SCRIPTURE READING: Numbers 15
There is a distinction made here between intentional and unintentional sin. Both are still sin, but the consequences are different. When a man sins unintentionally, he can bring an offering or sacrifice to the LORD for atonement. However, when a man is defiant and sins intentionally, there is no atonement for him. He is to be taken outside the camp and killed.
I think an important key to this passage is verses 30-31.
But the person who does anything defiantly, whether he is native or an alien, that one is blaspheming the LORD; and that person shall be cut off from among his people. Because he has despised the word of the LORD and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt will be on him.
Let's look at what this person is doing. He is doing something defiantly and he has despised God's commands. The Hebrew word translated "defiantly" is a word that means "to raise, lift up, exalt oneself." The Hebrew word translated "despised" means "to hold in contempt, disdain." The problem, in essence, is the sin of pride.
When someone does that, he is blaspheming the LORD. Blasphemy is an attitude of heart. It is pride in self and defiance toward God and His commands. Whenever someone has contempt in his heart for God, he is committing the sin of blasphemy. It's a very serious sin and invites God's wrath.
God is not to be taken lightly. Our sins cannot be brushed off or ignored. God has graciously provided a means of atonement for us through Jesus. But we dare not disdain God's word or have an attitude of contempt toward God.
You might enjoy reading David's reflection in Psalm 32 .
Do I ever disdain God's word or act in defiance toward God? What about little things? Breaking the "little" rules? Making excuses for my wrong behavior and expecting God to overlook it? Refusing to admit when I'm wrong? These are indications of pride in my heart.
Lord, you are a holy and righteous God who cannot tolerate sin. Yet you do not require offerings and sacrifices of me, rather a heart of humility. Thank you for providing atonement for me through Jesus. Guard my heart against pride, and let me delight in obeying you. Amen.