Bloody Errors

  • By Pastor Boffey
  • on Monday, January 15, 2007
1 Samuel 14:31-35 (31) And they smote the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon: and the people were very faint. (32) And the people flew upon the spoil, and took sheep, and oxen, and calves, and slew them on the ground: and the people did eat them with the blood. (33) Then they told Saul, saying, Behold, the people sin against the LORD, in that they eat with the blood. And he said, Ye have transgressed: roll a great stone unto me this day. (34) And Saul said, Disperse yourselves among the people, and say unto them, Bring me hither every man his ox, and every man his sheep, and slay them here, and eat; and sin not against the LORD in eating with the blood. And all the people brought every man his ox with him that night, and slew them there. (35) And Saul built an altar unto the LORD: the same was the first altar that he built unto the LORD. Despite an energy-sapping military action, Saul had imposed an untimely fast upon the people (1SAM 14:24). In their subsequent hunger and haste, the people had slaughtered livestock on the ground. This would not have facilitated proper draining of the blood from the animals slain for consumption. An elevated place or platform from the edge of which the head of an animal could hang and blood drain from its slashed throat would have provided a more suitable killing floor and it would seem that this was Saul's intent by the setting up of a great stone. Prior to Saul's corrective measure, "...the people did eat them with the blood" (v.32) and so transgressed. The Noahic Law (GEN 9:4) and the Mosaic Law (LEV 17:11-14; DEU 12:16; DEU 12:23) were both clear that the life of the flesh was in the blood and blood was not to be eaten. The blood of sacrifice was to be consumed by the justice of God as an atonement for the soul: "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission" (HEB 9:22). That an elevated place be provided to facilitate the draining of blood reminds us of the cross. "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life" (JOH 3:14-15). So, the precious blood of atonement from the Lamb which had neither spot nor blemish (1PE 1:19) flowed down from a high place as a living river for dead sinners: drained from His fleshly body for the cleansing of His spiritual body: the church (EPH 5:25). The blood of bulls and goats, etc., never took away sin (HEB 10:4) for those creatures were under the curse of Adam, the "...bondage of corruption" (ROM 8:21-22). Nothing less than the blood of God (ACT 20:28) was required. The aforementioned prohibition on the eating of blood raises two interesting points: 1) The Jerusalem church council (ACT 15:1-29) convened to affirm what aspects of the Law of Moses should be binding upon Gentile believers. Circumcision of flesh was deemed irrelevant but abstaining from (among other things) "...things strangled, and from blood" (ACT 15:20) was necessary. Some have used this text to support the idea that medical blood transfusions are unbiblical. But the issue at hand was obviously related to the eating of blood, not transfusions., 2) If the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation be true (that the wine is mystically transformed into the blood of Jesus Christ by the priest's incantation), the communicant would be sinning by communing. Finally, we note from our text today that following the setting up of the great stone, "Saul built an altar unto the LORD..." (v.35). Now an altar was a place of sacrifice and this appertained not unto any but the LORD's priest (2CH 26:18). Saul had already crossed that line earlier and hastened the twilight of his day of royal sun (1SAM 13:8-14). From that prior rebuke Saul should have been in his soul building godly sorrow that worked repentance unto salvation (2CO 7:10) but instead built an altar. For the hypocrite, the form of godliness is so much easier to build than godliness itself (2TI 3:5).

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