"Gather to me my faithful ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!" Psalm 50:5
There is a day coming when Jesus, The Mighty One, God the LORD, will summon all the nations, the living and the dead, to stand before Him as Judge. On that day He will not be silent. He will come with trumpet blasts as a consuming fire surrounded by a mighty storm.
Don't we all need that regular reminder? It is so easy to live each day as if it was just like any other but each of those "average" days brings us a step closer to the day we stand before the Judge.
As you know, when I read I always pay attention to names and descriptions of the Church. Verse 5 is an exceptional one. Jesus describes us as His faithful ones who have entered into the covenant of sacrifice. In a few verses, He is going to explain the acceptable sacrifice for His faithful ones. But before we examine that let's look at the Judge's sacrifice.
From experience, when I have stood before a judge, I have hoped for one who was at least empathetic. That is not always the case. But this Judge is so much more. He has already paid the penalty for our disobedience to the Law and offers forgiveness as a gift to those who will accept. What a gracious Judge!
The sacrifice Judge Jesus requires is more than the outward ritualistic observance of the law. That type of sacrifice is just returning what is already His. His faithful ones observe the spirit of the Law from the heart. Out of love and thankfulness for a giving and forgiving Judge, they respond with a sacrifice of thanksgiving.
Jesus has a lengthy list of charges to bring against those who refuse His gracious offer of forgiveness. He accuses them of hypocrisy. They know his instructions and even speak them, but all their actions reveal a hatred and disgust for both His discipline and His word. They make the mistake of thinking He is just like them. They have made God in their image instead of realizing He has made them in His.
He will no longer remain silent. He is ready to pronounce judgment. But notice verse 22. The NLT translates it like this: "Repent, all you who forget me or I will tear you apart, and no one will help you." Who has ever seen a judge like this? Even as He is ready to declare His final judgment, He cries out one more time "Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand."
He holds out the offer to those who honor Him with a sacrifice of thanks. The Judge who paid the price for their salvation continues to make the offer.
Jesus, The Mighty One, God the LORD, it is to You we offer a sacrifice of thankful praise. You are the Most High who humbled Himself and became poor so we could be rich in You. It is Your sacrifice as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Thank You.