Relevance of the covenantal relationship

“O give thanks to the Lord for He is good; for His love endures for ever. Who can tell the Lord’s mighty deeds? Who can recount all his praise? They are happy who do what is right, who at all times do what is just. O Lord, remember me out of the love You have for Your people. Come to me, Lord, with Your help that I may see the joy of Your chosen ones and may rejoice in the gladness of Your nation and share the glory of Your people.”

“Our sin is the sin of our fathers; we have done wrong, our deeds have been evil. Our fathers when they were in Egypt paid no heed to Your wonderful deeds. They forgot the greatness of Your love, at the Red Sea defied the Most High. Yet He saved them for the sake of His Name, in order to make known His power. He threatened the Red Sea; it dried up and He led them through the deep as through the desert. He saved them from the hand of the foe; He saved them from the grip of the enemy. The waters covered their oppressors; not one of them was left alive. Then they believed in His words: then they sang His praises. But they soon forgot His deeds and would not wait upon His will. They yielded to their cravings in the desert and put God to the test in the wilderness. He granted them the favor they asked and sent disease among them. Then they rebelled, envious of Moses and of Aaron, who was holy to the Lord. The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan and buried the clan of Abiram. Fire blazed up against their clan and flames devoured the rebels.”

“They fashioned a calf at Horeb and worshiped an image of metal, exchanging the God who was their glory for the image of a bull that eats grass. They forgot the God who was their savior, who had done such great things in Egypt, such portents in the land of Ham, such marvels at the Red Sea. For this He said He would destroy them, but Moses, the man He had chosen, stood in the breach before Him, to turn back His anger from destruction. Then they scorned the land of promise: they had no faith in His word. They complained inside their tents and would not listen to the voice of the Lord. So He raised His hand to swear an oath that He would lay them low in the desert; would scatter their sons among the nations and disperse them throughout the lands. They bowed before the Baal of Peor; ate offerings made to lifeless gods. They roused Him to anger with their deeds and plague broke out among them. Then Phinehas stood up and intervened. Thus the plague was ended and this was counted in his favor from age to age for ever. They provoked Him at the waters of Meribah. Through their fault it went ill with Moses; for they made his heart grow bitter and he uttered words that were rash.”

“They failed to destroy the peoples as the Lord had given command, but instead they mingled with the nations and learned to act as they did. They worshipped the idols of the nations and these became a snare to entrap them. They even offered their own sons and their daughters in sacrifice to demons. They shed the blood of the innocent, the blood of their sons and daughters whom they offered to the idols of Canaan. The land was polluted with blood. So they defiled themselves by their deeds and broke their marriage bond with the Lord till His anger blazed against His people; He was filled with horror at His chosen ones. So He gave them into the hand of the nations and their foes became their rulers. Their enemies became their oppressors; they were subdued beneath their hand. Time after time He rescued them, but in their malice they dared to defy Him and sank low through their guilt. In spite of this He paid heed to their distress, so often as He heard their cry. For their sake He remembered His covenant. In the greatness of His love He relented and He let them be treated with mercy by all who held them captive. O Lord, our God, save us! Bring us together from among the nations that we may thank Your holy Name and make it our glory to praise You” (Ps 106:1-47).