Day 217 – The Everlasting Covenant

Thoughts and Reflection

Today we read about God’s promise that everyone — including strangers — are brought into his covenant. He invites everyone who worships, loves him and keeps the Sabbath. If we let our view of the world be shaped by the Word of God, then we start to see things as God sees them. We love as God loves.

In Ezekiel, we hear about the story of Israel who is represented by an unborn child that no one wanted. God claims Israel and is nutured. Ezekiel tells the people how the adultery of a woman is the same as idolatry for God. We can make idols and love them, but they do not love us back. Only God can love us. Ezikiel proclaims that God will establish an everlasting covenant with his people. We see this reality expressed again by Jesus at the last supper. We have a house of prayer — the church — which brings us all into a saving covenant relationship with the Lord.

About This Project

For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!

Daily Readings

Isaiah 55

1 Oh, come to the water all you who are thirsty; though you have no money, come! Buy and eat; come, buy wine and milk without money, free!

2 Why spend money on what cannot nourish and your wages on what fails to satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and you will have goodthings to eat and rich food to enjoy.

3 Pay attention, come to me; listen, and you will live. I shall make an everlasting covenant with you in fulfilment of the favours promised to David.

4 Look, I have made him a witness to peoples, a leader and lawgiver to peoples.

5 Look, you will summon a nation unknown to you, a nation unknown to you will hurry to you for the sake of Yahweh your God, because the Holy One of Israel has glorified you.

6 Seek out Yahweh while he is still to be found, call to him while he is still near.

7 Let the wicked abandon his way and the evil one his thoughts. Let him turn back to Yahweh who will take pity on him, to our God, for he is rich in forgiveness;

8 for my thoughts are not your thoughts and your ways are not my ways, declares Yahweh.

9 For the heavens are as high above earth as my ways are above your ways, my thoughts above your thoughts.

10 For, as the rain and the snow come down from the sky and do not return before having watered the earth, fertilising it and making it germinate to provide seed for the sower and food to eat,

11 so it is with the word that goes from my mouth: it will not return to me unfulfilled or before having carried out my good pleasure and having achieved what it was sent to do.

12 Yes, you will go out with joy and be led away in safety. Mountains and hills will break into joyful cries before you and all the trees of the countryside clap their hands.

13 Cypress will grow instead of thorns, myrtle instead of nettles. And this will be fame for Yahweh, an eternal monument never to be effaced.

Isaiah 56

1 Thus says Yahweh: Make fair judgement your concern, act with justice, for soon my salvation will come and my saving justice be manifest.

2 Blessed is anyone who does this, anyone who clings to it, observing the Sabbath, not profaning it, and abstaining from every evil deed.

3 No foreigner adhering to Yahweh should say, ‘Yahweh will utterly exclude me from his people.’ No eunuch should say, ‘Look, I am a dried-up tree.’

4 For Yahweh says this: To the eunuchs who observe my Sabbaths and choose to do my good pleasure and cling to my covenant,

5 I shall give them in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I shall give them an everlasting name that will never be effaced.

6 As for foreigners who adhere to Yahweh to serve him, to love Yahweh’s name and become his servants, all who observe the Sabbath, not profaning it, and cling to my covenant:

7 these I shall lead to my holy mountain and make them joyful in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar, for my house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples.

8 Lord Yahweh who gathers the exiles of Israel declares: There are others I shall gather besides those already gathered.

9 Come and gorge, all you wild beasts, all you beasts of the forest!

10 Its watchmen are all blind, they know nothing. Dumb watchdogs all, unable to bark, they dream, lie down, and love to sleep.

11 Greedy dogs, never satisfied, such are the shepherds, who understand nothing; they all go their own way, each to the last man after his own interest.

12 ‘Come, let me fetch wine; we will get drunk on strong drink, tomorrow will be just as wonderful as today and even more so!’

Ezekiel 16

1 The word of Yahweh was addressed to me as follows,

2 ‘Son of man, confront Jerusalem with her loathsome practices!

3 Say, “The Lord Yahweh says this: By origin and birth you belong to the land of Canaan. Your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite.

4 At birth, the very day you were born, there was no one to cut your navel-string, or wash you in water to clean you, or rub you with salt, or wrap you in swaddling clothes.

5 No one looked at you with pity enough to do any of these things out of sympathy for you. You were exposed in the open fields in your own dirt on the day you were born.

6 “I saw you kicking on the ground in your blood as I was passing, and I said to you as you lay in your blood: Live!

7 and I made you grow like the grass of the fields. You developed, you grew, you reached marriageable age. Your breasts became firm and your hair grew richly, but you were stark naked.

8 Then I saw you as I was passing. Your time had come, the time for love. I spread my cloak over you and covered your nakedness; I gave you my oath, I made a covenant with you — declares the Lord Yahweh — and you became mine.

9 I bathed you in water, I washed the blood off you, I anointed you with oil.

10 I gave you embroidered dresses, fine leather shoes, a linen headband and a cloak of silk.

11 I loaded you with jewels, gave you bracelets for your wrists and a necklace for your throat.

12 I gave you nose-ring and earrings; I put a beautiful diadem on your head.

13 You were loaded with gold and silver and dressed in linen and silk and brocade. Your food was the finest flour, honey and oil. You grew more and more beautiful; and you rose to be queen.

14 The fame of your beauty spread through the nations, since it was perfect, because I had clothed you with my own splendour — declares the Lord Yahweh.

15 “But you became infatuated with your own beauty and used your fame to play the whore, lavishing your debauchery on all comers.

16 You took some of your clothes to make for yourself high places bright with colours and there you played the whore.

17 You also took your jewellery, made with my gold and silver which I had given you, and made yourself male images to serve your whorings.

