Man in the Moon 5 - God’s Covenant and the Moon
The plan of Salvation was laid out before the foundations of the world and is more intricate in design than the patterns and cycles of the moon. The First Covenant of the LORD was given to the people at the same time God gave The Feasts and the Decalogue, (Ex 19:1-24:11). Sadly, God knew man was incapable of living up to either His Perfection, or His Covenant, in fact it took less than the 40 days Moses was on the mountain receiving the tablets of stone for Israel to break the covenant. God wanted Israel to hear His own voice as He made this pact of love with them, God so longed to be near His children, He came as near as He possibly could without His very Presence destroying His creation, (Ex 19: 16-22). The mountain full of dark clouds, thunder and lightening quivered due to the nearness of the presence of God. But see how God warns Moses not to let the people any further, lest they come too close to Gods awesome presence, Ex 19:23-24 23 Moses replied, “The people cannot come up the mountain. You warned us to stay away because it is holy.” 24 Then the Lord told Moses, “Go down and bring Aaron back here with you. But the priests and people must not try to push their way through, or I will rush at them like a flood!” (CEV). God knew the proximity of His holy presence to sinful man would consume and destroy them, but He still desired to come as close as He could because of His Great Love.
God intentionally made a treatise covenant with Israel designed to strip away any illusion that man could do it on his own; just as Israel’s wanderings in the desert forty years stripped the first generation of any illusion they would ever set foot in the promise land. The 1400 years recorded in the Bible from Moses coming down the mountain and finding Israel in the revelry of a golden calf to the Apocryphal Maccabeus accounts shows us our righteousness is but an illusion and we are incapable of living up to Gods Covenant. Jeremiah mentions this in vs. 31-32. Remember the first Tabernacle was a temporary structure, more precisely the tent of meeting, they tore it down and erected it wherever they went, (Ex 26-28). God gave implicit instructions to every aspect of the construction of the Tabernacle, including all of its sundry items, the priests, their garb and even what, how, where and when they were to sacrifice and worship.
Jeremiah prophesies concerning the new covenant of the LORD and all it portends, Jeremiah 31:31-38, 31“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. 33“But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34“They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” 35Thus says the Lord, Who gives the sun for light by day And the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; The Lord of hosts is His name: 36“If this fixed order departs From before Me,” declares the Lord, “Then the offspring of Israel also will cease From being a nation before Me forever.” 37 Thus says the Lord, “If the heavens above can be measured And the foundations of the earth searched out below, Then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel For all that they have done,” declares the Lord. (NASB95)
The original Covenant was filled with ritual and used sacrificing animals to make a covering for, or stave off the required punishment for sin. Gods New Covenant, (JE 31:33-34), was not a list of rules man could never live up to, it was giving His own Son; Christ came to live a life that was the example. By being seen, handled and experienced, God through Christ, could show how much He loved His children and how we were to love Him. Christ was able to touch and be touched, to interact with mankind in a way that God could not at Mt. Sinai.
How sadly ironic, Israel was condemning itself by disobeying Exodus 20:3-5 at the same time God was giving them a way to have Life in Him. 3 “You shall have no other gods before Me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. 5 “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me. (NASB 95) We know from Exodus 24:18 that Moses was on the mountain with God 40 days and 40 nights, the people may have waited for a while, but before Moses returned, while the Covenant was still being laid out on the mountain, the people were preparing to break that covenant by worshipping the golden calf they were making below, (Ex 32).
How great must have been Gods anger and grief, while the wedding vows were being drawn up, the bride was having an affair and was caught in the very act. In Exodus 32:7 God Himself tells Moses the people have corrupted, or more precisely, crushed and destroyed themselves, 7 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Go down at once, for your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. (NASB 95) The Hebrew word translated corrupted is, שָׁחַת “shachat”, this is the same word used in Gen 6:11. I will use The Message translation here because it has a unique shading of the meaning of this Hebrew word, 11 As far as God was concerned, the Earth had become a sewer; there was violence everywhere. (MES)
What was God to do? His word plainly said they were libel to the third and fourth generations for the sins of the father. God did not wait until that entire generation died during the 40 years of wandering in the desert to renew His Covenant with Israel so great was His Love.
So why would the Jeremiah passage include verses 35-40. concerning Gods new covenant? Scripture also tells us in Hebrews 12:8 that Israel actions made them illegitimate children and not sons in Gods sight, 8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. (NASB95)
As Gods chosen people, Israel was as important to life as was the sun, moon and even the stars, without them, life would cease, (vs. 35-37). The Feasts were as much a part of Gods covenant with Israel as the words of the covenant, (Ex 34:10-28). The Feasts were more than ceremony, they were to be a continuing ordinance for Israel all their days after they took possession of the promised land, to remind them of their vow with the LORD.