…lest some poisonous weed sprout and spread among you, a person who hears the words of the Covenant-oath but exempts himself, thinking, “I’ll live just the way I please, thank you,” and ends up ruining life for everybody. Deuteronomy 29:18 (MSG)
Much of the life-pain any of us experience can be traced back to the type of covenant breaking attitude expressed in this verse from today’s chapter. Moses was dealing specifically with the laws God gave him for the nation of Israel, but in any society the laws and social constructs are a covenant between the people and the community around them. I have both experienced this pain due to the wreckless attitude of others and have heedlessly broken covenant which has created considerable pain to others.
- “I’ll live the way I please, thank you” breaking covenant with my community by getting drunk and then getting behind the wheel of a car to the endangerment of everyone in my path.
- “I’ll live the way I please, thank you” breaking covenant with spouse by sleeping with another, thus wreaking havoc in expanding concentric circles of family, friends, community and society.
- “I’ll live the way I please, thank you” breaking covenant by ending another human life, thus denying the being and the community to benefit from the touch and limitless potential good of that life, permanently diminishing my own soul and respect for life on the whole of the community.
- “I’ll live the way I please, thank you” by refusing to work and contribute to society when I am perfectly capable of doing so, choosing to drain the society of resources as I drain my own soul of purpose and dignity.
- “I’ll live the way I please, thank you” breaking covenant by turning a selfish eye away from the needs of others to focus on myself, thus expanding societal problems while reducing the health of my own soul.
- “I’ll live the way I please, thank you” breaking covenant by cheating on studies, taxes, time cards, and/or responsibilities, thus slowly eroding my own character and breaking covenant with the community as a whole.
Our penchant for breaking covenant, in small ways or large ways, hurts ourselves, our loved ones, and our community. And still, we choose to do so. God made a covenant with human beings who could not, would not keep covenant with Him. Covenant, and our breaking of it, reminds us all of our need for grace and forgiveness – and our need of a saviour who will save us from our own selfish attitudes, words, and actions.