18 You took your embroidered clothes and used these to dress them up, and you offered them my oil and my incense.

19 And the bread I gave you, the finest flour, the oil and honey with which I fed you, you offered them as a pleasing smell. “What is more — declares the Lord Yahweh-

20 you took the sons and daughters you had borne me and sacrificed them as food to the images. Was not your whoring enough in itself,

21 for you to slaughter my children and hand them over to be burnt in their honour?

22 And in all your loathsome practices and your whorings you never called your early days to mind, when you were stark naked, kicking on the ground in your own blood.

23 “To crown your wickedness — disaster upon you, disaster! declares the Lord Yahweh-

24 you built yourself a mound and made yourself a high place in every open space.

25 At the entry to every alley you made yourself a high place, defiling your beauty and opening your legs to all comers in countless actsof fornication.

26 You have also fornicated with your big-membered neighbours, the Egyptians, provoking my anger with further acts of fornication.

27 So now I have raised my hand against you, I have cut down on your food, I have put you at the mercy of your enemies, the Philistine women, who blush at your lewd behaviour.

28 Still unsatisfied, you prostituted yourself to the Assyrians; you played the whore with them, but were not satisfied even then.

29 You committed further acts of fornication in the country of merchants, with the Chaldaeans, and these did not satisfy you either.

30 “How simple-minded you are!-declares the Lord Yahweh — for although you do all the things that a professional prostitute would,

31 in building a mound and making yourself a high place in every street, you do not act like a proper prostitute because you disdain to take a fee.

32 An adulteress welcomes strangers instead of her husband.

33 All prostitutes accept presents, but you give presents to all your lovers, you bribe them to come from all over the place to fornicate with you!

34 In fornicating, you are the opposite of other women, since no one runs after you to fornicate with you; since you give the fee and do not get one, you are the very opposite!

35 “Very well, whore, hear the word of Yahweh!

36 The Lord Yahweh says this: For having squandered your money and let yourself be seen naked while whoring with your lovers and all the foul idols of your loathsome practices and for giving them your children’s blood-

37 for all this, I shall assemble all the lovers to whom you have given pleasure, all the ones you liked and also all the ones you disliked; yes, I shall assemble them round you and strip you naked in front of them, and let them see you naked from head to foot.

38 I shall pass on you the sentence that adulteresses and murderesses receive; I shall hand you over to their jealous fury;

39 I shall hand you over to them; they will destroy your mound and pull down your high place; they will tear off your clothes, take away your jewels and leave you stark naked.

40 Then they will call an assembly of citizens to deal with you, who will stone you to death and hack you to pieces with their swords,

41 and burn down your premises and execute justice on you, while many other women look on; and I shall put an end to your whoring: no more paid lovers for you!

42 Once my fury is exhausted with you, then my jealousy will leave you; I shall be calm and not angry any more.

43 Since you never called to mind your early days and have done nothing but provoke me, now I in my turn shall bring your conduct down on your own head — declares the Lord Yahweh! “Have you not added this lewd behaviour to your other loathsome practices?

44 So now all dealers in proverbs will apply this one to you: Like mother, like daughter.

45 Yes; you are a true daughter of your mother, who hated her husband and her children; you are a true sister of your sisters, who hated their husbands and their children. Your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite.

46 Your elder sister is Samaria, who lives to the north of you with her daughters. Your younger sister is Sodom, who lives to the south of you with her daughters.

47 You never failed to imitate their behaviour and copy their loathsome practices, and soon your behaviour was more corrupt than theirs was.

48 As I live — declares the Lord Yahweh — your sister Sodom and her daughters never did what you and your daughters have done.

49 The crime of your sister Sodom was pride, gluttony, calm complacency; such were hers and her daughters’ crimes. They never helped the poor and needy;

50 they were proud, and engaged in loathsome practices before me, and so I swept them away as you have seen.

51 And yet Samaria never committed half the crimes that you have. “You have done more loathsome things than they have. By all your loathsome practices you have made your sisters seem innocent,

52 and now you bear the shame of which you have freed your sisters; since the sins which you have committed are more revolting than theirs, they are more upright than you are. So now, bear the disgrace and shame of having put your sisters in the right.

53 “I shall restore their fortunes, I shall restore Sodom and her daughters, I shall re- store Samaria and her daughters, and then I shall restore your fortune with theirs,

54 so that you can bear your shame and disgrace for all you have done, and so console them.

55 When your sisters, Sodom and her daughters, are restored to what they were, and Samaria and her daughters are restored to what they were, then you too and your daughters will be restored to what you were.

56 Did you not gloat over your sister Sodom when you were so proud,

57 before you were stripped naked? Like her, you are now the laughing-stock of the women of Edom, of all the women round, of the women of Philistia, who pour out their contempt on you.

58 You have brought this on yourself, with your lewdness and your loathsome practices — declares the Lord Yahweh.

59 “For the Lord Yahweh says this: I shall treat you as you have deserved for making light of an oath and breaking a covenant,

60 but I shall remember my covenant with you when you were a girl and shall conclude a covenant with you that will last for ever.

61 And you for your part will remember your behaviour and feel ashamed of it when you receive your elder and younger sisters and I make them your daughters, although this is not included in my covenant with you.

62 I shall renew my covenant with you; and you will know that I am Yahweh,

63 and so remember and feel ashamed and in your confusion be reduced to silence, when I forgive you for everything you have done — declares the Lord Yahweh.” ‘

Proverbs 13:1-4

1 A wise child listens to a father’s discipline, a cynic will not listen to reproof.

2 The fruit of the mouth provides a good meal, but the soul of the treacherous feeds on violence.

3 A guard on the mouth makes life secure, whoever talks too much is lost.

4 The idler hungers but has no food; hard workers get their fill.

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