SPOKEN PRAYER: Out loud, pray for God to speak to you through your reading. Praise God for giving us His word. Ask the Spirit to help you read with faith, and to live out what you hear from God through the passage.
The Purpose of the Covenant
by Pr. Dave Mann
We have begun a series on the various covenants that are explained in the Old Testament, culminating with the New Covenant of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Today’s passage is a brief introduction to the covenant of the law, also known as the Mosaic Covenant. It is a conditional covenant, meaning that there is an IF clause in it. See verse 5: "Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then…” The people of Israel were required to live up to the conditions of the covenant if they expected to receive the promised blessings. As it turned out, none was able to achieve those standards.
But even before this conditional covenant was established in chapter 20, God showed his gracious mercy. Verse 4: "You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagle’s wings and brought you to myself." The deliverance of the people from slavery in Egypt was given freely by grace, not as a reward for righteous living.
The goals of the Mosaic Covenant were laudable.
Verse 5: "You will be my treasured possession."
Verse 6: "Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation."
The purpose of the covenant was a close, intimate relationship between Israel and the Lord.
We know the rest of the history of the people of Israel – how they played the harlot and worshiped the false gods of the peoples of the land of Canaan. Along the way, the nation of the twelve tribes of Israel was divided into two: the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. Then, that northern nation was delivered into the hands of Assyria in 722 B.C. and the southern nation of Judah was delivered into the hands of Babylonia in 586 B.C. Rare were the kings who actually followed the good laws of the Lord, that were given as sure and certain guide, a means of God’s blessing.
The purpose of the Mosaic Covenant was to develop a good relationship with the Lord, but the Law is never able to produce salvation. It is only through grace through faith that we can receive that gift from God.
Thank you, heavenly Father, for your goodness. Allow us to receive your salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord. In his name, I pray, Amen.