Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go. Isaiah 48:17
As people still enduring this pandemic exile, we receive words from YaHWeH handed down at least twenty-six centuries ago. God will teach us to thrive if we follow him in the way we should go. So how do we know how to follow? If 42 is infinite and awesome, how can we possibly comprehend him?
Two decades ago, I sat in a classroom of one of the most powerful little ladies I have ever experienced: Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Platt. This woman, one of the first to be ordained in our denomination, taught us how to live in covenant with the Triune God of Grace. Her teaching was based on the ancient scriptures and reflected in the archaeology of the era.
The covenant agreement reflects the ancient treaty structure used by a suzerain (an emperor or state) who has some control over another state that in itself is autonomous (self-governing). The treaty calls for the lesser state to honor the emperor and play well with their fellow states. In return, the suzerain offers protection and prosperity for those states. Break this relationship, and there are consequences. Keep this covenant, and there is peace and prosperity.
This should sound familiar:
And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”
Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28-31
Our great Suzerain offers us his love, mercy, and care. He asks in return that we love him back with all that we are and demonstrate his love toward our fellow heads of state.