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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Astonishment (02/02/12)

TITLE: The Scapegoat
By Shanta Richard


It was the Day of Atonement- the tenth day of the seventh month of the Jewish calendar - the day the High Priest entered the Most Holy Place to make atonement for the sins of himself and for the children of Israel. There were two important events in this ritual - turning away the wrath of God and removing the sins of the people.

Two goats were brought to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. Lots were cast and one goat was selected to be sacrificed on the altar whereby the wrath of God would be turned away, and the other became the scapegoat whereby the sins were removed from the people and placed on it. The first goat was taken into the Tent, and sacrificed. Its blood was sprinkled on the altar. The priest then came out and placed his hands on the head of the scapegoat and confessed the sins of the people on it. The goat was then led away and driven into the desert.

I wonder what the scapegoat thought when the goatherd drove him into the desert. Was he thankful to be free and not sacrificed? Or was he confused and lost in the unfamiliar place trying to figure out how to get to his beloved mountain home? As night approached and strange, fierce, snarling creatures lurked in the shadows was he scared? Did it astonish him that his goatherd was nowhere to be seen?

He was alone and had to fend for himself. He knew flight was impossible. His hooves were made to scale the rocks, not to run on sand. If he froze, the horrible animals with their flaming eyes and bared fangs would tear him to pieces. The only option left for him was to fight, as best as he could. So he raised his head, pushed out his chest, stamped the ground with his fore leg and snorted as fiercely as he could. He would not win for he bore the sins of the people and had to pay the price – his broken body and crimson blood would stain the desert sand.

This was a sacrifice that had to be repeated year after year until the ultimate sacrifice of the Lamb of God would be made on a green hill upon a rugged cross. Jesus knew about the price He would have to pay – the agony and shame of the death on the cross. Yet, I wonder if He was just as astonished as that scapegoat, when God, His father did not answer His heart-rending cry,
“My God, My God why hast Thou forsaken me?”

I remember the day of my orientation on my first job as a nurse. I followed my Nurse Supervisor as she took me around the hospital. Finally she took me on a tour of my ward – the nursing station, treatment room, medication room, store room and then the patients’ lounge where I met most of my patients. I had imagined that my patients would to be sick and in bed, weak and frail and in pain, and that I would be their tender, loving ministering angel. Well, I had forgotten that this was the secure ward in the Psychiatric Center. The patients in the room glared at me and I felt exactly like that scapegoat in the desert. I was so astonished at my predicament that, since fight and flight was out of the question, I simply froze. In desperation I cried out to God for help.

It was then that I heard a calm and gentle voice whispering, “I, the Lord, thy God will hold thy right hand saying unto thee, ‘Fear not, I will help thee.’ Warmth like a ray of sunlight surrounded me as my tension slowly melted and slipped away like the dew drops on the maple leaves.

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This article has been read 315 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Mildred Sheldon02/10/12
I truly enjoyed this article. It brought back memories of feeling like that Scapegoat, and crying out to God for help. Thank you and God bless.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/10/12
This was really interested. At first I thought it might just be a technical description and almost gazed over it. I am so glad I kept reading. The description of the scapegoat was so vivid. Maybe if you started with that then explained the technicalities it would grab more people. The ending was great. I really liked the personal reflection. Having been both a nurse and a patient, I really could empathize with the young nurse. Really nice job.
C D Swanson 02/11/12
This was so good. Clever way of presenting the topic. Nice job. God Bless~
Cynthia Carter02/12/12
You really did a great job on this one. I love the old testament and have read about the scapgoat many times. I never thought about the free one dying. I always thought about the slain one being Jesus. I know I will think about this for weeks to come. That is what a great writer does for their reader.
Verna Mull 02/12/12
REally some different thoughts on the scapegoat, but well written.
Darlene Casino 02/13/12
What a wonderful depiction of a 'scapegoat'. You clearly presented the details of the sacrifice and that was good.But the way you transitioned into your nursing experience and yourself as a scapegoat really brought it all together. I really enjoyed your article...