10 And he said, “See, I am making a covenant. In front of all your people I will do miracles, such as have not been done in all the land or in any nation. And all the people among whom you reside will see the work of the LORD, for it is an terrifying thing that I will do with you. 11 “Observe what I command you this day. See, I will remove from you the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 12 Be careful not to make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you are going, or else it will become a trap in your middle of your camp. 13 You should tear down their altars and break their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim 14 (because you should worship no other god, because the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), 15 because when you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when they lust after their gods and sacrifice to their gods and you are invited, you eat of his sacrifice, 16 and you take of their daughters for your sons, and their daughters lust after their gods and make your sons lust after their gods. 17 “You should not make for yourself any gods out of cast metal. 18 “You should keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Seven days you should eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month Abib, because in the month Abib you came out from Egypt. 19 All that open the womb are mine, all your male livestock, the firstborn of cow and sheep. 20 The firstborn of a donkey you should redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you should break its neck. All the firstborn of your sons you should redeem. And none should appear before me empty-handed. 21 “Six days you should work, but on the seventh day you should rest. In plowing time and in harvest you should rest. 22 You should observe the Feast of Weeks, the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the year’s end. 23 Three times in the year should all your males appear before the LORD God, the God of Israel. 24 Because I will remove nations from around you and enlarge your borders; so no one will seek your land, when you go up to appear before the LORD your God three times in the year. 25 “You should not offer the blood of my sacrifice with anything leavened, or let the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover remain until the morning. 26 You should bring the best of the firstfruits from your soil into the house of the LORD your God. You should not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.”
retrying the covenant
Moses had asked the LORD to retry the covenant – the one that had not even been ratified before the Israelites broke it with a frenzy of uncontrolled idolatry. The LORD consented to retry the relationship. But he also warned that the temptation to rebel and lust after other gods would remain among the Israelites.
The LORD could have “zapped” the Israelites and forced them to never think about betraying him. But he chose not to. He wanted a real relationship, based on shared trust and mutual responsibility. He did not want puppets he could manipulate to his own liking, nor did he want his people manipulating him. A mutual covenant between God and his people was the LORD’s idea. It still is.
So, the sovereignty/freedom paradox continues to this day. God is in control of everything, and we are responsible to him. The Bible teaches both truths. Trusting God does not require our figuring that paradox out.
LORD, we surrender to your new covenant through Christ. Thank you for drawing us to yourself.