What the Contract Stipulates

The LORD God told me to say to the people of Judah and Jerusalem:

I, the LORD, am warning you that I will put a curse on anyone who doesn’t keep the agreement I made with Israel. So pay attention to what it says. My commands haven’t changed since I brought your ancestors out of Egypt, a nation that seemed like a blazing furnace where iron ore is melted. I told your ancestors that if they obeyed my commands, I would be their God, and they would be my people. Then I did what I had promised and gave them this wonderful land, where you now live.
“Yes, LORD,” I replied, “that’s true.” (Jeremiah 11:1-5)

People change their minds. They make promises, but then circumstances arise and they find it easy to let them alter the agreement; they explain their promises away. They had good intentions, but how were they to know what would happen?

The prophets were not innovators. They did not bring a new message from God. Instead, they preached the old, old story, repeating what God expected: that his people would love him and love each other.

Israel had agreed to that contract with God. They had promised to do whatever he said. They did not have to agree to the contract. He rescued them from Egypt before he offered it to them. Their freedom and prosperity were not on the line. It wasn’t as if they were drowning in a lake and the lifeguard made them agree to pay a fortune before he’d save them. They were out of danger. And they decided to sign on the dotted line.

God reminded his people that he had not changed. That is a comfort, or should be a comfort: what God promises, he’ll do. God will never betray us, he’ll never go back on a promise. He’ll keep his word.

God wishes that human beings—that his people–would be more like him.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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