“But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. ‘Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.’” (Genesis 9:4-6)
In the wake of the flood, God somberly charges Noah and his sons with responsibility for the lives of others. That is a serious charge. But God is serious about life. He knows that once blood is shed, more blood will be shed. Rather than a world of bloodshed, God wants us to look out for each other. “From his fellow man (and even from the beasts!) I will require a reckoning for the life of man.”
That’s not my natural instinct. I am prone to look out for myself much more than the lives of others. Clearly, I shouldn’t do that. My life is tied up in the lives of others. We’re in this together. If I’m not concerned about those around me, I can’t complain when something happens to me.
If you can’t stop the bleeding, someone is going to die. As long as the heart pumps blood through our bodies we are alive. If my heart can no longer do the job, I die. Blood is necessary for life.
Jesus was born into a world where life was cheap. Get in the way of a Roman soldier and you would soon experience the sword. It doesn’t bother them at all. They won’t lose any sleep. Your life had little value to them.
But our lives are precious to God. You see, we were created in his image. When someone takes a life, from the unborn to a family next door to a hospital patient or an enemy in war, it is an affront to him. You are taking a swipe at God himself. Of course, it doesn’t harm him. But it hurts him deeply. He loves you that much.
So never forget how precious life is. Never take life for granted. God doesn’t.
Lord, teach me to value life as much as you value mine. Amen.