After God gives his initial commandments and promises, he asks for the Israelite people to commit to following and obeying him.
Then Moses went down to the people and repeated all the instructions and regulations the Lord had given him. All the people answered with one voice, “We will do everything the Lord has commanded.”
Then Moses carefully wrote down all the Lord’s instructions. Early the next morning Moses got up and built an altar at the foot of the mountain. He also set up twelve pillars, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. Then he sent some of the young Israelite men to present burnt offerings and to sacrifice bulls as peace offerings to the Lord. Moses drained half the blood from these animals into basins. The other half he splattered against the altar.
Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it aloud to the people. Again they all responded, “We will do everything the Lord has commanded. We will obey.”
Then Moses took the blood from the basins and splattered it over the people, declaring, “Look, this blood confirms the covenant the Lord has made with you in giving you these instructions.”
To understand this ceremony, we need to understand how sinners obtained God’s forgiveness. In the Old Testament God permitted an animal to die in place of a sinner. The animal’s spilled blood was proof that one life had been given for another. So the blood represented two things: the death of the animal, and the life that was spared as a result. This Old Testament ritual was only temporary though; it looked forward to the death of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9:9–10:18).
Thus, in the ceremony described here, Moses sprinkled half the blood on the altar to show that the sinner could once again approach God. He sprinkled the other half of the blood on the people to show that the penalty for their sin had been paid and they could be reunited with God. Through this act God reaffirmed his promises to Israel; for us, this ceremony helps us to better understand the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.
Jesus was God’s final sacrifice for sin, and he died for you. His blood proves that your life has been spared and you can be reunited with God. Thank God for his amazing gift.