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Daily Devotional Leviticus 4: 1-5, 13

While driving down a two-lane road in rural northern Michigan, I looked in my rearview mirror only to see flashing red lights. When the police officer pulled me over, he asked if I knew why. I honestly did not. He informed me that the speed limit had lowered to 35 mph because the road was approaching a small town. Unfortunately, my ignorance did not get me off the hook.

For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.


Today’s reading describes the sin offering (see also Lev. 6:24–30). This offering was provided for two different situations, for unintentional sins or for ceremonial uncleanness (5:2–4). These laws reflect several important spiritual principles.

First, the more responsibility a person had, the greater the consequences of their sin for the community. This principle is reflected in the size of the required offering of a high priest or leader in the community compared with a common person. Leaders have a greater potential to lead others astray and so are held to a higher standard (James 3:1).

Second, the whole nation could be guilty of unintentional sin (Lev. 4:13). This may be difficult for those of us in a culture influenced by Western individualism to understand. But it is possible for a group of people to sin corporately, for example, Israel’s covenant with Gibeon without consulting the Lord (Josh. 9:14).

Third, everyone needed to have their sin atoned through sacrifice, not just the leaders. To make provision for this, God accepted smaller offerings from those who had less means (Lev. 5:11–13). It was never about the size of the offering, but what it represented. The ritual had three steps: laying one’s hands on the offering, which included confession of sin (4:29; 16:21); presentation of the sacrifice; and receiving forgiveness (4:31).

>> The same pattern holds true today. We can be forgiven if we confess our sins (1 John 1:9). The sacrifices in Leviticus point forward to Jesus, the once-for-all sacrifice for sin (Heb. 10:14). Spend time in confession today.

Pray with Us

“The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—come not from [You] but from the world” (1 John 2:16). Father, forgive us for our sins whether deliberate or unintentional. Sanctify us, make us more like You!

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