Key Verse: “Thus shall they be unto thee with whom thou hast laboured, even thy merchants, from thy youth: they shall wander every one to his quarter; none shall save thee.”
JEHOVAH’S PROMISE OF life has always been dependent upon obedience. While obedience rightly leads to blessings, God’s perfect justice requires that disobedience will in like manner lead to death. The perfect life given to Adam was dependent upon obedience to divine instructions concerning the food provided for his sustenance. He was permitted to eat of every tree of the garden except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The penalty for disobeying this instruction would be death. (Gen. 2:9,16,17) When Adam disobeyed, God’s justice required the death sentence be carried out.—Gen. 3:17-19
Adam’s act of disobedience set in motion man’s continual battle with good versus evil, and between obedience and disobedience to the Creator. Yet, even at this very first appearance of sin and disobedience by man, Jehovah manifested his love and mercy with a hint of future redemption through a “seed” or offspring that would satisfy justice and bring about man’s release from condemnation. Speaking to Satan, who had appeared in the form of a serpent, God said: “I will make you and the woman hate each other; her offspring and yours will always be enemies. Her offspring will crush your head, and you will bite her offspring’s heel.”—Gen. 3:15, Good News Bible
In the course of time, God called the nation of Israel to be his special people. It was his desire that they be a nation above all others through obedience to the Law Covenant delivered to them through Moses. (Exod. 19:5,6) This covenant arrangement, through its various laws and ceremonies, would bring blessings for obedience and punishments for disobedience. Having been miraculously delivered from Egypt, the people enthusiastically spoke in one voice saying, “All that the Lord hath spoken we will do.” (vs. 8) However, in their imperfect state none could render complete obedience to the provisions of the Law. Later, the Apostle Paul wrote, “All who depend on obeying the law are under a curse. It is written, May everyone who doesn’t continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law be under God’s curse.” (Gal. 3:10, New International Reader’s Version) Thus, the Law arrangement could not redeem mankind. However, Jesus, who kept all God’s laws perfectly, opened up the opportunity for redemption for both Jew and Gentile.
Though the Law brought destruction instead of perfection, the Apostle Paul said that its real purpose was as a “schoolmaster” to lead Israel to Christ. (Gal. 3:24) He reminded them that Jehovah had long ago made a promise to Abraham of future blessings through his “seed, which is Christ.” Paul further taught that those who belong to Christ are also counted as part of Abraham’s seed and, hence, are “heirs according to the promise.” (vss. 16,29) To be part of this “seed” of promise does not require perfection in this life, but obedience of heart intent and the development of spiritual fruitage. (John 15:8; Gal. 5:22,23) Let us take heed to the warning of our Key Verse, lest we fail of God’s grace so abundantly manifested to us. May we be obedient, giving diligence to make our “calling and election sure.”—II Pet. 1:10