Thursday, March 21, 2013

Broken The Permanent Treaty (part 2 of 2)

Yet again, Isaiah speaks of the fact that man fades away into death, doing so through employing the imagery of the disappearance of the inhabitants of the earth.  As has been said, the impact of man’s sin (failure to rightly bear the divine image by violating the covenant requirements established by the Creator God) extends beyond himself, reaching the created order, which is why Isaiah insists that “The new wine dries up, the vines shrivel up,” and with terminology that would remind his readers or hearers of the exodus (set in motion by the groaning of Israel in its slavery), and can put readers of the post-Christ era in mind of Romans chapter eight and liberation of the creation, saying “all those who like to celebrate groan” (24:7).          

Bringing an awareness of the Adam and exodus story forward to the time in which he was writing, Isaiah could easily have looked around him, considered what it was that Israel was charged with doing and being under their God’s covenant, and determined that Israel had done the same thing as Adam.  In a sense, Israel was also recapitulating what Egypt had done to them.  Whereas Israel, now representing mankind, was supposed to be the means by which the Creator God revealed Himself, the way in which that God had chosen to deal with the problem of evil in the world, and accordingly functioned as a shining light of the Creator God’s glory to draw all men to Himself and bring them into a right standing with Him under His covenant, they were instead actively engaging in the further defiling of the earth that has begun under the influence of their purported progenitor (Adam). 

Contrary to what was occurring under the watch of His covenant people, the Creator God’s plan, beginning with Abraham, was to reverse the devastation of the curse through those covenant people, but instead they contributed to its ongoing devastation.  Israel, of course, had been given specific laws and ways of living as the covenant people so that they might rightly bear the divine image by their God, yet the recorded history of this people insists that they violated those laws almost unceasingly.  From time to time, their history suggests that Israel would recognize the violations and come to repentance, but for the most part, there was an utter disregard for the regulations that had been delivered to them, especially in the area of caring for orphans and widows. 

Yes, just like Adam, sadly, the Creator God’s people had broken their everlasting covenant, failing to uphold their covenant requirements to represent the Creator to the whole of the creation.  As a result, devastating judgment of cursing and exile would come upon them, with this cursing provided context by the promises of both Deuteronomy twenty-eight and Leviticus twenty-six.  This would occur as an outworking of their God’s faithful justice.  He had brought them into a treaty---an everlasting covenant with Him---and the execution of coming destruction, in according with the aforementioned promises, was the ongoing demonstration of their God’s righteousness (covenant faithfulness) towards His people and towards His creation. 

Ultimately, it would take a Redeemer ---a messiah, for the Creator God Himself, as it would be understood to act in the flesh, returning to His people to repair the treaty and to set His people and this world to rights, doing so through a people who organized their lives according to a new covenant, a renewed Israel, that live in a believing covenantal union with Jesus.          

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