I’m so thankful that Jesus came and put an end to all the rituals ….. sacrifices ….. and laws ….. that the people had to live by in the Old Testament! But He didn’t come to abolish the law ….. He came to fulfil it. Because He shed His blood ….. I don’t have to take an animal to Church for the priest to kill on my behalf. Because ….. when He died on the Cross ….. the veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom ….. I can now enter into God’s presence freely and boldly. And because He is now interceding for me continually ….. I don’t have to obey all those laws to be saved. He summed them all up in 2 laws. ‘Love God with all your heart ….. soul ….. mind and strength. And love your neighbour as yourself.’
You don’t have to look too far to realise God is a God of detail ….. colour ….. and design. The Tabernacle of Moses is a wonderful example of this. God gave Moses a blueprint with exact measurements ….. materials ….. colours ….. and order. He also gave certain people the ability to make each item according to His specifications. Everything was symbolic and pointed to Jesus. Next time you are out in nature ….. take a moment to appreciate the designer!
Having been in level 3 lockdown for the last 3 days ….. we are so happy to be ‘set free’ again today! But can you imagine what it would be like to be released after 400 years of bondage? At first ….. there’s relief and a sense of celebration! They sang and danced! But before long ….. they began to long for the things they’d left behind ….. like garlic and onions! Sometimes freedom has its own challenges. The Israelites soon discovered that they weren’t free to do what they liked. They were free from slavery and all it’s hardships ….. but now they were called to serve! God had His own requirements. The difference is that His rules required obedience out of love. Left to ourselves ….. we humans would ruin everything God made. Our selfishness would lead to all kinds of evil. He had to set boundaries. He gave Moses ten laws that needed to be obeyed for people to live the best life possible. They are all about respect for God ….. for our parents ….. for marriage ….. and for our neighbours.
After nine terrible plagues and still Pharoah refusing to let the Israelites go ….. God told Moses to get the people ready for a night to remember! He told each family to kill a lamb ….. collect its blood in a basin ….. and apply it to the door posts and lintel of their home using a common plant called hyssop which is similar to our lavender plant. That night ….. the angel of death would pass over every home and kill the first born ….. except those that had the blood on the door posts and lintels. For the Egyptians it was a night of mourning. For the Israelites it was a night of release from their slavery. This story points towards the need for Jesus to die and shed His blood in order for us to be set free from the slavery of sin. Why the hyssop? The blood in the basin did nothing until it was applied to the doorframe. The hyssop was the means by which it was activated. For us ….. it refers to our testimony. We are saved by the blood of the Lamb ….. and the word of our testimony! When we share our testimony and confess our faith in Jesus ….. we are applying the blood to our selves and our households.