There Must Be Blood
Preach audio here.
We’re blessed to live in a time and place where we have a lot of freedom to choose where we study and work, who we marry, etc. This is good but increases pressure on us: we have to be acceptable to get the course / job / partner we want. Social media accentuates this, acceptance (of friend requests, liking photos, etc.) is at the heart of it. If this is how we relate to one another, how does God treat us?
Exodus 24 shows us the basis of any person’s acceptability to God. He is at the top of Mount Sinai, appearing in dread holiness and power (Exodus 19:16-20) so the people are happy for Moses to go up and leave them at a safe distance (20:19) but then God extends the invitation to some of them.
What would we do if God appeared on a nearby mountain in glory and cloud and fire and called us up there? The most typical response of those who are going to encounter God is to cover up to protect themselves: Adam and Eve with leaves (Genesis 3:7), us with whatever our culture values most: respectability, power, beauty...
It’s because of sin that we have to do this: it makes God’s presence dangerous because He cannot abide with imperfection. But He has made a way for us to be successfully covered. Adam and Eve’s sin should have cost them their lives, but we’re told that God covered them with clothes out of animal hides (Genesis 3:21) - an innocent creature died so that the guilty could be covered. This happens in Exodus 24 as well: bulls are sacrificed and half their blood is poured on the people. Then and only then can the invited group go safely up the mountain - not when they’ve promised to obey the Ten Commandments or when they’ve proved that obedience.
Why is blood used this way? Leviticus 17:11 explains that God is happy to use it as a substitute for us. Israel had experienced this with the Passover, painting their doorposts with lamb’s blood which protected them from death (Exodus 12:21-27).
All of this is what Jesus was thinking of the night before He died (Matthew 26:26-29). The blood of Jesus is of infinite value, and it was given as a substitute for you. No sin, no life is so vile that His blood cannot cancel it out and give you God’s favour instead (1 John 1:7, Romans 5:9) If you have asked God to accept Jesus’ death on your behalf, this is what He will do for you. If you are covered by His blood, you are perfectly acceptable in God’s eyes, you climb the mountain to meet with Him confidently (Hebrews 10:19-22).
How to respond to this great news:
- Everyone is looking for acceptance – you only need God’s, and that only comes through Jesus. There’s no need to strive, there’s no battle for acceptance. We forget this so easily, we need to tell ourselves it every day.
- This is the basis of true hope. You can be rejected by everyone in this world but if God has accepted you, you will have joy forevermore.
- Enjoy God. He says, “Come dine with Me: I died so that you could.” (Hebrews 12:18-24)