When we started our reading in Deuteronomy a couple of days ago, we mentioned how this Book could be looked at as a covenant renewal document. Moses is about to die, and Israel is about to be led by Joshua across the Jordan River into the Promised Land of Canaan. Deuteronomy is filled with references to the Mosaic Covenant which the LORD entered into with His people at Mt. Sinai almost 40 years before. Moses exhorts his fellow Jews to covenant faithfulness over and over again. In Deut. 26:18 we read these words: “And the LORD has declared this day that you are His people, His treasured possession as He promised, and that you are to keep all His commands.” These words are very similar to what the LORD said to Israel at the foot of Mt.Sinai in Ex. 19:5.
The LORD has always dealt with His people on a covenantal basis, whether through Noah, Abraham, Moses, David or Jesus Christ. He has always entered into a bond of faithfulness unto death. Whenever He ratifies a new stage of His covenant with His people in Old Testament times, an animal is sacrificed (with the exception with David in 2Samuel 7). This denotes that a vow of faithfulness unto death is being made and it also highlights what will happen to the unfaithful covenant partner. For example, see Genesis 15:12-21 for the formal inauguration of the Abrahamic Covenant and Exodus 24 for the formal inauguration of the Mosaic Covenant. In both cases, the sacrifice of an animal is involved in the confirmation of the covenant that the Lord is making with His people. Even with Noah (Gen. 8:20-9:17), animal sacrifice is involved as God enters into a covenant with Noah and his descendants.
It should not surprise us that when God inaugurates the New Covenant with us, that Jesus Christ, the ultimate Lamb of God, uses these words in the Last Supper recorded in Luke 22:20 – “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” God has always been faithful to His side of the covenant. In addition, in Christ Jesus, God has become a man and has totally fulfilled our side of the covenant. In the New Covenant, inaugurated by Christ’s death on the cross, we receive forgiveness of our sins and we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit which enables us to live in faithfulness to God and in victory over the power of sin, Satan, death and a godless world system.
Let us live faithfully to our Covenant Lord and Bridegroom, Jesus, and let us live in faithfulness to our spouse, children, Christian brothers and sisters and neighbors. This is our reasonable act of worship and service to God’s great love toward us in Christ Jesus, our LORD. In Christ’s love and service. Pastor John