Lesson for the Lord’s Day

And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited, and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness. Leviticus 16:22

A man who used to work for my father would come to visit once in awhile. On one of those occasions, he had n nice new car that he was showing to my father. Afterwards, he came into the house and was chatting with us, when he looked out at his car and gave a yell, running out to the car. He had spotted our two goats climbing onto the roof of his car. When he appeared, the goats ran away behind the barn. Hardly had he come inside when the goats were back, jumping onto the hood and onto the roof of the car. You could never convince that man that those goats were innocent, sinless creatures. He considered them the most troublesome and wicked animals he had ever seen. But, in our text, God considered a scapegoat to be a suitable representation of the One Who would come to take our sins away.

The story of the scapegoat is a lovely picture of our Saviour. After the high priest had proclaimed the sins of the people over the head of the goat, it was taken by a fit man into a land not inhabited, and abandoned. The land not inhabited speaks of a place where you and I cannot go – the place of taking away of sins. The Old Testament saints relied on sacrifices to go to that place. And today, we trust the Lord Jesus Who has gone to that place. None of us can give an atonement for ourselves or our brother. The scapegoat, in symbol, carried the sins of the Israelites away; our Saviour in reality carried our sins away.

The fit man was to leave the goat in the wilderness, and return to the camp. We can presume that the goat did not follow him back to the camp, so we can only imagine what would have happened to the poor creature. But nobody in the camp ever saw it again. Goats have a deep need for companionship, and are seldom found alone. In this way, they speak of the close relationship between the Father and the Son, an eternal sharing of companionship. But that close relationship was broken at Calvary. For a time, the Lord Jesus was alone in the darkness, crying out in agony at His loneliness. It was not the lash, nor the crown of thorns, nor the nails that brought cries of agony from His lips. Before His accusers, He was dumb. But in the loneliness of Golgotha, He cried out in agony. And in His loneliness, He bore our sins away.

Aware of our sinfulness, we are thankful that those sins are forever forgotten by God. In the picture of the scapegoat, we have our assurance that He will never see them again. – Jim MacIntosh

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