Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Cor. 15:58


Monday, February 4, 2013

Meet the Scapegoat by Rebecca Aarup (Day 35/365)

Meet the Scapegoat

Reading: Leviticus 16-18

Key Point: Being the Scapegoat isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Key Verse:  “The goat chosen to be the scapegoat will be presented to the Lord alive. When it is sent away into the wilderness, it will make atonement for the people.” Leviticus 16:10

Thoughts: Aaron was a godly priest, though he certainly had his setbacks (uh, need a golden calf anyone?). Apparently his two sons, Nadab and Abihu, chose to hang on to their daddy’s example of idolatry rather than his example of worshipping the one True God (sometimes our mistakes come back to haunt us).  

In Leviticus 10, we read about the sin which caused Nadab and Abihu to literally be smoked off the planet by a just and holy God. Fast forward to chapter 16 and now Aaron is instructed on how to make atonement for their sins, as well as the sins of the Israelites.

For the most part I think we’re used to hearing the term “Scapegoat” in a negative light, usually we say someone is a scapegoat when they take the blame for someone else, otherwise known as being the fall guy. We don’t really want to be the scapegoat, do we? But in Leviticus 16:10 we see the true definition of a scapegoat.

Imagine you’re a goat, maybe your name is Billy (sorry, couldn’t help it), and you’re being led to the sacrificial altar of the high priest alongside your brother Jimmy Goat. You hear the people talking, discussing which one of you will be killed and which one will be spared. Nervously your heart begins to race, is today the day you get your throat slashed?

The lot has been cast and the verdict is in. Your beloved brother Jimmy gets sent to slaughter while you live to see another sunset. And yet, for some reason you’re getting a lot of attention for not being the sacrifice this time around. Turns out, you are a sacrifice too; you’re the sacrifice who gets to live. You are presented to the Lord as a living sacrifice (sound familiar?).  Your brother died in your place, and you get to live and tell everyone else about it. You’re not the fall guy; you’re the “goat who is departed” (Hebrew rendering of scapegoat).

Fast forward to Romans 12:1, “I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will accept. When you think of what He has done for you, is this too much to ask?” In other words, you are the scapegoat, and as such, you are acceptable to God. The only thing that makes you acceptable is His Son, the one who took the fall for you when He was sacrificed on the cross. Jesus was your scapegoat (the fall guy) and you are the scapegoat (the one who was departed) because, by the skin of your teeth, you have escaped death and passed into life.

You know, I think I like being the scapegoat. Now, as such, I must live up to my high calling as a living sacrifice. Let’s embrace our calling with gratitude, after all, “When you think of what He has done for you, is this too much to ask?” Let’s show the world what being a scapegoat really means.

Next reading: Leviticus 19-21

Rebecca Aarup is an author and freelance writer. She is a health columnist for The Christian Online Magazine, creater of S.E.R.V.A.N.T. Sisters online women’s ministry, and has written devotionals/studies/articles for a variety of publications including The Secret Place and Mustard Seed Ministries. She just released a new Bible Study The Word: Six Lessons from Psalm 119 which is available as a free download on her website or in print form from Amazon. Beyond writing, Rebecca is a wife, home-schooling mom, and Bible student at Liberty University. She lives in Glendale, Az with her husband Chris and 5 year old, Samantha. You can read more from Rebecca by subscribing to her blog (it’s free) and following her on twitter and facebook.


  1. Interesting. I've never thought of a scapegoat like that quite before. Very enlightening.

  2. Neither had I until I started studying the passage. Really interesting stuff here for sure, I especially love seeing how these old testament passages fit so well with the new testament. Nothing is an accident in Gods word!