As you read this week, remember earlier covenants we have seen throughout our Genesis readings.
- First the Noahic Covenant after the great flood—a covenant with all creation; the sign of the covenant is a rainbow.
- Then the Abrahamic Covenant—a covenant with one man and his descendants; the sign of that covenant is circumcision.
- Now in the Exodus readings, we experience the Mosaic Covenant—a covenant with the whole people of Israel; the sign of this covenant is Sabbath.
Covenant making and Law giving are closely related in the Exodus story.
As you read this week, you will see Moses return from the mountaintop with the Ten Commandments, but then he encounters the people breaking the Law by building a golden calf. The back and forth conversation between Yahweh and Moses shows their remarkable intimacy, but it also demonstrates the fragility of this new people of God. This obstinate, double-minded, too-often-faithless people are brought into relationship with the God who is jealous for their fidelity, single minded in commitment, and faithful to covenant love, no matter the heart and acts of God’s people . . .
The rules and regulations, the do’s and don’ts of the Law were set in place to help form Israel into the people God had created and called them to be. The goal of law is not to hold us back or to keep us as small-minded rule followers. Rather the purpose of law is to lead us forward into maturity and freedom, bringing God’s people into larger, deeper relationship with the Creator of love who yearns for the responsive love of us human creatures.
But the Law is not the covenant; there is an important difference in the way the Bible talks about the Law and how it describes the covenant. There is a crucial difference in meaning and function . . .
Read more at Charlotte Vaughan Coyle. Living in The Story: A Year to Read the Bible and Ponder God’s Story of Love and Grace (pp. 136-137). Resource Publications. Kindle Edition.