“O Master, great and august God. You never waver in your covenant commitment, never give up on those who love you and do what you say. Yet we have sinned in every way imaginable. We’ve done evil things, rebelled, dodged and taken detours around your clearly marked paths. We’ve turned a deaf ear to your servants the prophets, who preached your Word to our kings and leaders, our parents, and all the people in the land. You have done everything right, Master, but all we have to show for our lives is guilt and shame, the whole lot of us—people of Judah, citizens of Jerusalem, Israel at home and Israel in exile in all the places we’ve been banished to because of our betrayal of you. Oh yes, God, we’ve been exposed in our shame, all of us—our kings, leaders, parents—before the whole world. And deservedly so, because of our sin.”–Daniel 3: 4-8 (The Message)
Have you ever been asked by someone to keep a promise or asked someone to keep a promise for you? In asking or being asked, we trust that they will keep the promise for us or that we will keep the promise for them. Yet sometimes we sin and break that promise. Breaking a promise doesn’t feel very good, does it?
God make a covenant promise with each of us. Yet every day we screw up and sin–in every way imaginable. One doesn’t need to look far to see the evil things that have occurred. Or to see the ways in which we have rebelled in the world. Or the ways we have taken detours instead of your clearly marked paths. We are guilty of turning a deaf ear to your servants the prophets. We are guilty of having blind eyes to our neighbors who are in need of our love and protection.
In watching the daily news, my heart breaks because of how broken and sinful our world is. I wonder why we fail and don’t seem to trust in the covenant promise that you have given us. Often you send a rainbow in the sky after a summer rain to remind us of this very promise. Yet much like the rainbow vanishes quickly, we too quickly forget and begin to sin again and again.
We are in no way perfect. In fact, there is no way that we can be “perfect as our heavenly father is perfect.” Yet we can do better. We can fully trust in that covenant promise that you gave to Noah, and to Abraham and to each of us. Help us to turn from evil ways. Guide us as we stay on the path you have clearly marked for us. Open our eyes to see those who are in need of love and protection in this world. Help us to turn to you and rebel against the ways of this world. Open our ears to hear your servants the prophets.
God sealed this covenant promise when God sent God’s One and only son into the world; not to condemn it but to save it. Perhaps it is high time that we cling to that promise and trust that God will never break God’s promise with us even when we screw up because we are simultaneously saints and sinners in need of God’s grace given to us in this covenant promise.