Today’s Old Testament readings contain parts of the oldest and longest love story in the world. This story began when God made a covenant with mankind. The covenant offered an agreement that is comparable to the way good fathers provide for their families. Similarly, God provides for us by protecting us and providing instructions that keep us from danger. In return, God desires our respect, obedience and love.
The Bible describes how man repeatedly broke the covenant and rejected God’s love. Each time God warned of the consequences through prophets, who called for repentance and return to obedience. God promised forgiveness and renewed relationship if only man would respond and return. The prophets also warned of the terrible consequences of each person going their own way and doing what seemed good to them.
The love story repeats man’s behavior through each stage: first obedience with blessing, followed by forgetting the covenant and rejecting God. God sends warnings in the midst of trouble brought on by man’s own actions, then at last, to repentance and renewed relationship with God’s love. “All day long God holds out his hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.” Is. 65:2; Rom. 10:21
In the course of time, God made a dramatic change in the covenant when he sent his only son to die for our sins. This new covenant offers all the benefits of the old ones, as well as opening our individual access to God. We are invited to directly approach God. Now, through faith in Christ and repentance for our sin, each of us individually experiences his love and blessings.
How should we respond to such love? Our world continues to suffer the consequences of sin. Not much changed from the time where leaders like Ahaz sacrificed his own son while worshiping idols. Many people continue to reject the gospel in the way that Festus responded to Paul’s testimony: shouting that Paul was insane. This treatment did not stop Paul from sharing the good news. Nor should rejection in our time discourage us.
Thanks and praise be given to such a long suffering and loving heavenly father who continues to hold out open arms to all. Let us not neglect to share the good news!
Ken and Collen Godard
The kindest couple who dearly love Jesus and the church