Friday, November 11, 2011

The Best Lamb

I wrote this last year on Veteran's Day, but I feel like it has a message that needs to be shared again.  I will always be grateful to our veterans who have and continue to sacrifice so much to make our country what it is today, but I am most grateful for my God Who made the ultimate sacrifice for my eternal freedom.

I love it when I read to my kids and the story strikes me far more than it does them.  Especially when I'm reading a Bible story.  My favorite kids' book is the Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones.  Today's story was about Moses, Pharaoh and the Ten Plagues.  A seemingly harmless little retelling of the famous battle of wills between God and a very stubborn Pharaoh.  Until it got to the last plague.  You know, the one where the firstborn of all in Egypt would die?  But God had a plan to rescue His people.  Here's how Ms. Lloyd-Jones paraphrased it:   

God told his people to take their best lamb, to kill it and put some of its blood on their front doors.  "When God passes over your house," Moses explained, "God will see the blood and know that the lamb died instead of you."

 As I read that last sentence I could feel my throat start to tighten and my eyes started to water.  "God will... know that the lamb died instead of you."  All I could think about was God's "Best Lamb" that died for me.  "For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God" (1 Peter 1:18-19).  Jesus' blood has been poured over the door of my heart, and by it, God knows that The Lamb died in my place.  By His blood, I am rescued from my slavery to sin, my slavery to this world.

I wonder if, for the rest of their lives, the Israelites looked at their firstborn child and remembered that lamb who gave its life so their child could live.  I wonder if, every time they saw a lamb, their hearts spilled over with gratitude for the one that took their child's place.  I also wonder if on that dreadful night so many, many years ago, God paused at the threshold of each house in Egypt before He entered in.  Did He hesitate for just a moment, knowing the heartache and grief He was about to bring on the family who lived in that home?  All because one man refused to honor anyone as King other than himself.  Did God breathe a sigh of relief each time He came to a home that had the blood of the lamb painted across the door frame?

I'm certain, because I know that our God is a God of love, that His heart was heavy that night and for many more to come as the Egyptian families mourned the loss of their firstborn children.  I am just as certain that now it grieves Him each time someone turns their heart from Him and refuses to acknowledge Him as Lord, each time someone refuses to paint the blood of The Lamb on the doors of their heart.  For The Lamb has already been slain, the ransom already paid.  But without the blood, the sin stands uncovered and His judgment cannot pass by.

Today is Veterans Day.  It's a day for us, as Americans, to remember the men and women who have given their lives to preserve the freedoms that we have come to know and cherish.  How grateful I am that so many were willing to sacrifice their time, effort and even their lives for the sake of my freedom.  But today I was also reminded that long before America ever came to be, there was a Lamb who gave His life for me, so that I might have eternal freedom that I could never earn on my own.  Thank You, Jesus, for Your sacrifice.  Thank You for covering me in Your blood.  Thank You for allowing Your judgment to pass me by unharmed.  Thank You for being the "Best Lamb" and dying in my place.  For that I will truly be eternally grateful.

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