Bringing Our Sins Before God

Yael Eckstein  |  June 1, 2023

Man praying at the Western Wall

He said to Aaron, “Take a bull calf for your sin offering and a ram for your burnt offering, both without defect, and present them before the LORD.” — Leviticus 9:2

As we celebrate the men in our lives this month, enjoy these devotions looking at the defining characteristics of godliness that we can glean from the biblical men of faith — and how we can pass on those values to our children.

There are obviously many unique things about the Bible. Obviously, the primary distinction is that the Bible is the Word of God. But beyond this obvious and all-important fact, there is one characteristic that we may not think of as a positive, but to me it is one of the most inspiring things about the Bible.

Simply put, the Bible doesn’t skim over the sins and errors of even the greatest people in the book. Whether it’s David’s behavior with Bathsheba or the nation of Israel disobeying God by turning to idolatry, the Bible is notable in that it never shies away from the faults of Israel, neither its leaders nor the people.

This is notable because the writings that remain from the Ancient Near East are filled with praise for the authors’ nations and kings. Stories about sins and misbehavior on the part of the heroes and leaders of the nation written about are unheard of. And I find this one of the Bible’s most inspiring features.

Bringing Our Sins Before God

Let me give you an example to explain what I mean. The Book of Leviticus chapter 9 describes how Aaron and his sons, the priests, inaugurated the sacrificial service in the Tabernacle. In the second verse Moses told Aaron to bring the very first offering: “Take a bull calf for your sin offering and a ram for your burnt offering, both without defect, and present them before the LORD” (Leviticus 9:2).

Why did Aaron need to begin with a sin offering? And why is it called “your sin offering”? The Jewish sages explain that Aaron had to bring a sin offering to atone for his role in the making of the golden calf. (See Exodus 32:1-6.) Think about that. As his first offering as High Priest, Aaron is reminded of his own worst mistake. What a powerful message for all the children of Israel!

So many people of faith feel burdened by their past sins. We often feel unworthy of drawing close to God. God taught Aaron, and us, that we draw close to Him by embracing our errors and growing from them. Like Aaron, our first step in worshipping God, our first offering, must be acknowledgement of our mistakes and bringing our sins before God in a spirit of atonement and repentance.

Your Turn:

Are there things you’ve done that you’ve swept under the rug? Bring this baggage to God in the spirit of Aaron’s “sin offering.” You’ll be closer to God than ever before.