the rules and regulations are based upon this offering system.
Detailed rules and regulations in the book of Leviticus are all reflections of this offering system, our faith statement. Before we discuss whether a certain rule is right or not, whether they are still applicable to us or not, we want to make sure that we have the right foundation. During this season of Lent, we want to examine our offering practices. It tells all about us. If our practices are not following God’s design, let us change them and follow God’s plan.
- What do you want to do when nobody is watching you?
- When you want to take personal revenge, what stops you?