A new covenant via Jesus’ blood…

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2 Samuel 21:1 Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David inquired of the LORD. The LORD said, “There is bloodguilt on Saul and on his house, because he put the Gibeonites to death.” 2 So the king called the Gibeonites and spoke to them. (Now the Gibeonites were not of the people of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; although the people of Israel had sworn to spare them, Saul had tried to wipe them out in his zeal for the people of Israel and Judah.) 3 David said to the Gibeonites, “What shall I do for you? How shall I make expiation, that you may bless the heritage of the LORD?” 4 The Gibeonites said to him, “It is not a matter of silver or gold between us and Saul or his house; neither is it for us to put anyone to death in Israel.” He said, “What do you say that I should do for you?” 5 They said to the king, “The man who consumed us and planned to destroy us, so that we should have no place in all the territory of Israel— 6 let seven of his sons be handed over to us, and we will impale them before the LORD at Gibeon on the mountain of the LORD.” The king said, “I will hand them over.”

If you keep reading this chapter you will see David did what was asked – gathered seven sons or grandsons of Saul (the former king of Israel) and handed them over to be put to death. This satisfied Israel’s blood debt to the Gibeonites (incurred when King Saul put many Gibeonites to death) and the famine was lifted by God.

It strikes me that God didn’t just tolerate the sacrifice of the sons of Saul, but required it. It was a blood sacrifice to atone for the sins of Saul and Israel more broadly against Gibeon. This kind of blood sacrifice, usually of animals, was customary as a means to receive forgiveness of sins from God. It’s a very “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” kind of principle.

This story makes me forever grateful that, in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, all blood sacrifices are considered paid. We no longer sacrifice animals and such at the altar of the church, but instead receive bread and wine via the Lord’s Supper. Part of the communion liturgy is when I lift the cup of wine and repeat Jesus’ words to his disciples, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sins.”

Lord Jesus thank you for your blood sacrifice for us. Amen.

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