The priest shall put some of the blood on the horns of the altar of fragrant incense that is before the Lord. (Leviticus 4:7)
Oh, what a word of comfort is placed before us of the altar of incense, the place where God’s people presented their prayers and praise. Their prayers were ever before the Lord, and upon the horns of that altar the priest would smear some of the blood of the sacrifice. It’s important to note that this ritual represented only a dim shadow of the blood of the Substance that was to come. Atonement has been made and our sin debt has been paid because the blood of the True Lamb of God has been shed for both our salvation and our sanctification.
Because the blood of the Lamb is before the Lord, having figuratively been sprinkled on the horns of the altar, it should also be before us. We are to live life in the shadow of the cross. The blood of the Lamb is what has brought us into God’s presence and will keep us in God’s presence forevermore. It is the blood of the Lamb that makes us acceptable in the presence of God. It is His blood that gives power to our prayers and purpose to our petitions (Hebrews 10:19). It is His blood that reminds us of whose we are and what we are here to do.
From Genesis to Revelation, we are continually confronted by the phrase “the blood,” which is designed to both encourage and empower us to be all God is calling us to be. It was the blood of every Old Testament sacrifice that pointed to the blood of the True Sacrifice that would finally and fully give us victory over sin, Satan, and death. The blood of Jesus protects us from the schemes of the devil and strengthens us for every temptation that comes our way.
Those holy horns were sprinkled with the blood of bulls, blood that could not truly atone for sin, only point the way to the blood—the eternal, once-for-all sacrifice made by Jesus Christ—that has the power to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The blood on the horns of the altar is the ongoing testimony to every child of God that we have been washed clean by the blood of the Lamb. And don’t forget this: you did not deserve the blood . . . you did not earn the blood . . . and you cannot pay for the blood. It is only available to you by God’s grace, through faith in the One who shed His precious blood for you.
Let me close today’s word of comfort with these words from the 19th-century South African writer, teacher, and pastor, Andrew Murray:
Of all the glorious things that the blood means, this is one of the most glorious: His blood is the sign, the measure, yes, the impartation of His love.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!