This text reminds us initially of the Mosaic covenant with God’s Old Testament people: the Exodus and wilderness wandering (st. 1). God’s covenant with his New Testament people is focused in the Lord’s Supper (st. 2) and sealed by the work of the Holy Spirit (st. 3). At times cryptic in its biblical allusions, this hymn text calls not only for singing but also for further study of the meaning of these Scriptural references and preaching on the Mosaic covenant and God’s new covenant – now not written on stone but “on the minds and hearts of his people.”
Stanza 2 speaks of the upper room where Christ and the disciples were gathered around the table. Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 28, Question and Answer 77 includes these words of institution from this occasion as the foundation for the sacrament.
In baptism, our identity is established and we are “set apart from all other people and alien religions, that we may wholly belong to [Christ] whose mark and sign we bear” (Belgic Confession, Article 34). Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 26, Question and Answer 70 assures us that “to be washed with Christ’s Spirit means that the Holy Spirit has renewed and sanctified us to be members of Christ…” We therefore are called “to join and unite with it [the church of Christ]” (Belgic Confession, Article 28). This union with Christ shapes our personal identity for all time.