Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Of all people in the world, the last one you would expect to be living in the darkness and bondage of the Old Covenant is Abraham, "the father of the faithful."
God had already given him the sunlit promises of the New Covenant! (Gen. 12:2, 3). His taking Hagar for a second wife was entirely Sarah's unbelieving, Old Covenant idea. God had nothing to do with that trip into darkness. Nonetheless, Abraham plunged into it. Paul says that the Hagar chapter of Abraham's life was pure depression--"this Hagar is Mount Sinai," which because of unbelief, Israel turned into depression. These "things are symbolic," says Paul in his clear understanding in Galatians. The covenant "from Mount Sinai ... gives birth to bondage," which is always the horror of depression (read Gal. 4:21-31).
Some 430 years after Abraham, God tried to renew those bright New Covenant promises to Israel as they had come out of dark Egyptian slavery on their way to the Promised Land (Ex. 6:4-9). But Israel were Abraham's descendants who had to learn as he did the folly of Old Covenant promises. Likewise, God had nothing to do with Israel embracing their Old Covenant ideas at Sinai. He wanted to renew the same New Covenant with them (see Ex. 19:4-6), the same promises He had made to Abraham.
We lock ourselves into confusion if we try to interpret the covenants at Mount Sinai in any other way. Israel's slavery in Egypt had been a massive case of national depression. Would God at Sinai lead them back into that darkness? If we picture the character of our loving heavenly Father as One who deliberately led His people Israel into an Old Covenant spiritual bondage at Sinai, we distort His character.
The Old Covenant was not a preliminary step toward national salvation--that's twisting little text snippets with our own pre-set Old Covenant philosophy. Yes, He ratified their choice with animal blood; only in that sense can it be said that He "made" the Old Covenant with them--because that was what they insisted on. He had to let them take their long detour "under the law" until they could come to the place to be "justified by faith" as Abraham was (Gal. 3:19-24).
Now, you can believe today and skip the depression!
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: May 21, 2006.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."