“How important is the idea of covenant sanctions in the week’s readings? (Readings from the King James version of the Bible.)”
What are sanctions? The idea of sanctions is that if you do something wrong you will have to pay for it. For example, if you rob someone, now negative sanctions will come upon you. Sanctions can also be positive. If you help or serve someone, you may feel happy. That would be positive sanctions.
A covenant is an agreement between two parties to do something. In terms of the Bible, the covenant was between God and the people of Israel.
Covenantal sanctions are extremely important in the Bible, if not the central part of it. For example, God through Moses gave the people the Ten Commandments to live by. If they disobeyed these guidelines, God would bring negative sanctions upon them.
Another example is the incident in which Moses went onto Mount Sinai to collect the Ten Commandments. The people lost faith and created a false God—the golden calf. Their negative sanction for this was to wander in the wilderness for forty years.
The idea of sanctions has come down to us in Western Civilization and has manifested as part of our society today. Criminals are punished. A righteous person is rewarded. The free market economy is an excellent example of this.
If you have a business you are selling some good or service to the consumers. Let’s say you sell art. Perhaps your own. You decide to paint a new line of paintings on farms. Now, the audience you have in that particular place is mostly farmers and they don’t want to be seeing farms not only all day long but also inside their homes. So, your paintings just won’t sell. You aren’t making any money and you are forced to change your paintings to paintings of the ocean. It just so happens that these farmers love seeing waves, blue skies, dolphins and ships. So your paintings are gone before you can blink an eyelash. This is how positive and negative sanctions work in the marketplace. You have to please the customer and thereby be rewarded.
Of course, the Bible talks about sanctions in a spiritual way. Sanctions, however, whether spiritual or in the marketplace, are sanctions.