No Longer….

They must no longer offer any of their sacrifices to the goat idols to whom they prostitute themselves. This is to be a lasting ordinance for them and for the generations to come (Leviticus 17:7, NIV).

I came across this verse in my devotional time. I’ve been thinking about it over the last few days. I mean look at it, they must no longer offer any of their sacrifices to the goat idols. “Tis the tense of the words “no longer” and “prostitute” that caught my eye. They are not in the past tense, they are in the present tense. It is what they are doing. Even after being taken out of Egypt, after crossing the sea and seeing Pharaoh’s army destroyed, and being hit with a plague for making the golden calf, they still were worshipping idols.

And God was still saving them. Teaching them. Leading them. Still telling them what He expected. Yes He was laying down the law, The Law. But it was given in grace, to people who despite all God had done and was doing for them still were unfaithful. That doesn’t say a whole lot about the Israelites. But is says a whole lot about God, the kind of God He is, and the kind of people He expects us to be with people who don’t measure up. And if we are honest, we’ll admit that is everybody, including you and me.

Can you really?


As this quote suggests, we have all done things that we feel horrible about in retrospect. Many of us have felt that what we need is to forgive ourselves.

There is one problem with that—there is not one Scripture that addresses forgiving yourself! The Bible is full of passages about how God can and does forgive people. It also has a lot to say about our forgiving other people. But there is no verse or passage in the Bible that has to do with forgiving yourself. That leads to the question, “Can you forgive yourself? What do you do when you feel that is what you need to do?”

When we feel like we need to forgive ourselves what we really need (if we are honest with ourselves) is God’s forgiveness for ourselves. Remember, forgiveness is a divinely powered action. You cannot forgive yourself by yourself—you need God to forgive you. Perhaps the real challenge comes when the situation, the feelings, and the pain do not simply disappear after God forgives us.

Often feelings of guilt still linger and we still feel the need to be forgiven. We still feel like we must somehow do something to redeem ourselves. We can’t believe that we actually have been forgiven. The issue here is not how to forgive oneself, but needing to accept the fact that we already have been forgiven. Christ has paid for our sins. God has accepted that payment. We are free from guilt. There is nothing left to do or pay.