Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A God You Can Count On.

Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth [is] mine: Exodus 19:5

"When we look back on the covenant between God and the ancient Hebrews, what stands out to us is its strictness, the seeming arbitrariness of some of its laws.

I see no such reaction among the Hebrews themselves. Few of them pleaded with God to loosen the dietary restrictions or eliminate some of their religious obligations. They seem, rather, relieved that their God, unlike the pagan gods around them, had agreed to define a relationship with them.

As the Puritan scholar Perry Miller has said:

When you have a covenant with God, you no longer have an ineffable, remote, unapproachable Deity; you have a God you can count on.

The Hebrews and God had entered into a kind of story together, and everything about their lives sent back echoes of that story. The story was a love story, from the very beginning. God chose the Hebrews not because they were larger and stronger than other tribes–quite the contrary. Nor did he choose them for their moral superiority. He chose them because he loved them.

Like any other starstruck lover, God yearned for a response. All the commands given the Hebrews flowed out of the very first commandment, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength."

The Hebrews failed to keep that command, we know, but the reason Christians now call three-fourths of the Bible the "Old" Testament is that not even that terrible failure could cancel out God's love. God found a new way–a new covenant, or testament, of his love."

And thankfully for us, we are blessed with the Book of Mormon as an additional witness of what is available to us as we are true and faithful regarding our sacred covenants.

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