Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.

Deuteronomy 7:9

How does Moses describe the promise or contract that God makes with his Chosen People? As a covenant of love. We might take God’s love for granted, after all “no greater love is there than this: a man lays down his life for his friends.” Jesus loves me, this I know. Christians have love baked into our understanding of God. But for the Israelites, God was a bringer of plagues, a punisher of wickedness, an avenger who killed the firstborn of the enemy. That same God, through their leader and prophet Moses said “the Lord loves you.”

Love is not only about affection. It is also about priority. God cared for his people, but more than that he was placing them in a special category apart from the other nations. So too, his people, those who love him, would be keeping him as holy and set apart and be faithful to his commandments. We should understand a covenant therefore as not only a legal document of laws but a promise based on shared love.

Ethan Kirl