04 April 2009

From the Evangelist’s Desk

Scapegoat?.

Ever felt like one? A scapegoat I mean. Have you felt that you have taken the blame and punishment for something that wasn?t your fault, or in fact had absolutely nothing to do with you? Ever wonder where the term ?Scapegoat? came from? Well read on.
Leviticus 16:
8 He is to cast lots for the two goats?one lot for the LORD and the other for the scapegoat.

10 But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD to be used for making atonement by sending it into the desert as a scapegoat.

26 “The man who releases the goat as a scapegoat must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water; afterward he may come into the camp.

So let?s look at a Bible commentary taken from the web, www.gotquestions.org/Book-of-Leviticus.html.
?Author: Moses was the author of the Book of Leviticus.

Date of Writing: The Book of Leviticus was written between 1440 and 1400 B.C.?.

So we have had Scapegoats around for almost 3500 years. I think I prefer Moses day, when a goat was taken and had hands placed on it, expressing the sins of those in need and then the goat was led out into the dessert and set free.  Saves all that, ?Why me?? when we are used as the modern day scapegoat.

So when did we change from the physical scapegoat to the metaphorical scapegoat? When did the human race decide that within the team, one would carry the can for the others so that all did not suffer?

It is said, ?In any case, “scapegoat” entered the English language with Tyndale’s translation of the Bible in 1530, and by the early 19th century was being used in a secular sense to describe anyone who is blamed for the sins or faults of another. The irony here is that in the original ceremony the “scapegoat” was set free without punishment, while modern “scapegoats” endure all the punishment deserved by others.?

As Christians we may often be seen as an easy target, and used as a modern day scapegoat, because people view us as soft, and an easy touch. When we decide to fight back, I am often surprised when the originator of the scenario recites one piece of Scripture to me by saying, ?I thought that you were supposed to turn the other cheek??
What does that tell you? Turn the other cheek, does that mean we are supposed to take the slap on the cheek and turn our face around as say, please do it again? I think not, I would suggest that it means we are not to look to get even with the person or persons concerned. We?re not to look at ?decking them?, but we are to try and forgive that person or persons. Remember God will be the final judge.

Modern society is always looking for someone to blame, we are now living in a blame culture, or so I am led to believe.  One of the best examples of scapegoats being used I would suggest is within Politics, where a minister is set up and shot for something that a group or team were involved with, but they need someone to ?carry the can?. Again the scapegoat, not released into the dessert, well not as far as we are aware. But the scapegoat is fed to the wolves, that being us, via the media until our thirst for blood is fulfilled.

Again the Bible tells us not to drink the blood of any animal, but as a race aren?t we top of the tree in wishing to drink the metaphorical blood of others to quench our thirst for vengeance and retribution, where as an individual or a nation, we feel we have been wronged?

This Lent, spend some time thinking of what we could deem as our ultimate scapegoat, although we know Him better as the Sacrificial Lamb. We could also think of Him as our personal Scapegoat, where He has told us that we can lay our hands on Him, expressing our sins and asking for Him to intercede for us with God who is in Heaven, and he will accept all our sins, yes every one of them on our behalf and ensure that we are forgiven. But instead of being led out into the dessert and being set free, He was led to a cross and cruelly hung on a tree.

Don?t think lightly of laying your hands on the scapegoat. ?Well that?s my confession, so I can start all over again?. Think hard and long about the sin before you mentally release the scapegoat into your dessert.

Keep well and my God through Christ Our Saviour keep you all safe and well this Easter Tide.

© Rick Hayes