Mistaking the Blessings of the Covenant for the Requirements of the Covenant

The Message of the Prophetic Literature:
In approaching the question of the central message of prophetic literature, we should begin with the understanding of the prophets as messengers of the covenant God. Sent to a disobedient people, they were like modern-day revivalists, calling the people back to the faith of their fathers, the faith of the covenant promises to Abraham, Moses, and David. Thus they were not so much innovators as revivalists.

In their day, the people of the covenant had largely failed to keep its commands. They had fallen away from God and his covenant. The problem that the prophetic literature faces is that Israel did not realize or did not want to realize that they were living in apostasy.

They had mistaken the blessings of the covenant (God's presence in the Temple) for the requirements of the covenant (their own obedience). Rather than returning to the Lord in repentance and in obedience to his law, the people presumed upon God's presence among them saying, "Is not the Lord in our midst? Calamity will not come upon us" (Mic 3:11; cf. Jer 7:1-7).
—John Sailhamer, NIV Compact Bible Commentary, 362.
John Sailhamer
February 20, 2014


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