I have been studying the Old Testament for the past three months and really focusing on God's covenantal relationship with Israel, and what that has meant for the redemption and restoration of His creation. The Garden of Eden represents the relationship God intended and intends to have with His Creation. He gave Adam and Eve a command, "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat you shall surely die." (Gen. 2:17). The following exchange took place between the serpent and the woman, Eve:
"Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree in the garden?'
And the woman said to the serpent, 'We may eat the fruit of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'
Then the serpent said to the woman, 'You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good an evil.'
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.'" Genesis 3:1-6
We are warned in Deuteronomy 28 of the Blessings for Obedience and the Curses for Disobedience. The result of Eve's deceptive relationship with the serpent was such that, "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel." Gen. 3:15
As I journeyed through the major and minor prophets, one thing became abundantly clear to me. God's desire for covenantal relationship is always predicated upon His love for us and requires our obedience. As I read Amos, Isaiah, and Hosea I became overwhelmed with how deeply our disobedience affects God. His punishment and wrath are the result of our hardness of heart, yet intertwined in that judgment is always the theme of hope and mercy. He allowed Israel to suffer the consequence of their sin time and time again, from the Assyrian army to the exile to Babylon. Yet hope is wrapped up in Isaiah's promise for the messianic, Davidic King-Jesus.
So, I asked myself, where did the Israelites go wrong? Where did the desire for the Baals, Molechs, Lo Debars, Ashtoreths and all foreign gods come from when they had YHWH? It is simple, they ignored the Sianitic Covenant, where Moses presented the TEN COMMANDMENTS. In a time where geography and dominion were intertwined, religion and politics, the Israelites reasoned that although YHWH had promised to act on their behalf, they would mix in the storm god Baal into their worship as a double assurance that their vineyards and crops would flourish. They looked at the nations around them, and combined the worship of YHWH with the ways of the world. The TEN COMMANDMENTS were the compass or foundation of Torah (Law) which would have prevented them from committing the many sins YHWH had against them.
1. You shall have no other Gods before me
2. You shall not make for yourself a carved image...and bow down to them
3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain
4. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy
5. Honour your father and your mother
6. You shall not murder
7. you shall not commit adultery
8. You shall not steal
9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour
10. You shall not covet your neighbour's wife
Doesn't the story of the Israelites often mirror our own human failings before God? Don't we often try to combine faith in YHWH with faith in man, money, position and power? We are entering a new season of God's tremendous grace and outpouring of His Holy Spirit. I sense Him calling us all to OBEDIENCE. I pray for our entire BGO family, that GOD would grant us obedient hearts...that we would hearken unto the voice of His Holy Spirit and obey His Word. The grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ in the New Testament, is a fulfillment of God's plan that began in the Old Testament. Jesus is the Yom Kippur, Leviticus 16 Atonement Sacrifice, once and for all expiation for our sins. His blood washes us, it cleanses us and renews us SO THAT WE CAN ENTER INTO THE HOLY OF HOLIES IN THE PRESENCE OF A HOLY GOD, to do His will in this generation.