So it is important to consider, as a follower of Christ, what does it mean to be the covenant faithful in the world today? Wisdom and covenant faithfulness have to do with individual lives as they relate to the community of faith and our role in the world.
In Deuteronomy 6 Moses challenges the people to keep God’s commandments so that it may go well with them, they are also to teach them to their children and not forget; especially when they come into the Promised Land and there is the temptation of the gods around them they need to be faithful to God. A significant part of the passage of Deut 6 talks about how when their children ask them why they should follow the law, they are to tell about God’s deliverance and power and how he gave them the commandments for their lasting good to keep them alive. Proverbs 1:2-7 also refers to the fact that the proverbs are given so that the people (both simple and wise) will basically learn to live in community in a ‘righteous, just and equitable’ way. Why should they live like that? The same reason that God gave them the covenant, for their good! Deuteronomy 28 contrasts the different results between whether the people stay faithful to the covenant or if they turn away, there will either be life or death. Again there is the dichotomy between the two. Deuteronomy 28 and Proverbs line up so well beside each other because they show that choosing God’s way leads to life, but choosing the way of the foolish leads to death. However, is it just life for the individual or death for the individual? No, it is community-wide. God judges Israel as a whole and blesses them as a whole, in the same way, our actions do not only affect us but they affect the whole.
This leads into the thought that in both Proverbs and the passages of Deuteronomy following God’s covenant will affect every area of their life, from the food they eat to their enemies around them. Likewise, if they are not faithful to God’s covenant with them then they will experience judgement in every area of their lives from their children, to their harvests, to their enemies, and even their reputation. Being faithful to God’s covenant was much bigger than simply obeying God’s commandments regarding the temple and the sacrifices; being faithful to God’s covenant had to do with their heart. “Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the Lord swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” (Deut 30:19b-20) It would affect all the areas of their life. Proverbs 1:2-7 also encompasses all areas of life, because they are about learning about wisdom, gaining instruction about wise dealing, righteousness, justice, and equity, teaching shrewdness, knowledge, prudence, learning and acquiring skill. If I put these in today’s terminology they would say: business, morality, law, economics, common (street) sense, education, rhetoric, trades.
So what does it mean to be the ‘covenant faithful’ today? It means that I allow God’s wisdom to affect every area of my life. Moreover, I need to look at how my actions affect the bigger picture; not just myself but my community. I need to be faithful to God not only in Spirit but in action and obedience to what He calls me to in His Word. This is what wisdom really is, letting God’s Spirit and timeless truths in His Word shape how I live, not to only agree in my head but to put feet to my actions. Also, I need to realize that my actions affect my community and that God desires that I have a positive affect on my community. I am responsible for how my community lives in some way.
I have to admit that I am not very good at this, my decisions usually only consider myself and maybe Ben and the kids. If I am tired, I don’t think about how my negative down attitude could affect my coworkers. My pride actually stems from individualism, and not a community mindset, because I am more concerned about building myself up than others. If I was truly more community oriented and kingdom focused, and I saw something that I judged that could be done better, I would find a way to help without having to take credit for the improvement. I am focused on living a life that is pleasing to God by: having integrity, being faithful to my husband, having time set apart with God, prayer, and other ‘disciplines’. I see that these things are all very ‘me’ focused and, though not wrong in themselves, they need to be balanced with actions that build up others and the community that I live in.