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The Buck Stops With You

Leviticus 16:6-7 &15a
“Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering for himself and shall make atonement for himself and for his house. Then he shall take the two goats and set them before the LORD at the entrance of the tent of meeting. … Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering that is for the people.”

As a parent of an eight-year-old and a four-year-old who don’t need coffee or breakfast or ten minutes of quiet-time to ready themselves in the morning, who effectively bounce out of bed at the break of dawn and don’t stop bouncing until we’ve tucked them back in bed at night (even still I hear them bouncing in their rooms), who seem to need constant attention and constant refereeing and constant stimulation throughout the day, it’s easy for me rationalize not having time for quiet reflection in the Word. But it isn’t so much that I can’t find the time; rather, it’s that I can’t find a convenient time that doesn’t add to the hassle of the day. I could set my alarm an hour earlier and wake up before the kids, but that requires a sacrifice of rest that I’m often too lazy or too selfish to make.

Friend, this is more a principle than a rule, but let’s not take lightly the order in which God gives these joint commissions to Aaron here in Leviticus 16. Note which comes first. Effectively, if a preacher hasn’t preached to himself before leading a congregation, if he hasn’t reformed his own ways under the conviction of the Spirit, then he hasn’t preached well—even if thousands tune in every day and hang on his every word. And if writers haven’t held up their hands to Heaven asking for transformative mercy, consciously allowing God to renew their minds and remove any lingering impediments of vice, then they haven’t written well—even if their books are preserved for generations and heralded by adoring readers. And if parents haven’t humbled themselves before God, realizing their own bent toward prodigality and discontentment and ingratitude, then the lessons they teach their kids haven’t been delivered well—even if those kids heed the lectures and grow up to change the world.

Today, let’s consecrate ourselves to God first. Lest we waste the day pulling out splinters from our neighbors’ eyes and neglecting the logs in our own.