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Covid-19 Devotionals

Intentional vs. Unintentional

Many people say their days are dull and uneventful. I suppose this is true for all of us … but not all the time! I have very few dull days. This morning I went out for a brisk 8.9 km walk. It was not hot, the skies were cloudy and the traffic had not yet caused too much exhaust fumes. Immediately after the walk, I hopped into the shower and while I was showering … soap all over … our alarm went off!

I have an app on my phone so when the alarm is triggered the phone makes a loud noise, as do the three sirens (one in the roof, one on the front of the house and the other in the garage for the fence). Once again, it’s the electric fence. I have had the technicians out for the fence alarm three times over the past few months. The last time they were here, they did two repairs and everything was totally fine … and this morning, while I was in the shower, the alarm went off. The security company called … and I couldn’t get to the phone.

Eventually it was all quiet, and I was all rinsed off and half dried when the alarm went off again. I wrapped the towel around myself and got to the garage. The door was open and I saw my opposite neighbor coming to see what the problem is. I managed to switch off both the fence and house alarms. Once dried and dressed, I inspected the fence and found nothing that could cause the alarm to be triggered, so I called the technicians again and asked them to come out.

The tech guy did a full inspection, including testing the energizer. Everything seemed fine, except when the alarm is switched on there is a dead short. After a long while searching for the problem, he came asking me to come out into the rain so that he could show me what he found.

At the back of our house, we have a shed. The rear wall is part of our back border wall. The electrical fencing runs around the property completely. The back neighbor put some long steel posts against the wall, but they were so long that they were against the electrical fence. This caused the alarm to be triggered. Because the back border wall is so high and because of the shed’s roof, the problem could not be seen unless one gets onto the shed’s roof. The neighbor did not do this on purpose, but it was an expensive mistake and he cannot pay the call out bill because he does not work. He admitted guilt … he said sorry … and that’s that.

There is a huge difference between the intentional and the unintentional. If this neighbour intentionally put those long steel posts against the fence, I would have treated the problem much differently to the way I did compared to his unintentional act. He was sorry, remorseful and apologetic.

The Bible speaks about intentional and unintentional sin. In brief, I want to deal with the unintentional sin as revealed by four categories of people in Leviticus 4.

Lev 4:1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Say to the Israelites: ‘When anyone sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the LORD’S commands'”

The Priest

Lev 4:3 “‘If the anointed priest sins, bringing guilt on the people, he must bring to the LORD a young bull without defect as a sin offering for the sin he has committed. 4 He is to present the bull at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting before the LORD. He is to lay his hand on its head and slaughter it before the LORD.’”

The People

Lev 4:13 “‘If the whole Israelite community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the LORD’S commands, even though the community is unaware of the matter, they are guilty. 14 When they become aware of the sin they committed, the assembly must bring a young bull as a sin offering and present it before the Tent of Meeting. 15 The elders of the community are to lay their hands on the bull’s head before the LORD, and the bull shall be slaughtered before the LORD.’”

The Leader

Lev 4:22 “‘When a leader sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the commands of the LORD his God, he is guilty. 23 When he is made aware of the sin he committed, he must bring as his offering a male goat without defect. 24 He is to lay his hand on the goat’s head and slaughter it at the place where the burnt offering is slaughtered before the LORD. It is a sin offering.’”

The Individual

Lev 4:27 “‘If a member of the community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the LORD’S commands, he is guilty. 28 When he is made aware of the sin he committed, he must bring as his offering for the sin he committed a female goat without defect. 29 He is to lay his hand on the head of the sin offering and slaughter it at the place of the burnt offering.’”

In Leviticus 4:20, 26 and 31 We read … “In this way the priest will make atonement for them, and they will be forgiven” … and in Leviticus 4:35, we read:

Lev 4:35 “In this way the priest will make atonement for him for the sin he has committed, and he will be forgiven.”

God makes provision for everyone in the society, from the religious leaders to the political leaders to the leaders in society and to the individual. Although unintentional sin remains sin, it is pardonable. God is gracious and makes provision through the bringing of an animal (the sacrificial offering), the laying of hands (the transfer of sin to the substitute which is the animal), the slaughter (punishment by death and shedding of blood) and the pardon (God removing the sin and forgiving the person of the unintentional sin). Now, the person is seen before God and the community as if he (or she) had not sinned. The process is an act of faith!

The exact same process is found in Jesus dying in the place of the sinner at Calvary. (1) We sin, be it intentionally or unintentionally. We are guilty before God. (2) God provides the sacrificial lamb, the Lord Jesus. He is the sinless, perfect Offering for our sin. (3) Through faith in His substitutional sacrifice, our sin is transferred to Him. (4) He is slaughtered in the sinner’s place. He endures the wrath of the Father. This in known as “penal sacrifice”. (5) As we confess sin and are serious, God applies the merits of Jesus to our account and renders us as if we had not sinned. This means that as the beloved in Christ we don’t need to carry the guilt of our sin (unintentional sin) because through our Lord’s Blood Sacrifice we are declared justified … set free and forgiven. This is before God and man.

Precious, Gracious Lord, thank You for forgiveness and cleansing in Jesus’ blood offering for me. Amen.

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