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In Psalm 50:12-15, the Lord stunningly expresses disapproval for his own worship: if I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine. Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? God does not need our worship. And when we merely go through motions of religious ritual, he is not pleased. The point of the sacrificial system was not to provide the Maker of heaven and earth with a good meal. The point of the worship is heartfelt praise. So vv 14-15: Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me. What God wants of men is worship and trust. These were the very things that the tabernacle liturgy was given to men to evoke: worship and faith. Those sacrifices were acts of worship. But the sacrifices were also acts of faith that trusted in God for redemption through the propitiation he offered. Furthermore, as the rest of the Psalm made clear, those sacrifices were not to lead to religious indifference toward sin (vv 16-22), but to thankful obedience by faith (v 23).
In the prayer service, we’ll sing one final time this month, “Thy Broken Body, Gracious Lord” (Gray 278). For the lesson, we’ll turn our attention again to a selection from Psalm 119.
The sermon this Sunday looks at the establishment of the Mosaic covenant at Sinai. The commandments have been spoken. The laws have been given. Now it is time for the people to respond to the covenant stipulations and enter into this most sacred relationship with their God. Moses tells us the story, if briefly, yet beautifully, filled with drama and symbolism. It is for us this Sunday to consider the blood of the covenant. That’s what Moses “tells us to do” in v 8: Behold, the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words. The lessons of this passage are many, and they in their own way teach us a great deal both by type and antithesis about what it means to be saved by the blood of Jesus in our own day.
Call to Worship: Psalm 50:14-15
Hymn 305 [Red] Holy, Holy, Holy
Congregational Reading: Psalm 32:1-2, 5, 10-11
Doxology: Doxology, Red 283
Hymn 216 [Gray] My Hope is Built on Nothing Less
Hymn 230 [Gray] Praise the Savior, Ye Who Know Him
Scripture Reading: Zechariah 6 & Revelation 22
Hymn 209 [Gray] There is a Fountain Filled with Blood This is a wonderful hymn by William Cowper. To be honest, I really love it set to the old tune ESSLINGEN by Adam Krieger. The first verse, though so well known, is itself fruitful for us to meditate upon: There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel’s veins, and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains. The words have a startling simplicity to them. The truth is stated so plainly and yet vividly, in a way that almost startles us when we think about the literal meaning of those words. But I think I best love the use of Immanuel here. In choosing that word, Cowper draws our attention to the two natures of Christ. The one bleeding and dying on the cross is God-with-us, both God and man. And by emphasizing those two natures, Cowper reminds us that the bleeding Immanuel is the only Mediator between God and man. Christ’s death satisfies God’s infinite wrath, for he is very God. Christ’s death atones for man’s sins, as he is with us. And it is because the blood is from Immanuel’s veins that herein sinners ‘lose all their guilty stains.’
Sermon: The Blood of the Covenant from Exodus 24:1-8
Hymn 267 [Red] When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
In Sunday School, I will give the hour to answering your questions.