Come, Gather

Psalm 50: 5

Gather My godly ones to Me, those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice.”

By now, most Christians have embraced the idea that God called us to Him so that we might be in relationship with Him. That relationship is one of kinship, it is a bond that is sacred to God. He seeks those who have covenanted with Him through sacrifice, forged a bond through sacrifice and He gathers those to Himself.

When we read the word “sacrifice” in the Old Testament, we usually think of lambs and bulls and goats offered on the altar. In verse fourteen we find that the sacrifice God was looking for was not the blood of animals but rather a sacrifice of Thanksgiving. In the Old Testament, there were prescribed offerings, but it isn’t the meat or the unleavened cake that God spoke about in this verse. He was looking at the thankfulness with which a person brought the sacrifice to the altar. The sacrifice is an offering of being grateful and expressing that thankfulness. In the Old Testament, that offering was not words alone but an actual offering that was taken to the temple and laid upon the altar. I personally like the outward expression. In other words, “Father I will tell you how thankful I am for what you have done for me but let me show you as well.” A sacrifice without an accompanying sentiment is empty. It is dead works. However, words can be empty too. I like an act being tied to our words and our sentiment of thankfulness. In modern times our offerings tend to be money. There are other ways to make a thanksgiving offering. If we gave something else of value, that would be a memorial before God too. The key is that it is an offering that means something to us.

There is a New Testament idea that we can drape over this covenant by sacrifice concept. It might be that when you hear the word “covenant” you think of the term “blood covenant.” A blood covenant is forged in blood and shows the serious intent of the parties as well as its immutable nature. It is a blood covenant that New Testament believers share with the Father, a bond so strong that it cannot be broken. The lamb was slain upon the altar and the blood from that unblemished, innocent lamb binds the Father to us in tethers which no one, not even God Himself, can sever. That sacrificial lamb, his flesh, his blood binds God to those who receive it as their thanksgiving offering.

If you think about it, the debate about who killed Jesus is resolved here. I sacrificed him; you did too. We are the ones who shed the blood of the innocent lamb and through him made a blood covenant with the Father. We are the ones who come to the altar and reap the reward of the thanksgiving offering. We are the ones who claim that blood. We put him on the altar as our thanksgiving that the Father loves us and was willing to slay the lamb in a joint act in order to forge that imperishable covenant bond between us. The blood of the lamb isn’t only a sin offering and a guilt offering. That perfect lamb is the thanksgiving offering of a grateful people. God gave us the perfect lamb so that we could come into spotless, unblemished union with Him, so that we would enter and enduring covenant with the Holy One.

Now, daily, the Father gathers His beloved to Him. He calls to those who, through sacrifice, have made a covenant with Him. So, there are two ideas I would leave you with. Gather to the Father. Hear His call to you for fellowship and togetherness. Second, don’t forsake the act of giving a thanksgiving offering. I think you will find it fulfilling. You can always give one just to memorialize the perfect sacrifice made for us, but you may also like to send Father a special thanksgiving offering just to express your thanks when something has gone well for you. I think it will touch the Father’s heart but just as importantly, it will boost your heart so that you will answer the bell which is ringing, calling us all to gather around Him.