Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all. – Isiah 53:4-6
But like Adam they transgressed the covenant;
there they dealt faithlessly with me. – Hosea 6:7
17 When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. 18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give[c] this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, 19 the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, 20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, 21 the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.” – Genesis 15:17-20
8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 9 “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” – Genesis 9:8-11
4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine;6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.” – Exodus 19:4-6
20 “Thus says the Lord: If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night will not come at their appointed time, 21 then also my covenant with David my servant may be broken, so that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne, and my covenant with the Levitical priests my ministers. 22 As the host of heaven cannot be numbered and the sands of the sea cannot be measured, so I will multiply the offspring of David my servant, and the Levitical priests who minister to me.” – Jeremiah 33:20-22
31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” – Jeremiah 33:31-34
20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.- Luke 22:20
It was exceedingly helpful to me a few years ago when I came to realize that the architecture of the Bible is the covenant. Anybody who has spent any time with the Bible knows that it entails the concept of covenant, so that wasn’t anything new. What was new was a clearer understanding of just what covenant means and the fact that the entirety of the Bible is one huge covenant story.
I discovered that there are two forms of covenant in Scripture. One is a mutual agreement modeled after a common covenantal arrangement in international relations. In this form, a Greater King, known as the Suzerain, would dictate the terms of the arrangement and the lesser king, the vassal, would accept the terms or be destroyed. That sounds rather crass and undesirable, but it wasn’t so bad. Part of the terms included the care of the Greater King. He wasn’t just a harsh dictator.
The other form of covenant is the unilateral promise. This is an unconditional commitment on the part of the grantor of the arrangement to provide what was promised. There may also be requirements on the part of the recipient of the covenant promise, but those conditions would not prohibit the fulfillment of the promise.
One of these types begins in Genesis 3:15 and carries all the way through Scripture finding its fulfillment at the end of Revelation. It is generally referred to as the covenant of grace.
The most recognized of the other type is put forth in Exodus and is generally known as the Old Covenant, the administration of God’s economy through the law of Moses.
Because this understanding of covenant has been so helpful to me, for the next several editions, I plan to deal with the covenants of Scripture and how they all take us to Christ in one way or another. They also reveal God to us as the one who has the character to make and keep covenant, not like us.
The glorious message today is that we have a covenant keeping God. What he has promised he will do. He is not a man that he should lie.
If you would like to do more indepth reading on the concept of covenant in Scripture, I recommend this book, Sacred Bond. Click on the book and you will be taken to Amazon where you can purchase a copy.