Reading the Bible – part 5
This post looks at what it meant for Old Testament believers to be in covenant with God.
The covenant was like a marriage commitment and it is this imagery that we often find in the Bible when our relationship with God is being described. God committed to protecting and providing for Israel and they committed to following the regulations in the law and thus show themselves to be the people of God. History would prove that Israel was never able to uphold their part of the covenant.
God demonstrated his love and grace to his people by rescuing them from slavery in Egypt and then he expected them to respond with grateful obedience. Moses told them to, “Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess” (Deuteronomy 5:33). The reason to obey was to prosper in the land, not to achieve salvation or relationship with God.
It was after the Israelites broke the covenant by worshipping the golden calf, that the Lord revealed himself to Moses saying, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin” (Exodus 34:6-7). At the very time you would expect God to angrily disown his people, he reveals himself as gentle, giving, and generous. One act of disobedience didn’t disqualify them from his covenant.