Day 16

Saturday, March 6
Exodus 23:20-25:40

You want to know that a child is serious about a commitment? Don’t just ask them to promise. Ask them to pinky promise. Similar to upping the ante on a dare to a double dog dare, the pinky promise is the most sacred of vows. While we can’t be sure whether God asked Moses and the Israelites to pinky promise, today’s reading does include a very significant commitment.

In chapter 24 God makes a covenant with Israel. This is one of four times in the Old Testament when God establishes a covenant relationship. These partnerships seek to restore the relationship between God and humanity that was broken in the Garden of Eden. Moses and his not so merry band of wanderers are not the only people God wants a restored relationship with, but they are where God will start. This is a big deal. So, naturally the Israelites eagerly agree. Several times in this passage they say,

“Everything that the Lord has said we will do.”

I love this little sentence. At this point God has said a lot of things. You know, you just read them. Ten commandments, followed by fifty more commandments. God has given Israel a lot of guidelines and rules for life, many of which sound over the top and burdensome to our ears. One could understand if Israel’s response would have been a little less enthusiastic. Maybe they could just commit to doing most of what the Lord has commanded?

I like to think that this was like the step up from promise to pinky promise. The people know that they owe everything to God. God saw them. God rescued them. God continues to provide for them.

This might be a spoiler, but you shouldn’t be too surprised to find out that Israel did not manage to do everything the Lord commanded. They failed and made mistakes. On this day, during this ceremony, they probably knew in their hearts that they wouldn’t be perfect. The thing is, that didn’t matter.

In some ways we aren’t all that different from the people of Israel. God has seen us, rescued us, and continues to provide for us. God wants our relationship restored. We will fail and we will make mistakes, but that doesn’t matter.

The question is how will we respond to God? What will it take for us to say,

“Everything that the Lord has said we will do.”

Reflection by Denee Bowers

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