I am working through the Gospel of Luke in our Bible Study on Wednesdays at Westwood Baptist Church. I was struck today by a difference in the consequences to obedience during both the Old Covenant and New Covenant periods.
A fundamental aspect of God’s promises to Israel in her obedience was earthly blessing (see Exodus 23:22-33 & Deuteronomy 28). Israel’s obedience equals a land flowing of milk and honey, prosperity, peace from enemies, etc. Yet, when one considers what obedience brings for God’s Church is poverty, an absence of physical blessings.
In Luke chapters 5 & 6, a common theme of newness pervades the stories (new wine in old wineskins; fasting, new disciples). And in Luke 6:20-26, Jesus is holding out to his disciples comfort because of what is their’s by virture of right relation with God through Christ. Yet, in the way of physical blessings, Jesus does not hold out much promise.Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!
I heard one pastor categorize the Old Covenant as “come and see” and the New Covenant as “go and tell”. I would add that in the Old Covenant God’s glory was particularly displayed in the glory of Israel’s prosperity while in the New Covenant, God’s glory is particularly displayed in the glory of God’s people faithfully clinging to God in spite of persecution.
*Note this is a general principle, but does not mean there are no exceptions.