Tag Archives: blame

Leviticus 15-18; Acts 9

To be honest, I never thought much about the word scapegoat until today.

“Aaron will present his own bull as a sin offering to purify himself and his family, making them right with the Lord.Then he must take the two male goats and present them to the Lord at the entrance of the Tabernacle. He is to cast sacred lots to determine which goat will be reserved as an offering to the Lord and which will carry the sins of the people to the wilderness of Azazel. Aaron will then present as a sin offering the goat chosen by lot for the Lord. 10 The other goat, the scapegoat chosen by lot to be sent away, will be kept alive, standing before the Lord. When it is sent away to Azazel in the wilderness, the people will be purified and made right with the Lord … 21 He will lay both of his hands on the goat’s head and confess over it all the wickedness, rebellion, and sins of the people of Israel. In this way, he will transfer the people’s sins to the head of the goat. Then a man specially chosen for the task will drive the goat into the wilderness. 22 As the goat goes into the wilderness, it will carry all the people’s sins upon itself into a desolate land. (Leviticus 16:6-10; 21-22 NLT).

I thought about how people choose another to be the scapegoat in communities and circumstances, banishing and blaming someone.

Saul, pre-Paul, was a hater and hunter of Christians, but he had a transforming encounter with the Lord (I am particularly moved by his blindness and then vision not only restored but with added Kingdom focus) that changed him, igniting him with passion.

21 All who heard him were amazed. “Isn’t this the same man who caused such devastation among Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem?” they asked. “And didn’t he come here to arrest them and take them in chains to the leading priests?” (Acts 9:21, NLT)

Jesus has the power to change everything and equip us for tasks we never imagined. He desires change in us, turning from former ways, to follow him with whole hearts. His easy yoke. His burden, light. Free. New.

Father God, I’m grateful when you look at me, you see my heart. You know the plans you have for me. You sing over me. Jesus took the sin of the world so that I can be a daughter. When I look at what my life was before Christ, I am amazed at your transforming work. Thank you that when I look up at the stars at night, I can actually see them, but even more, that you have given me a Kingdom focus. I pray I always keep my eyes fixed on you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Acts, Bible in a year reading plan, Leviticus, New Testament, Old Testament

1 Samuel 18; Romans 16; Lamentations 3; Psalm 34

I have two girls. They bicker. They tattletale, despite years of encouraging them to handle issues between each other first. And their response is always the result of someone else’s action.

“You can’t control what someone else does. You can’t blame them for your response. You are responsible for you,” I remind. Regardless of who starts what. That’s the short version.

That lesson made sense to me, until Saul–and a mood hand-delivered from God.

On a day when everyone celebrated, he was wounded by the frolic-song of women. Words can hurt, especially when intentions are (mis)interpreted by insecurity. I get all this. But I stopped cold at the next line:

The very next day a tormenting spirit from God overwhelmed Saul, and he began to rave in his house like a madman. 1 Samuel 18:10 (NLT)

The next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully upon Saul … (NIV)

… an ugly mood was sent by God to afflict Saul … (The Message)

Rising above the tease of a sibling vs being overwhelmed by a spirit from God seem two ends of a spectrum, but  regardless of the purpose (which we may never know) or the source (be it from our own interpretation of events or divine intervention) of a trial–aren’t we still responsible for us? Isn’t God still interested in our response whether we are under blessing or affliction?

Reading through Lamentations 3 and Psalm 34, I see the cause and I see the response.

 19-21I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,

   the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed.
I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—
the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there’s one other thing I remember,
and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:

 22-24God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
He’s all I’ve got left. Lamentations 3:19-24 (The Message)

In Lamentations, peering out from the load dumped down from the verse one and on, I read this:

28-30When life is heavy and hard to take,
go off by yourself. Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions:
Wait for hope to appear.
Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face.
The “worst” is never the worst.

And in Psalm 34,

8 Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—
how good God is.
Blessed are you who run to him.

Lord, in Job I read how you permitted the pain in his life. And in Hannah’s prayer, I am reminded again the earth is yours and you set it in order. All throughout scriptures you reveal, explain and prepare us for trials and troubles … and all throughout scripture is your assurance you are with us, you are good and you love us. Lord, in blessings or in troubles and trials, my hope and desire is to turn to you and bless your name. Amen.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 1 Samuel, 66 Books, Lamentations, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Old Testament, Psalms

Genesis 16, Nehemiah 5, Matthew 15, Acts 15

Scripture

“You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” Genesis 16:13 (NIV)

Observation

heart (blame)

You are the God who sees me … an excerpt of Hagar’s conversation with an angel in the desert as she flees Abram and Sarai. (Sarai blames God because she can’t have children; then blames Abram for getting Hagar pregnant after she told him to take Hagar as a wife. It’s easy to blame when things don’t go as imagined.)

In Nehemiah, he wants God to remember him and all that he had done. (Economic crisis and complaints against their own countrymen who took advantage of the poor. Doesn’t complaining seem justified under the circumstances?)

In Matthew, Jesus explains that the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart. (The Pharisees looked for anything out of place and criticized the disciples for breaking traditions. Pride often gets in the way.)

And in Acts (15:8), Peter says, “God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did us.” (There was some disagreement on salvation of men who weren’t circumcised. That’s the way it is.)

Application

I noticed a recurrence of blame and criticism throughout these chapters. All kinds of fault finding and finger pointing speaking to me. A bit convicting. So I tried to focus on something else: heart.  I am not surprised that while I looked for a connection that I could try to distance myself from, God still finds me, sees me, speaks to me.  (Oh, the words I’ve spoken, thoughts I’ve had, and blame I’ve placed on others–these things taking root in my own heart. Sometimes things don’t go my way, or seem completely unfair, or attack my pride, or challenge my thinking.)

Prayer

Father, you are the God who sees me. You see into my heart and know my innermost thoughts. There is no hiding from you. (Lord, when I’m tempted to blame others for my unhappiness, help me to stop short of it. Please bring it to my attention, so that I can choose forgiveness or hold myself accountable. Help me to stop any bitterness from taking root in me.)

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under Genesis, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Old Testament