LAMBS TO THE SLAUGHTER
Heb. 4:13 And not a creature exists that is concealed from His sight, but all things are open and exposed, naked and defenseless to the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do.
Years ago, Parris and I visited and ministered in a gypsy village in eastern Bulgaria. During our visit, there was a great outdoor festival for the community where there was food and singing and of course testimonies and preaching. The people sang and danced for hours as the food was being prepared. Actually their favorite meal was being prepared, a local version of lamb soup. The one image that stands out amongst all the others was the preparation of the sheep for the soup. These were live sheep being led to the slaughter. All throughout that day there were pictures of the helpless sheep being led silently to the slaughter. Images of Old Testament sacrifices were filling my mind for weeks. Of course the most obvious picture that was imprinted on everyone’s heart that week was the mental image of the true Lamb of God who was slain for all of us. Today’s verse pictures this sacrifice, here is Adam Clarke’s thoughts on this verse.
“The allusion here is undoubtedly to the sword which Paul had referred to in the previous verse, as dividing the soul and spirit, and the joints and marrow; and the meaning is, that in the hand of God, who held that sword, everything was exposed. We are, in relation to that, like an animal whose neck is bent back, and laid bare, and ready for the slaughter. Nothing hinders God from striking; there is nothing that can prevent that sword from penetrating the heart any more than, when the neck of the animal is bent back and laid bare, there is anything that can hinder the sacrificing priest from thrusting the knife into the throat of the victim. If this be the true interpretation, then what an affecting view does it give of the power of God, and of the exposedness of man to destruction! All is bare, naked, open. There is no concealment; no hinderance; no power of resistance. In a moment God can strike, and his dreadful sentence shall fall on the sinner like the knife on the exposed throat of the victim. What emotions should the sinner have who feels that he is exposed each moment to the sentence of eternal justice—to the sword of God—as the animal with bent-back neck is exposed to the knife! And what solemn feeling should all have who remember that all is naked and open before God!”
Just as these sheep were laid bare before their executioner in Bulgaria, we are all like sheep being led to the slaughter. The only difference is that we are laid bare before The Lord. His sword pierces our heart, strips away our past life, and imparts into our hearts His very own life. We are also like these sheep being opened up by the knife. What is the difference? We are swallowed up by God.