Leviticus | “The Atonement: Aroma of Sacrifice”

By Elaine Knudtson

Painting by Mindi Oaten

“I am the LORD.  If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, I will send you rain in its seasons, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees of the field their fruit. . . I will grant peace in the land, and you will lie down and no one will make you afraid.” (Leviticus 26:2)

Leviticus outlines the regulations for worship and the duties of the priests in the tabernacle. The LORD demands perfection, purity, and holiness.  Atonement for sins is made by the priests, through the blood of sacrifice and the keeping of the law.  Moses reminds the people of the blessings that follow those who remain faithful and warns of the curse that follows the rejection of the law.  Despite the obstacles, the LORD desires a relationship with his people.

“Into Your Presence

What shall I give in exchange for my sin?

I envy the intimacy of Eden.

Now the path is empty, and the garden is a wilderness.

Priests, rituals, feasts, and sacrifice are no substitute

For the warmth of your touch or the

Lyricism of your voice as you whisper my name.

The law heaps guilt upon guilt, exposing imperfection.

Still, I set my face towards the promised land,

And reach for the grace sprinkled with the blood of sacrifice.

The aroma of your presence purifies my heart.

Wash my sin.

Remove the barrier that keeps me from you.

Lay your hands on my head and call me “Beloved.”


(The above is part of a collaboration between Mindi Oaten and Elaine Knudtson in God’s Garden of Grace. It is a creative response to the scriptures. https://www.mindioaten.com/blogs/mindi-oaten-art-blog)

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Paul was a preacher and teacher until he retired in 2015. He continues to write and listen to what God is saying to him in the ordinary and extraordinary things of life. Elaine was a public school teacher and administrator until she retired in 2018. She is using her retirement to reflect on God's work in her life and to share insights with her family and friends.

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