by Mary Alice McGinnis
Sadly, in today’s day and age, it is almost expected for contracts to be violated. Promises are rarely kept. Pledges are broken without a second thought. We have become calloused to unfaithfulness.
In today's reading, we find the children of Israel out in the desert after being freed from their bondage of slavery in Egypt. God had provided for them repeatedly in miraculous ways. Yet they still struggled to trust Him and frequently grumbled against Him.
God now appears to Moses and verbally gives him the Ten Commandments. Moses tells the people all that God had said. The children of Israel boldly and perhaps naively say, “Everything the Lord has said we will do.” And Moses writes everything down the Lord had said. And he called this the Book of the Covenant.
What exactly is a covenant? Is it a contract? Maybe a promise? How about a pledge?
I like to think of it as a pledge of faithfulness, kind of like a marriage. So maybe this moment in time is God's wedding ceremony with the Israelites. He is asking the Israelites to be His bride, His beloved. He promises to be their faithful God, and they promise to be His beloved people.
The Hebrew word for covenant means cutting. The seriousness of this covenant relationship is profoundly illustrated. It was the custom for two parties entering a covenant to cut an animal in two, and for the two parties to pass between the two pieces. This was to signify that the breaking of the covenant would be like cutting in half the two bound by their covenant. The one violating the covenant would face severe consequences, perhaps even death.
In today reading, the Israelites pledge their allegiance to following the Lord God.
But God already knew they would NOT be faithful to Him.
Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
The price for their unfaithfulness needed to be paid for by the pouring out of the lifeblood of an innocent victim.
We too have been unfaithful. No matter what our best intentions, we too quickly turn our hearts to other lovers. We do not love and trust the Lord our God above all things. We fall far short of loving our neighbor as ourselves.
On the night He was betrayed, in the upper room when He served His disciples the Last Supper, Jesus spoke these words to them:
“Drink from it, all of you. This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:28)
All the way back at the time of the Exodus, God was already thinking about US. All the stories from the Old Testament - all the rituals they performed, all the prophecies - ALL OF IT points to Jesus, the one who paid our ransom with His innocent blood.
"How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!" (Hebrews 9:14)
Jesus, I know I am guilty. I have wandered away and been unfaithful to You time and time again.
I lift my heart in grateful praise to You now as I see this truth once again – You gave Your life to give me life in You forever!
How Can it Be - by Laura Daigle