What is Yom Kippur?

untitled_artwork-2Today is the Jewish observance of Yom Kippur, the Old Testament Day of Atonement.

I’ve never really thought much about Yom Kippur. I’ve studied it, of course, and noted it on the calendar, but it’s never been vital in my life.

After all, Jesus is the once and for all sacrifice for sin. He is the only way of forgiveness and salvation. For this reason, the Day of Atonement should not figure prominently for non-Jewish Christians.

But, with what’s happening in America, a day of grieving, mourning, and certainly repentance seem very relevant. The Apostle James called the church to grieve and mourn because of their sin (James 4:8).

We read about the Day of Atonement in Leviticus 16. Most of Israel’s religious days were days of feasting, remembrance, and celebration. The Day of Atonement was a day of fasting and repentance.

We need that kind of day in America, a day in which we turn from our wicked ways and seek God with all our hearts.

What would that day look like?

First, it would be a day to think and reassess.

We need times to think about who we are, where we’re going, and what the consequences of our decisions will be.

In Leviticus the Day of Atonement was a day for that kind of thinking and considering. Fasting naturally makes us think in those terms.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our next president would call us to repentance and faith, proclaiming a fast over the land?

Second, Yom Kippur should be a day of grieving and mourning over sin.

America has so much to grieve over. We worship the God of sex, power, and money. These gods are destroying our land, corrupting our young people, and propelling us toward a day of judgment.

Third, Yom Kippur is a day to cry out for the mercy of God. We desperately need God and His mercy.

Why not take the occasion of Israel’s observance of Yom Kippur and turn it into a time of looking longingly to God for His blessings and His mercy?