Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Broken Sinai Covenant and Pleading the Promise

More on Sinai:
This [covenant at Sinai and its priestly purpose] is an ideal picture. One serious problem remains. It is not Pharaoh this time but Israel itself. Separating the planning and description of the sanctuary (Exod. 25-31) from its construction in the middle of the camp (Exod. 35-40) is Israel’s sin (Exod. 32-34). . . . Within forty days, Israel breaks its covenant with God, violating the first and second commands. Impatient with waiting for Moses on the mountain, Israel creates an image of a golden calf to represent its God, and engages in false worship. The sin forces God to threaten to destroy Israel in agreement with the covenant and to start again with Moses. But Moses pleads (certainly not on the basis of the recently broken Sinai covenant) on the basis of the descendants promised in the covenant with Abraham as grounds for saving Israel (Exod. 32:13). It is only this reason that decisively moves God to have mercy on Israel.
Stephen G. Dempster, Dominion and Dynasty: A Theology of the Hebrew Bible (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2003), 104. Italics his. 

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