It’s important to keep your promise. That’s why a long time ago, I stopped making them. I knew I was that unreliable. I didn’t want to be held accountable because, well, I couldn’t be held accountable. I know my own tendency to follow through was shotty at best, so I would avoid the commitment that a promise ensures.
Picture two boys in their hidden clubhouse, with crooked slats and rope swing. They promise that neither one will tell about their secret place. And more importantly, that neither would let a girl come between them. And then they offer more than a promise. They take a piece of broken glass found in the school parking lot and cut themselves. One tiny slit in the tip of their middle finger. A dramatic sound of inhales through clenched teeth was all that could be heard for that moment. And then, it was created: a blood bond. Each sticky red fingertip was pressed to the other, just hard enough to make it sting even more – the best way to make it memorable and manly.
The boys looked down to see that their DNA’s had mixed now, and could not be separated. They had made a pact…or as God puts it, a covenant.
Isaiah 55:3 Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, for the life of your soul is at stake. I am ready to make an everlasting covenant with you. I will give you all the mercies and unfailing love that I promised to David.
Two Innocent Lambs
When David reigned, the covenant was sealed with the blood of innocent lambs and goats. Their blood came from innocent life, but it was a temporary fix. It worked to atone for sins, but had an expiration date of one year. Jesus came and tossed the need for that. He, being the only truly innocent man that ever lived, shed his God-blood on Calvary. His blood was never mixed with human blood, even in Mary’s womb. Its DNA was human yet of Deity.
Blood on the Wedding Night
Another example of God’s intended use of blood to mark a life-long covenant is marriage between man and woman. Centuries ago, a marriage ceremony and celebration would last for days. The couple would lay a white sheet down and consummate their commitment to each other inside a tent as their friends and family continued with the festivities. Her virginity would be given, the skin of her hymen would be broken inside of her, and blood would stain the sheet. As awkward as it seems to us in this culture, this was even more reason to celebrate. They would raise up the sheet in praise to God and all would join in congratulation. Their lifelong commitment to each other, their covenant had been sealed.
God not only will not, but CANNOT break his Word.
God’s thoughts are completely different from ours. His ways far beyond our ways. And what is comforting to me is that unlike me, He is unafraid to commit. His Word is His bond. Hebrews 6:16-17 says, When people make promises, they guarantee them by appeal to some authority above them so that if there is any question that they’ll make good on the promise, the authority will back them up. When God wanted to guarantee his promises, he gave his word, a rock-solid guarantee – God can’t break his word. And because his word cannot change, the promise is likewise unchangeable. – MSG
but even more so, His blood is His bond. There truly is no need to punish ourselves for any sin. Jesus is the new Lamb – sacrificed once and for all.
Ephesians 2:13 But now you belong to Christ Jesus, and though you once were far away from God, now you have been brought very near to him because of what Jesus Christ has done for you with his blood.
We, his adopted children are invited to meet with him in his secret place. And we, in our wavering minds and uncommitted ways, get to accept his invitation to return again and again, to press our fingertip to his in that awkward and peaceful tradition called communion. Before drinking the juice or wine, we tell of our weakness – our pain – our missing of the mark. We recognize our desolate state without his blood. We clench our teeth, we spill our heart and we hopefully drink in his grace. Why? Because we believe the Word in Hebrews 9:22, that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. And the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood. ” The reminder of his grace, our own sin, and our connection to him through communion is crucial for us sons and daughters. We can be so prone to wander from the truth.
Ironic, isn’t it, that this deep red liquid-life cleanses each one of us white? But it doesn’t stop with cleansing.
It signifies His faithfulness.
It is the proof of our identity.
And it binds us to Him.