“And this shall be a statute forever for you, that atonement may be made for the people of Israel once in the year because of all their sins." And Moses did as the LORD commanded him.
The regulations for the Day of Atonement were strict and demanding. You can quickly see that the priests worked hard, and the high priest was tasked with huge responsibility to make sure that God’s requirements for this vital yearly sacrifice were kept fully. At issue was the spiritual health and forgiveness of the entire nation. Obedience to this was crucial for God’s blessing and for spiritual progress to develop. God could continue His relationship with the struggling nation if they would offer the sacrifices for atonement of all their sins for that year.
But the levitical system was limited. A sacrifice for this event was made every year. In addition to that untold sacrifices for sin and guilt offerings were made day after day throughout the year. The altar was a bloody place that was constantly busy with the work of repentance, confession, sacrifice, and commitment.
This one day of the year all that halted for one special set of sacrifices that was meant to atone for all the sins of all the people. It was a day to celebrate fellowship with God through His willingness to forgive. As such, it became the high point of the Jewish Year, the start of a new year for the nation with God. Our atonement gives us a fresh start as well, only the affect is for a lifetime and not just the next twelve months. For that I am truly thankful.
I thank You for being the final, complete, last sacrifice for sin. I can do nothing or offer nothing beyond what You have done. I trust in Your forgiveness and I experience it. Of all the things that I have right now for which to be thankful, this is the most significant.