"O Lord, we praise Thee, bless Thee, and adore Thee, In thanksgiving bow before Thee. Thou with Thy body and Thy blood didst nourish Our weak souls that they may flourish; O Lord, have mercy! May Thy body, Lord, born of Mary, That our sins and sorrows did carry, And Thy blood for us plead in all trials, fear, and need: O Lord, have mercy!"
God brought the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. He made a covenant with Israel, telling them, "Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, you shall be My treasured possession among all peoples" (Exodus 19:5a). God gave His Law to the people, "the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments" (Exodus 34:28b). The covenant was put into effect as Moses took the blood of sacrifices, the blood of the covenant, and sprinkled it over the people (see Hebrews 9:18-19).
But Israel broke the covenant. They disobeyed God's commands and worshiped false gods, but God's covenant love remained unchanged. He would make a new covenant with Israel, not like the old covenant that was broken by His people. Under the new covenant, He would be their God and His Laws would not be engraved on stone tablets, but on the hearts of His people. His people would know Him and under this covenant, God said, "I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more" (Jeremiah 31:34b).
The new covenant, the covenant of God's unchanging love, is fulfilled in Jesus. He is the Lamb of God, the perfect Sacrifice. Under the old covenant, the Israelites were sprinkled with the blood of sacrificed animals. In the new covenant, the blood shed by Jesus on the cross cleanses us from sin. On the night before His death, Jesus celebrated the Passover with His disciples. He gave to them, and to us, His holy Supper, saying of the bread, "This is My body, which is given for you" (Luke 22:19b). Of the wine, Jesus said, "This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood" (Luke 22:20b). The Lamb of God has shed His blood for us; the new covenant has been put into effect in our lives. Our faith is nourished as we receive Jesus' body, which "our sins and sorrow did carry," and His blood that pleads for us "in all trials, fear, and need."
God established His covenant of love and salvation. It is not a two-sided agreement. God set the terms of the covenant and He fulfilled them. We often fail and fall to temptation. Yet God's covenant love, His steadfast love, is unfailing. Nourished by Jesus' body and blood, confident in the forgiveness won for us at the cross, we pray in repentant humility: "O Lord, have mercy!"
WE PRAY: Lord, have mercy on me and forgive my sins. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "O Lord, We Praise Thee," which is number 617 in the Lutheran Service Book.
1. Have you ever made a covenant or pact with someone? Is it still in place between the two of you?
2. What is the covenant God made with His people in the Old Testament?
3. What is so remarkable about the new covenant God has made with all people through Jesus?
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