When Moses went and told the people all the LORD‘s words and laws, they responded with one voice, “Everything the LORD has said we will do.” Moses then wrote down everything the LORD had said. He got up early the next morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain and set up twelve stone pillars representing the twelve tribes of Israel. Then he sent young Israelite men, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as fellowship offerings to the LORD. Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and the other half he sprinkled on the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the LORD has said; we will obey.” 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.” Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear as the sky itself. But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.
The Beauty of the Sacrifice
As you envision the scene recorded in these verses from Exodus, do you think “Ew? All that blood!” There is blood everywhere. Blood from the sacrificed bulls. Blood poured on the altar. Blood sprinkled on the people. It is gross, right? Not if we understand it. Not if we know that the blood of sacrificed animals sealed the covenant relationship between God and his people.
God had commanded many things and in one of Israel’s better moments, they exclaimed, “we will do everything…” They promised to worship as God said, sacrifice as he wished, and live in his holiness. It was a beautiful moment for seventy-four leaders who saw God and ate and drank with him.
So which one is it: beautiful or gross? When we understand that sacrifice establishes the relationship with God where we see him and eat with him, then it is a beautiful thing. When we understand that Jesus is the last and perfect sacrifice that brings us to God, it is not only beautiful, it is also precious. And when we understand that Jesus is really present with us, and we receive his body and blood in the Sacrament of Holy Communion, we are privileged. We see God and we eat and drink with him.
What a beautiful sacrifice Jesus made for us! What a precious covenant God gave to us!
Lord, we thank you for your sacrifice on our behalf. We are privileged to stand in your presence and worship you. Amen.
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