A covenant? I have to keep it? OY!

#Agreement #love #Eternal (Unless otherwise cited the scriptures used in this devotional are from the public domain version of the King James Bible.

When I got married we walked down the aisle to the front of the church, and the rest of the world, that we were committed to our relationship with each other. To demonstrate that the love had for each other would be an eternal one. It was a physical expression of our covenant with each other. I believe in this covenantal process.  Some people don’t think that it is sealed forever by God. Some believe that is is a light covenant that one can enter into and break as they see fit.

The word covenant is used to express a “formal agreement between two parties.” The people of the ancient near east had several expressions of solidarity. When they wanted to demonstrate a legally binding and solid agreement between them they made a covenant. To seal the agreement (covenant) something was sacrificed-usually an animal, to show that a price was paid to consummate the covenant. According to Merril et al

A central element of any bilateral covenant was the section describing the rewards for faithful compliance to its terms and the punishments befitting disobedience to it. As a suzerian-vassal treaty text. Deuteronomy obviously holds only Israel – and not the Lord – accountable, though there is the promise of the Sovereign that He will respond to Israel’s obedience with blessing beyond measure (285)

The construct of a covenantal relationship between YHWH and his people are the foundation of both the parts of the Christian Bible that we call the Old and the New Testaments. The Latin word for Testament is “Testamentum.”  (‘Testamentum’ is the Latin word for covenant). Both the old and the new covenant shows God’s love for his people.  The former taught the people how to show that love towards each other as well as toward God. The latter teaches us how God showed his love towards us and once again solidifies how we should love each other. 

Old Testament Covenant

YHWH had a covenantal relationship with his people Israel. He made it legally binding by putting it in writing. Read the book of Deuteronomy. See this discourse on the importance of the Old Testament Covenant. The Book of Deuteronomy is a treatise/agreement/covenant between YHWH and Israel. Just like any other legal document it has sections that detail the specifics of the agreement.

  1.  The Preamble (1:1-5). This section is an introduction to the covenant and details the setting of the covenant. It’s more of a this is what is going to happen, between who, when and where.
  2. The Historical Prologue (1:6-4:49). The section reminds both parties of the agreement about their past relationships with God and even their ancestors’ relationship with God.  In other words, this is what you agreed to do, and this is what your ancestors agreed to do too. There is nothing like a revelation moment of how a covenant was carried out to open the eyes of the new hearers of the document.
  3. The General Guidelines  (5:1-11:32). The basic guidelines of the relationship between the Almighty King of Kings and to His people about the guidelines that govern their relationship.  General expectations were set for the people.
  4. The Specific Details (12:1-26:19).  Now, as parents, we know that we can tell our children what we expect from them.  However, if we are not detailed in our behavioral expectations of them they will come back with, “but you didn’t say…!” God knows that too.  So, he lays out the details of his covenant with his people. He must anticipate all strange and or unique circumstances his children may encounter as they engage with the generalizations of the covenant to prevent misapplication of any misunderstanding.
  5. The Blessings and Curses (27:1-28:68). The result of faithful obedience to the terms of the covenant will ensure that the recipients will receive the appropriate response. There can be no questions as to what happens when the covenant is kept and or broken.
  6. 6. The Witnesses (30:19; 31:19; 32:1-43). In order for any covenant/treaty to be legally valid it must be sworn in the presence of witnesses who can testify to its veracity and to the commitments made by the two covenant parties. [Eugene Merrill (2014). (p. 258). World and the Word, The. Broadman & Holman. Retrieved from https://app.wordsearchbible.com%5D

This relationship began with Moses, and the children of Israel, The Ten Commandments were just the basics but Deuteronomy details all behavioral expectations. Israel was human and therefore subject to human failings.

Psalm 148:7-14  talks about why it is important for us to acknowledge God’s acts fulfilling his covenant between us and him, and our gratitude for him doing so.  He has provided all that we need to survive physically, psychologically, spiritually, and emotionally, on this earth. If we remember, during the ancient near eastern time of history a price had to be paid to seal the covenant and if the covenant was broken a price had to be paid. If the people broke the covenant between them and YHWH the punishment was death.  It is still death. Now don’t be scared, read on.

New  Testament (NT) Covenant: 

 He came as a human being.

4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not (John 1:4-5).

The Gospel of John is the most comprehensive documentation of Jesus as the fulfillment of God’s covenant with humanity. It details the beginning of his ministry all the way to his death which fulfilled the covenant requirement of death for the breaking of God’s covenantal law.  It also records Jesus’ resurrection, the one ingredient needed to ensure that we are sealed by his covenant. John’s gospel envisions God’s covenantal love, for humanity (John 1:1-18).

Jesus left us a New Covenant: 

  1. Hebrews 8:13 – In that he saith, A new [covenant], he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old [is] ready to vanish away.
  2. Hebrews 9:15 – And for this cause, he is the mediator of the new testament, [covenant] that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions [that were] under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
  3. Hebrews 8:6-8 – For if that first [covenant] had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.  
  4. Luke 22:20 – Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup [is] the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
  5. Mark 14:24 – And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.
  6. 1 Corinthians 11:25 – After the same manner also [he took] the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink [it], in remembrance of me.
  7. Romans 6:14 – For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law but under grace.
  8. Romans 7:6 – But now we are delivered from the law,[old covenant] that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not [in] the oldness of the letter.
  9. Romans 8:1-4 – [There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
  10. Romans 11:27 – For this [is] my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
  11. Hebrews 1:1-14 – God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets. . .

The New Testament tells us that Jesus paid the price for us.  We are free from the condemnation of breaking the law. Christ freed us from the shackles that bind us to sin and self.  Forgiveness is free. Salvation is costly, not to us, but to God. We choose whether or not we will affirm the new covenantal agreement between God and us. There are consequences for choosing not to enter into a covenantal agreement with God.

Revelation 19:11-21 Shows what the consequences are for violating the covenant between God and man and the refusal to accept Christ’s sacrifice. Christ remains the victorious ruler.  People will choose to break the covenant he died for and will reap the benefits of that betrayal.  If you have ever experienced divorce you know the searing pain and ache that one encounters due to the violation of your marriage covenant.  That is what God experiences when we break our covenant with him. When he returns he will strip rulers, who should have known better but did not, of all their power over this earth.

Colossians 2:15 (GW) “He stripped the rulers and authorities of their power and made a public spectacle of them as he celebrated his victory in Christ.”

Galatians3:13-15

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for paying the price of the covenant between humanity and God.  Thank you that I do not have to attempt to pay a price that is too costly for me to pay in the first place. God’s NT covenant was not one of “wash this, kill that, offer the other.” He gave his one and only son Jesus Christ as the ultimate sacrifice.

Will you accept the covenant of love that God sculpted with the blood of His son Jesus Christ?

Is your heart heavy with fear, guilt, and shame?

Is your heart heavy with fear, guilt, and shame? There’s hope here. ENGLISH VERSION

¿Sientes que tu corazón carga con el peso del temor, la culpa y la vergüenza? Aquí hay esperanza. VERSION EN ESPAÑOL

dontworryb

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