Monday, August 5, 2013

The Sacrifice of Praise

Bobservations Column
by Pastor Bob Lawrenz

In the Old Testament, God made seven covenants with His people, Israel. Each one offered provision, protection, and precious promises to the Israelites. The covenants covered everything from their offspring, to their land, and even to their future as a nation. No less than seven times we find these words in the Jewish texts: “…they shall be my people; and I will be their God” almost verbatim. Curious to me is the verb tense used: they shall be my people; I will be their God. It indicates a yet future time when the relation between the Israelites and God will be finalized and complete.

They acknowledged God; worshiped Him; offered sacrifices to Him; they followed the prescribed rituals and visited Jerusalem three times each year during the holiday’s (when they weren’t in captivity). Their lips spoke of Him, but their hearts were far from Him.

An eighth covenant was predicted in Jeremiah 29:31, and His Word would be written in the hearts of the Jews rather than on tablets of stone. Through the purging of their hearts, the people would never leave Him.

It’s impossible to turn our own hearts consistently to the Lord; how will God turn a whole nation to Himself? Honestly, I am clueless… except for the words of Jesus: “This is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me…This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you.”

Christians are as prone to wander as the Israelites. Yet we have this covenant in Jesus’ blood to draw us to Him, when we draw from its well. The blood of bullocks and goats is not wanted by God. He tells Believers that there is no more blood sacrifice to be made, because God’s Only Son has been sacrificed for us. That’s how He changes us. That’s how He will change a whole nation. When He reveals Himself to them, they will ask, “Where did you get these wounds?” Then, they shall know. Then shall they see and hear their scriptures in spirit and in truth. He will at last be their God, and they will be His people. Then shall the only remaining sacrifice be made: A sacrifice of praise!









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