“Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart: therefore I will bring upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do; but they did them not” (Jer: 11:8).
Look at the above text. The Lord says that He will bring upon them “all the words of this covenant.” Yet, He is talking about something bad! Though we tend to think of the covenant as offering us only something good, there’s the flip side. This principle was seen with Noah. God offered Noah something wonderful — preservation from destruction, but Noah had to obey in order to receive the blessings of God’s grace. If he did not, the other side of the covenant would follow.
Compare the above text with Genesis 6:5, regarding the pre-Flood world. What’s the parallel? What do these verses say about how important it is for us to control our thoughts?
Unfortunately, the history of national Israel was for the most part, a repeated pattern of apostasy, followed by divine judgments, repentance, and a period of obedience. Only briefly, under David and Solomon, did Israel control the full extent of the promised territory.
Look at these texts from Jeremiah regarding Israel’s apostasy. “They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man’s, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the LORD … Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the LORD” (Jer: 3:1, Jeremiah 3:20).
This brings up something touched upon earlier: the covenant God wants with us is not merely some cold legal agreement made between business people looking to cut the best deal for themselves. The covenant relationship is a commitment, one as serious and sacred as marriage, which is why the Lord uses the imagery that He does.
The point is that Israel’s apostasy did not have its root in disobedience but in a broken personal relationship with the Lord, a break that resulted in disobedience that finally brought punishment upon them.
|Why is the personal, relational aspect so crucial in the Christian life? Why, if our relationship with God isn’t right, are we so prone to fall into sin and disobedience? Also, what would you say to someone who asked this question: “How can I develop a deep, loving relationship with God?”|