Exodus 24:3-8. 3 Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.” 4 And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 And he sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the Lord. 6 And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. 7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” 8 And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
Here is the confirmation of the covenant. The formal ceremony whereby the people swear their loyalty to their king and promise to do everything the king asks. The covenant made between God and his people here at Mount Sinai was a covenant signed in blood. Things just got very real very fast. Here’s what’s happening:
1. God has spoken the covenant to the people through Moses the mediator.
2. The people verbally confirm that they will do everything that God asks of them – “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.”
3. Moses throws blood everywhere.
This is probably a little bit different than the last contract you signed. I’m hoping no blood was shed.
Why blood? Why is blood thrown on the altar? Why is blood thrown on the people?
Blood represents life and death. Both parties are agreeing that if they violate this covenant “may my blood be shed.” Blood on the altar – that’s God. Blood on the people – that’s the people. Both are putting their lives on the line here. The blood being thrown reminds them of the fate that awaits the one who breaks the covenant.
This is a ritual that vividly teaches the nation about the wrath of God. Violating a covenant with Yahweh will result in death. Just like it did in the garden of God, so too at the mountain of God. To break the covenant is to deserve to die.
But there’s also a vivid picture of the mercy of God here. Who’s blood is getting thrown around? It’s the blood of the sacrifice. The blood of the burnt offering. The blood of the lamb. Not the blood of the people. And not the blood of God.
But here’s the twist – at the cross of Jesus the blood of the people was shed, AND the blood of God was shed.
The people covered in blood – that’s Jesus. The representative of Israel and thus all of humanity who deserved death, dying there in our place.
God’s altar covered in blood – that’s Jesus. The holy and righteous God who allowed himself to die in the place of sinners like you and me. The rock stricken in our place.
Israel’s failure is humanity’s failure. But Jesus offered himself in our place. In the Garden of Gethsemane he alone cried out “all that the Lord has spoken I will do and I will be obedient.” And he did it. He actually accomplished all that God required of us. Love God perfectly, love others perfectly, submit perfectly and all from a perfect heart.
The sprinkled blood shows that this covenant is a matter of life and death. Our life and death and God’s life and death. His life demands our perfection and his death accomplishes our perfection.
How do we know? Because Jesus only died once.
Hebrews 10:10. And by that will [of God] we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Superman saves the world all the time. Jesus only had to do it once for all time.
Jesus has offered himself once for all. What happened at Sinai in Exodus 24 would happen over and over again for 1500 years. But no more. Because of our union with Christ and his sacrifice we have been sanctified through his offering once for all.
What a glorious truth. The blood sacrifice of Jesus means that our sanctification, our holiness, our righteousness, our perfection is secured. Now we can all cry out to God “all that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” And we can say it without hypocrisy. Even when we blow it. Even when we sin again and again, we can still run back to the mountain of God with the confidence of a heart sprinkled clean from a conscience that would seek to condemn us.
Jesus’ blood has made our hearts clean even when we’re dirty. That’s good news.
Hebrews 10:19-22. 19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
“To live is Christ” means that our hearts have been sprinkled clean with the life blood of Jesus. What grace. What confidence to stand before God and cry out “all that the Lord has spoken we will do.” Because Jesus our Savior has already done it.