THE CHILDREN FOR CHRIST.
A Lamb for an House.
'Take every man a lamb, according to their father's houses, a lamb for an house. When He seeth the blood, the Lord wi!l pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to enter your houses.'—Exod. xii. 3, 23.
IT has often been pointed out that, of all the Old Testament sacrifices, there is none that gives a clearer or richer revelation of the person and work of our Lord than the Passover. It has often, however, escaped observation how the whole institution of the Paschal Lamb aimed at deliverance, not of the individuals, but of families; it dealt not with the persons, but with the families, the houses of God's people. What else is the meaning of the expression, A lamb for an house? or (as in ver. 21), Take you lambs according to your families? and of the blood sprinkled upon the house? As so it is expressly declared, 'When your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? that ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord's Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel, when He smote the Egyptians and delivered our houses' Among the Egyptians it was the first-bom in every house who died, as representing the house, as in Israel it was the first-born who through the blood was saved from the impending danger and consecrated for God. All teaching how God, in redeeming His people and revealing the principles on which He is to deal with them, lays this down as a fundamental law in the Passover and the bloodsprinkling: I deal with you, not as individuals, but as families. As I chose and blessed you, as the seed of your father Abraham, so I still bless every household through the believing father, who sprinkles the blood in obedience to My command. The lamb and its blood are the consecration of the dwellings and the family relations of My people. In the hands of the father, God thus places the destiny and the safety of the whole house.
Christ, our Passover, is slain for us. We love to trace how, in every, even to the most minute particular, the foreshadowings of the Paschal Feast were fulfilled in Him. Have we any warrant in God's Word for excepting this so important feature, and allowing the type to hold good in every respect but this? Is, in this one respect, the Old Testament feast to stand higher than the New, and the blood which then was for the saving of the house here to be only for the individual? and not be sprinkled on the houses too? How the Christian parent might then envy the Jew, who enjoyed the privilege, as he looked at the sprinkled blood, of knowing that he had done it to the saving, not only of himself, but his household too. And the Christian parent would not have the right thus, in definite and assured faith, to claim the blood for his children? God forbid! Christ, the Lamb of God, is still' a lamb for an house'! His blood may still be sprinkled upon the door, that the destroyer enter not in. In the new covenant, and with the precious blood of Christ, the principle still holds good: it is the believing father's right and duty in faith to appropriate the blood for his whole house. His faith has the Divine warrant, and will be rewarded with the Divine blessing.
Let me endeavour henceforth to live in this faith, fully to realize this privilege. As I think of the precious blood, and seek to walk in the nearness to God which it gives, let me claim its cleansing power for my house as well as myself. Let me be assured that my faith as parent has power and does secure a Divine influence. Daily there is the sin of my house defiling and darkening. Even my sin, pardoned though it be, might justly, in its consequences, be visited on my children. The fulness of the application of the blood will correspond to what faith claims. I have in nature transmitted sin and death,—through me they inherit it. Thank God, as a father, I may also transmit the grace and blessing of redemption.
Not only my own soul, but my house, can daily be kept under the sprinkling and cleansing of the blood. And each time I enter my door, or think of Satan entering it, in the light of heaven I may see it sprinkled with the blood of the Lamb. Parents and children together stand under the cover and protection of the blood: the Lord is our keeper.
Every year in Israel parents had to renew the sprinkling: the blood of the Lamb has been shed once for all. I have now only each day again to renew the consecration of my house to the Lord in the assurance of faith: the blood saves me and my children. In this faith I may confidently expect that the wondrous redemption of the blood will exercise its full and mighty influence, until all our domestic life and its relations be sanctified, our house be wholly the Lord's, and each child bo consciously and confessedly one of His redeemed.
To this end I must notice carefully how God commanded the parents to teach these things to their children (Exod. xii. 26, xiii. 14). 'The grace of God that bringeth salvation teacheth us.' What is secured to the child in redemption must be made his own in free and personal appropriation. And this cannot be without his knowing it. The children were to be taught that they belonged to the redeemed people, that they belonged to the redeeming God. The parent was to act not only as priest, and thus, in a sense, mediator, but also as prophet and teacher. As he had dealt for the child with God in the blood-sprinkling, so he was to deal for God with the child in the instructions he gave him.1 Let me seek grace and wisdom in the spirit of faith to teach my children what the blood has done for them, to make them know and love the God who accepted them ere ever they knew Him!
One thing more is deserving of very special note. The believing Israelite had not only every year to sprinkle the door-posts with blood, and so to testify that it was only in the blood that he and his house could stand before God; he had also to write upon these same blood-sprinkled door-posts the words of God's law (Deut. vi. 7-9). In all the going-out and coming-in of his children, these words were ever to meet their eye, the freedom from Egypt's bondage and Egypt's curse was a freedom to serve God. God wills to be not only trusted but obeyed. It is 'unto obedience and the sprinkling of the blood of Christ' that we
1 See the next meditation for the further illustration of this thought.
have been chosen: the door-posts sprinkled with the blood, and inscribed with the words of the law, remind me of the blessed oneness of faith and obedience, liberty and service. I would in the joy of the great redemption train and educate my children to know, and love, and keep the commands of their God. Day by day, in faith and prayer, in teaching and living, I would seek to set before them in its harmony the blessedness of a faith that freely accepts all that God gives, with a surrender that gives all He claims.
'A lamb for an house:' I must pray that God's Holy Spirit reveal in its full power all the truths that cluster round this blessed word. A father redeemed by the blood; his children through him and with him partaking of the sprinkling; the father, God's minister every year anew to sprinkle the house; the father, God's witness and messenger to the children to teach them of this precious blood, and of the God it reveals; the bloodsprinkled door-posts inscribed with the words of God's law;—such is God's wondrous provision for getting full possession of His people, and making the family the foundation of the kingdom.
Blessed Lord Jesus! the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world, the Son of God, whose blood cleanseth from all sin, in humble faith I claim that blood for myself and my children. May my own experience of its ever-cleansing power every day grow fuller and clearer. And may I by Thy Holy Spirit realize fully my right to claim it for my house.
O most blessed Saviour! may the power of Thy blood work in me so mightily, that my faith may in full assurance accept it for each of my children as a present blessing. May we, under the covering of the blood, know ourselves protected from the destroyer.
O most gracious God! whose is this wondrous ordinance of a lamb for an house, I yield myself to Thee afresh as the minister of Thy covenant. Use me, my God, to save my children, to train them for Thee, and Thee alone. I would have the door-posts not only sprinkled with the blood, but inscribed with the law. I would have Thy service the one thing they grow up for. As Thou hast chosen us, in sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and blood-sprinkling, may faith in the blood and surrender to Thy will be as the two door-posts, between which we daily go in and out. The Lord make it so. Amen.