Scripture Focus: Deuteronomy 12.15-16
15 Nevertheless, you may slaughter your animals in any of your towns and eat as much of the meat as you want, as if it were gazelle or deer, according to the blessing the Lord your God gives you. Both the ceremonially unclean and the clean may eat it. 16 But you must not eat the blood; pour it out on the ground like water.
Reflection: Giving Blood
By Vienna Scott
In Deuteronomy’s ceremonial laws, God lists rules for his people on how to worship. He tells the Israelites to create a unique dwelling place for their God, to bring God sacrifices from their herds and flocks, and to rejoice in his blessings. These rules carefully disentangle the Israelites from pagan practices. They must not worship at the pagan temples. They should destroy idols and any symbols of idolatry. God is teaching the people how to uphold the first commandment: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20.3).
Among many ceremonial rules, God warns the people not to eat the blood of any meat. Instead, in town they should pour it on the ground like water. Some pagan tribes consumed blood of animals, enemies, and human sacrifices because they believed it was a source of might or power. They used death to get at the source of life for themselves; taking advantage of the weak to advance their own strength. God set the Israelites against these practices.
Blood was for God alone (Genesis 9.4, Job 33.4). The source of life belonged to the giver of life. When sacrifices were offered, blood was drained and given to God on the altar as a means of atonement (Leviticus 17.10-14). God allowed the blood of guiltless animals to stand as a payment for sin. Each time an animal was sacrificed and its blood poured out, the Israelites were reminded that they were weak. They had sinned and needed to make themselves right with their mighty and powerful God. Every time an animal was killed for meat or sacrifice, it communicated a glimpse of the Savior.
How striking must it have been for Christ to say, “This is my blood. Take this, and drink.” to people who had reserved blood only for God. Blood was a gift of God to the Israelites so that they could make themselves right with him by always giving it back to him. Through Jesus, God gave the blood of life back.
By teaching the people how to worship him, how to obey his commandments, and how to set themselves apart, he carved a path to teach them about redemption. Let us rejoice in the true God above all other gods. Let us rejoice in the God who made himself weak so that we could be saved. Let us rejoice in the blood sacrificed for us.
Divine Hours Prayer: The Request for Presence
Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. — Psalm 86.4
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.
Deuteronomy 12 (Listen 5:11)
2 Corinthians 6 (Listen 2:31)
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May we revive a holy respect for blood, no matter where, how, or by whom it is shed…God will require an account.
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