TODAY’S SCRIPTURE Leviticus 16:3-22
The English term scapegoat comes from the principle of Azazel, which you will find in today’s Scripture. Azazel literally means “complete removal” in Hebrew, and the unlucky goat that is selected by “the lot for Azazel” has all of the iniquities and transgressions of the people placed on its head, that it might completely remove them from Israel’s midst. It appears that in this way the righteous indignation of God that would have fallen on the Israelites falls on the scapegoat instead. By means of the scapegoat, Israel receives propitiation.
Of course, in contemporary times, the idea of making a scapegoat out of someone is frowned upon. Quite frankly, it is just not fair for one individual to pay the price for that for which an entire group is actually to blame. We may not know whether God struck down the scapegoat or simply allowed it to wander around in the wilderness to die on its own, but one thing is certain: That poor goat got the bad end of the deal, and the people of Israel got off easy.
The incredible truth of the Gospel is that rather than an unlucky goat, Jesus Christ is now the propitiation for God’s people once for all. 2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us: “For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” The only sinless man to walk the face of the earth was made to be sin so that we could go free. It sounds like a good deal for us, but it certainly does not sound “fair.”
We are forever indebted to God for giving us propitiation in Jesus the Christ. When life treats us unfairly, let us remember that Jesus Himself knows how it feels to suffer unjustly what is rightfully deserved by others. As 1 Peter 2:19 says, “This is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly.”
Today, I will…be mindful of God’s own unjust suffering as I graciously endure any injustices done to me.