I publish Dead Guy University every Sunday. For generations of Christians through church history, Sunday, “The Lord’s Day”, was a day specially dedicated to family worship. Today that seems outdated to many, but we are undoubtedly the poorer for it.
Today’s reading is from the writings of Andrew Murray (1828-1917); an extract from his book “The Children for Christ”. Share it with your family for this Lord’s Day.
A sketch of Murray’s life follows at the bottom.
A Lamb For a House
“Take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their father, a lamb for an house: … the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses” (Ex. 12:3, 23)
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. Often, however, the fact has escaped observation that 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 vs. 21), “Take you a lamb 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 in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses.”
Among the Egyptians it was the firstborn in every house who died, as representing the family. In Israel it was the firstborn who through the blood was saved from the impending danger and consecrated for God. All this teaches that God lays down as a fundamental law in the Passover and the blood-sprinkling: “I deal with you not as individuals but as families. As I chose and blessed you, 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. 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? In this one respect, is 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? The Christian parent then might have every reason to envy the Jew; he 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. Does not the Christian parent have the right, in definite and assured faith, to claim the blood for his children? 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 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 endeavor henceforth to live in this faith, fully realizing 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. Thank God, as a father I may transmit the grace and blessing of redemption.
Not only my soul, but my house, can daily be kept under the sprinkling and cleansing of the blood. And each time I enter my door, in the light of heaven I may see it sprinkled with the blood of the Lamb. Parents and children stand under the cover and protection of the blood: the Lord is our keeper.
Every year in Israel parents had to renew the sprinkling. But the blood of the Lamb has been shed once for all. I can now each day again 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 be 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 (Ex. 12:26; 13:14). “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, as 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 them, to make them know and love the God who accepted them before ever they knew Him!
One thing more is deserving of very special note. Every year the believing Israelite was to sprinkle the doorposts with blood, so testifying that it was only in the blood that he and his house could stand before God; he was also to write upon these same blood-sprinkled doorposts the words of God’s law (Deut. 6:7-9). In all the going-out and coming-in of his children, these words were ever to meet their eye. The freedom of 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 have been chosen. The doorposts 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 the joy of the great redemption train and educate my children to know, 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 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 pray that God’s Holy Spirit will 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 blood-sprinkled doorposts inscribed with the words of God’s law — such is God’s wondrous provision for getting full possession of His people.
Andrew Murray (1828—1917)
Murray was born in South Africa, the son of Andrew Murray Sr., a Scottish Presbyterian missionary serving with the Dutch Reformed Church. He was sent home to attend college in Aberdeen and then on to the Netherlands for theological studies. While in the Netherlands, he and his brother joined a revival movement known as Het Reveil (“The revival” or “awakening”), a burden that he maintained for the rest of his life. Upon graduation he was ordained in the Dutch Reformed Church and returned to South Africa. He married Emma Rutherford and they had eight children.
During his years of ministry Andrew Murray held four pastorates, served as a leader in several Christian evangelistic organizations, and carried out an international conference ministry. He made a marked impression when he spoke at the famed Keswick Convention in England and Northfield Bible Conference in the United States.
His most enduring legacy, however, is in his writings. He penned more than 240 books, many of which continue to be reprinted to the present day. Combined sales are in the multipled millions of copies.