Friday, November 15, 2013

In This Is Love (part 7)

In addition to the ground that has already been covered, it is possible to cast a gaze elsewhere in order to understand the way in which Israel was truly called to destroy the works of the devil, with this being understood to be love’s great work.  In doing that, one takes into view the covenant markers that were given to Israel at Sinai. 

The events of Sinai are intimately connected to the whole of the exodus account that generated the way in which Israel saw itself as the collective son of the Creator God, and therefore the law (terms of covenant) and its associated covenant markers that were said to have come to them at Sinai were crucial components of the way that they were to be revealed sons of God that would serve the purpose of destroying the works of the devil. 

These covenant markers ultimately point to the same age-old problem that had initially brought corruption and evil into the world, which was the worship of that which was not the Creator God.  So when one considers that Israel, above all things, was to reverence their God’s sanctuary (His tabernacle and His Temple, as well as the created world in which He is said to have rested on the seventh day---again, a temple was commonly understood to be the place where a god would rest), to observe and honor His Sabbaths (the weekly Sabbath, the feasts, the Sabbath of the land, and the year of jubilee) as a reminder of His position as Creator and sovereign over the world and of the human role of divine image-bearer in this world, and to avoid the worship of idols, one is then able to see the Creator God’s design that would allow them to take up the charge to destroy the works of the devil. 

Ultimately, this end would not be best served by physically exterminating their enemies in the land, but rather by adhering to these marks of covenant, as did Abraham, to recognize and worship and proclaim their God as the only God.  Adhering to these marks are part of what would allow these people to be the exemplification of divine blessing to the world, thus turning other peoples to Israel’s God as they forsook all others.  This would, in a sense, serve to destroy a work of the devil.  Would this then not be a shining manifestation of love?    

Alas, Israel did not live up to the call of its revelation as the firstborn son of the Creator God.  Rather than destroying the work of the devil by turning men from themselves and their gods, Israel is reported to have been repeatedly ensnared by the allure of idolatry.  Israel did not engage in the practice of righteousness (faithfulness to the covenant), denying that to which it had been called at Sinai, which was ultimately, by being the source of blessing to the world, to bring glory to their salvation-providing God by living out their covenant markers as a response of thankfulness to their gracious election as the Creator God’s chosen people.  The covenant God desired to show forth His love for the world through the vehicle of His son Israel, but due primarily to idolatry, this purpose would be denied. 

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