7 , 2019
day this past week, I recalled a fact that re-opened
a whole world of new insights for me: covenant.
The notion of covenant is absolutely critical to understanding
the Old Testament which is the story of a series of
relationships founded on God's initiative in reaching
out to 1) the human race in Noah, 2) Abraham and his
descendants, 3) the people whom he freed from slavery
in Egypt, 4) the heirs to David's kingdom. There is,
as well, a 'new and everlasting covenant that is hinted
at by the prophet Jeremiah, but we must return to
that at another point.
in a world and a network of relationships constituted,
pretty much, by our choices. Where we live, what our
budgetary priorities are, who we hang out with, what
apps we use, what car we drive, who gets on our Xmas-card
list, what church we attend, and on and on and on
. We even take it for granted that people can
choose the national identity of their offspring by
giving birth to them in a particular geographical
location! And folks are actually choosing the sex
of their children and the date of their own death!
But a covenant is not the result of our choosing;
God creates covenants by his choices.
see, is one of the perks of divinity: before, while
and after everything and everyone, God is. There is
no fact, phenomenon or feeling that is more real that
God; no truth that makes any sense apart from the
truth that God is. Thus, when God chooses
something, some course
there are fences and
shelters and paths and roadblocks created by that
choice. Any other choice finds itself supported by
the will and power of God, or condemned, frustrated
and doomed to failure by that same choice and power.
that God is he 'whom to serve is to reign'; and Satan
knows that hell is created by a simple I will not
we like to expand the spheres of our importance, we
try repeatedly to expand the bounds of our freedom
(that is what makes the Supremes' doctrine of a right
to privacy so attractive and so dangerous). Thus,
what we notice about covenants is that they create
limits and obligations on us (e.g. the Decalogue or
the chosen-ness of the Jews that makes anti-Semitism
a sin). What we fail to notice is that they simultaneously
create guarantees of Divine favor and approval for
those who acknowledge them and who choose to love
a covenanting God.
really galling, though, is that my taste in people
or my 'people sense' is utterly irrelevant in a world
where God makes the determining choices. In such a
world, a decision to kill, to ignore, to punish, to
snub - or, for that matter to choose for my own purpose
and advantage - can so easily lead me down the path
of being at odds with God!
turning out to be a really rich vein of thought. We'll
bring it back next week for sure; and maybe the one
and truly and promisingly yours,