Tuesday after Laetare
Scripture: Deuteronomy 10:1-22 (NKJV)
10:1 “At that time the Lord said to me, ‘Hew for yourself two tablets of stone like the first, and come up to Me on the mountain and make yourself an ark of wood. 2 And I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke; and you shall put them in the ark.’
3 “So I made an ark of acacia wood, hewed two tablets of stone like the first, and went up the mountain, having the two tablets in my hand. 4 And He wrote on the tablets according to the first writing, the Ten Commandments, which the Lord had spoken to you in the mountain from the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly; and the Lord gave them to me. 5 Then I turned and came down from the mountain, and put the tablets in the ark which I had made; and there they are, just as the Lord commanded me.”
6 (Now the children of Israel journeyed from the wells of Bene Jaakan to Moserah, where Aaron died, and where he was buried; and Eleazar his son ministered as priest in his stead. 7 From there they journeyed to Gudgodah, and from Gudgodah to Jotbathah, a land of rivers of water. 8 At that time the Lord separated the tribe of Levi to bear the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister to Him and to bless in His name, to this day. 9 Therefore Levi has no portion nor inheritance with his brethren; the Lord is his inheritance, just as the Lord your God promised him.)
10 “As at the first time, I stayed in the mountain forty days and forty nights; the Lord also heard me at that time, and the Lord chose not to destroy you. 11 Then the Lord said to me, ‘Arise, begin your journey before the people, that they may go in and possess the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.’
12 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good? 14 Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the Lord your God, also the earth with all that is in it. 15 The Lord delighted only in your fathers, to love them; and He chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as it is this day. 16 Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer. 17 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. 18 He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing. 19 Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. 20 You shall fear the Lord your God; you shall serve Him, and to Him you shall hold fast, and take oaths in His name. 21 He is your praise, and He is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things which your eyes have seen. 22 Your fathers went down to Egypt with seventy persons, and now the Lord your God has made you as the stars of heaven in multitude.”
Moses was instructed by the Lord God to put the tablets containing the Law of God, written with the very finger of the Lord God, into the Ark of the Covenant—the Mercy Seat of the Lord. This was placed within the Tabernacle of Meeting in the Most Holy Place.
This room was entered only once a year, when the high priest would atone for his sins and his sons’ sins with the blood from the sacrifice of a young bull, and atone for the sins of Israel with the blood from the sacrifice of a young goat (Lev. 16). He would sprinkle the blood from the young bull seven times on the east side of the Ark of the Covenant to atone for his sins and his son’s sins, and he would do the same with the blood from the goat for the sins of Israel. So then, with blood the sins of both the priests and the laity were atoned for. The Law of God, which the people broke continually, was covered with the blood of sacrifice to atone for the sins of all.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is the new Mercy Seat to which all the faithful, as a royal priesthood (1 Pet. 2:9), may approach, not just once a year, but every day. In His Body He contains the fulfilled Law of God. In His Blood we have the once-and-for-all-time sacrifice that atones for the sins of the whole world. Those who cling to this new Mercy Seat in faith receive the absolution that is promised in Him.
We pray: Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that we, who for our evil deeds do worthily deserve to be punished, by the comfort of Thy grace may mercifully be relieved; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.