Raised high, a muscled arm and calloused hand holds a knife, sharp and glinting in the afternoon sun. In one quick, steady motion, the arm thrusts downward, and the blade finds its mark on the spine of the lamb.
The man guides the knife, from the point of entry down the back of the animal. Two halves result. Through this division, small rivers of blood flow freely, mortally marking the event with a sacred solemnity.
The world exists with contrasting opposites and complementary halves; black and white, light and dark, left and right. In the Old Testament, we observe the existence of blessings and curses — the results of the adherence to or deviation from a covenant.
Blood marks the gravity of such a covenant, something that hinges on life and death. In the times of the Bible, two men created this form of a promise, deeper than an agreement, by sacrificing an animal. They divided it in half, displaying the halves that compose an ultimate whole. These halves represent the two parties and also the two possibilities of outcome, either blessings or curses.
Picture a circle creating a clear delineation of limits. The inside of the circle represents obedience to the terms of the covenant. Inside incurs blessings. Anything outside the boundary represents disobedience, a breaking of the terms of the covenant. Curses.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth …”
In the beginning, God created, and he created us. He created us to live in relationship, communion and communication with him. His covenant terms stem from love. He desires us to know him and to know how to live. He establishes rules, not for the sake of legalism, but for a purpose utterly beyond our shortsighted vision. And we broke the covenant. Continually. We chose to dabble and indulge outside of contours of the covenant. And we received the curses. Yet we also received the blessings.
Why? Because God redeems and reconciles all things and all people back to himself. Because he is love. Because he loves us. Because we defiantly choose punishment, and he offers us mercy that originates in true love.
Why would God make a covenant with me?
What do curses and blessing look like? Give examples.
What does it mean for God to reconcile people to himself?
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