Scripture Focus: Leviticus 17.10-12
10 “ ‘I will set my face against any Israelite or any foreigner residing among them who eats blood, and I will cut them off from the people. 11 For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life. 12 Therefore I say to the Israelites, “None of you may eat blood, nor may any foreigner residing among you eat blood.”
10 The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.
4 “But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. 5 And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being.
From John: We live in a world of casual, uncaring, bloodshed. Worse than that…we are often unmoved by that bloodshed. We are unmoved by children dying in shootings or children dying crossing the border or children dying in the womb. At least, not moved enough to change anything. As Russell Moore said in a recent Christianity Today article, “Americans—especially Christians—should ask just how much we have adjusted ourselves to this kind of horror. How numb to it all have we become?”
We need to reinvigorate our hearts to care about the shedding of blood, our careless collaboration in it, and our callous response to seeing it. Because of this, we return to this rewritten devotional from 2021.
Reflection: Life in the Blood
By John Tillman
Biological facts often reveal spiritual truth. Our life really is in our blood.
We often measure life based on brain activity. For example, the rapper, DMX, recently died after life support was removed following a coma/vegetative state. However, many of the brain’s commands are carried out by the hormones, proteins, and other chemical signals that travel through the blood.
Everything that makes us alive circulates in our blood. Life “moves” within us even when we are at rest. When blood stops moving, or is spilled out, life ends.
The most important and revealing reason for the prohibitions regarding blood was spiritual not physical. Blood is life given for atonement. Since the blood of the first animal, killed by God in the garden to clothe Adam and Eve, animals have given their lives for human sin and creation has groaned for the blood spilled. (Genesis 3.21; Genesis 4.10-12; Romans 8.20-23)
All spilled blood, God says, is precious and holy, not only on its own but because it points to the blood of Jesus. Christ’s blood is the most precious blood in history, but every drop of blood shed draws precious meaning from his.
Blood is still life and it should disturb us when blood is spilled. Blood is the life of our brothers and sisters of every race. Blood is the life of the unborn. Blood is the life of those dying of Covid. Blood is the life of both Christians and non-Christians murdered for their faith. Blood is the life of victims of every kind of violence whether in distant wars or neighborhood streets, whether in mass shootings or lone suicides.
So both the lives of a police officer lost stopping a mass shooting in Colorado and of a Black citizen, crushed by a police officer’s knee are united in that their lives point to and plea for Christ’s blood. One is lost in self-sacrifice and one cries out from the ground in a plea for justice.
May we revive a holy respect for blood, no matter where, how, or by whom it is shed. May we not carelessly “eat” blood by profiting from violence, supporting bloodshed, or indifferently shrugging off bloodshed that doesn’t affect us.
God will require an account. (Genesis 9.5; Isaiah 5.7) When he does, we must plead the blood of Jesus to cover all of our bloodshed. Only in his blood will we find true life. (John 6.53-57)
Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Jesus taught us, saying: “He who comes from above is above all others; he who is of the earth is earthly himself and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven bears witness to things he has seen and heard…since he whom God has sent speaks God’s own words, for God gives him the Spirit without reserve.” — John 3.31
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.
Leviticus 17 (Listen 2:39)
Acts 13 (Listen 7:36)
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