Our Cry to the Creator and Covenant God

How long, O God?
This has been our cry from the beginning.
How long until you rescue us? How long until you set things right?
Rescue us
Our world is broken and we are broken and we need you to make all things new.
You created us and you promised us. Save us, O God!
All through Scripture, God reveals himself as Creator God and as Covenant God. He is the one who made us and he is the one who promised to restore us.
Over and over again, Israel cries out for rescue to the Creator God who has an obligation to his creation and to the Covenant God who has an obligation to be faithful to the promises he has made.
creation and covenant
The Psalms are full of the bringing together of these two aspects of God.
Psalm 19 begins by praising God for his power in creation, The heavens declare the glory of God, and ends by praising God for the beauty in his covenant law, The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul.
Psalm 74 begins by pleading with God to remember his covenant people, Remember your congregation, which you have purchased of old and ends by reminding him of his power and ownership over creation, Yours is the day, yours also the night.
The covenant was given to solve the problems in creation. God calls Abraham and establishes Israel as his people to hold to the covenant. Through Israel, God will solve the problems of the world, bringing justice and salvation to the nations.
Creation is invoked by the prophets of Israel to solve the problems within the covenant. “When Israel is in trouble, and the covenant promises themselves seem to have come crashing to the ground, the people cry to the covenant God precisely as the creator.”
creation and covenant
It did, indeed, seem that the covenant promises came crashing down.
Israel was supposed to be God’s messenger to the nations, but instead tried to achieve a covenant status for itself alone. What did God do? Abandon the covenant and move to a vastly different Plan B in Jesus?
He most certainly did not. God remains true to his covenant, to his plan, even when man proves false.
“…he will require a representative Israelite who will be faithful…to God’s purpose not only for Israel but through Israel for the world…we see God’s covenant faithfulness operating through the faithfulness of Jesus the Messiah. Precisely as Messiah, he offers God that representative faithfulness to the plan of salvation through which the plan can go ahead at last, Abraham can have a worldwide family, and the long entail of Adam’s sin and death can be undone through his obedience.”
It is through Jesus that the one who created us and our world is able to fulfill his covenant to restore us and our world.
creation
 covenant
We see this displayed beautifully in Isaiah 40-55, that great passage in which the prophet lays out God’s entire plan for rescue.
In chapter 40, YHWH is beseeched as the sovereign creator in whom Israel can trust completely. In 55, there is celebration of the way in which his Word will have the same effect of restoring Israel that the rain and snow have in making the earth fruitful.
Creation and covenant.
In between, in chapter 51, Creator God is declared to also be the Covenant God whose Word will rescue and deliver his people from the enemy.
The covenant will be renewed and thus creation will be renewed. When God rescues Israel, the nations will share in the blessing. And “the human blessing is the means by which God the creator, who made humans in his image to be his stewards in his world, will renew the whole creation itself.”
And all this, says Isaiah, through the Messiah. This Messiah, we now know, is both the Word of God and the one in whom all things were created. Paul tells us that the image of the invisible God, the true fulfillment of Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, both was the first born of all creation and in him all things were created AND was the first born from the dead and through him God reconciled all things to himself.
Jesus himself is the point where creation and covenant come together.
creation
covenant
Jesus is the means by which God has done what, “as creator, he has the power and right to do, and what, as the covenant God, he has the responsibility to do.” Through Jesus, God has set things right again. He has set in motion the restoration of creation and has killed sin and death on the cross.
Which brings us back to where we began.
How long, O God?
How long until you rescue us? How long until you set things right?
creation and covenant
Praise be to our God! Through the obedience of Messiah and the power of his Spirit, our Creator and Covenant God has already done it.
To hear my blog post read aloud, just click the play button. If you’re reading this in an email, you may have to click here to hear the post on my site.

Credits: These ideas, and all of the quotations, come from N. T. Wright and his book, Paul. I have merely synthesized and condensed them for you. The painting of Peter drowning is an excerpt from a fresco inside the cathedral of Maria Saal in Austria. All photographs are mine.

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