Word@Work, Let God's Word energise your working day!

A Promise Confirmed In Blood (2)

Hebrews 9:19-22
When Moses had proclaimed every command of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people. He said, 'This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.' In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (NIVUK)

Most covenants in Bible times had to be sealed with a sacrifice (Hebrews 9:16-18); blood had to be spilled. Covenants which promised forgiveness all needed a blood sacrifice – the life of the animal was a substitute for the death penalty on the person who had sinned. These verses in Hebrews refer to Exodus 24:4-8, in which young bulls were slaughtered and offered to the Lord as they were burned on the altar. Their blood was kept in bowls. Half of it was put in the altar to symbolise God's acceptance of the offering and His forgiveness for the people's sins.

The other half of the blood was mixed with water, to increase the quantity, and then sprinkled on the newly-written scrolls of the law. That was to symbolise that they were the words of a solemn covenant which the people must obey. If they did not obey, then the curses of the covenant would fall on them: their lives would be forfeited. And to confirm that, Moses sprinkled all the people with the mixture of blood and water from a sponge of soaked wool and hyssop – enough for everybody to be personally marked by a few drops.

The same procedure was used to dedicate the tabernacle and all the furniture and objects used for worship (Leviticus 8:11, 19, 30). It was a picture language in which everything made by human beings to worship God had to be submitted to the blood of the covenant. It was not for people to develop their own worship pattern – God prescribed what they must do and then claimed the worship place as His, along with all its items to be used in fulfilling His covenant.

Under the new covenant, sealed by the blood of Jesus, the pictures in the ancient ritual inaugurated by Moses becomes very personal to us. 1 Peter 1:2 says, "[You] have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood. Grace and peace be yours in abundance." When we put our faith in Jesus Christ we were 'sprinkled with his blood': that is, He made us holy to be specially set apart for His own use. The blood, by which our sins are forgiven, also marks us out as belonging to Him. Under the covenant of grace we have peace with God and all that we need to please Him. To know we are forgiven is very precious: and it is news we must not keep to ourselves (Matthew 28:18-20). To know that we have been set aside to worship and serve Him is awesome: we must ask Him how He wants us to fulfil our part of His new covenant.

Sovereign and Holy Lord. Thank You for setting me apart from the world to worship You and to serve You in whatever way You shall choose. Forgive me when I assume that I can please You in whatever way I want, rather than submitting myself to You. Please show me the preciousness of being sprinkled with the blood of Jesus, being special for You to use, and being forgiven so that I can work with You in confidence. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Bible Book: 

© Dr Paul Adams