Friday, September 16, 2011

Covenant # 1 - Knowing the covenant Maker

This week we captured a sweeping overview of God's covenants, the "solemn, binding agreements" He initiates with man. Our group couldn't help but see the pattern of restoration in God's covenants, noticing how each agreement is linked to the original plan for man to have a relationship with his Maker. This week we looked at 4 covenants. There's SO much to share about God's wonderful picture of covenant, but let me give you some highlights:

Old Testament Covenants have a LOT to do with us today!

Genesis6, 9, 17 ~ The Noahic Covenant ... God promised salvation. He preserved Noah's family in an ark of safety, because Noah walked with Him and was righteous, though he lived in corrupt times. God gave a rainbow as a sign to promise He would never destroy the earth by a worldwide flood again.  This shows me God is a SAVING God.

Gensis15, 17 ~ The Abramaic Covenant ... God promised descendants to the 99 yr old Abraham, saying he would father many nations and bless the world through him. Circumcision served as a sign of Abraham's (and all of his descendants') identity with God. Covenant means we identify with each other. Abraham received a new name with his new identity (love that idea!). God wants to know and be known by the creation which bears His image = man.  This shows me God is a LOVING God.

Exodus 2,6, 19, 24 ~ The Covenant with Israel ... God promised possession, that He would be Israel's God, and they would be His people. This covenant was conditional, though, based on the obedience of the people. The disobedience of Israel, which we can all relate to, made their "journey" to the land God promised quite a ride ... a 40 yr ride. He gave them the 10 Commandments, the words of the covenant, as another sign of the agreement. The years in the desert were punctuated by regular signs of God's actions to draw His people to Himself. Because of His covenant agreement with Israel, God released the people from Egyptian slavery. God is not able to "NOT" follow through with His promises.  Aren't you glad?  This shows me God is a FAITHFUL God.

Malachi 3:1, Matt. 26:26-29 ~ The New Covenant (Just a glimpse)  This covenant provides once and for all what the others could not:   forgiveness of sins.  It provides a way of restoring our relationship to God in a way that had not been done before. God the Father is still the initiator, but in Matthew 26 we see Jesus the Son of God extending the invitation to join in the New Covenant.  He offered His own self, His own flesh, His own blood, as the covenant sacrifice. This shows me God is a SACRIFICIAL God.

Old Testament Covenants have a lot to do with us today. From the promises made and the signs given, a picture emerges of who my God is and what He's like. He is saving, loving, faithful, and sacrificial. 

Each covenant involved pain and the shedding of blood. A covenant comes with a cost, yet God willingly pays it for us, and He loves us enough to ask us to join in covenant with Him.

I can't help but see how the covenants are all meant to show what God is like to the world. Each reveals the character of our holy, loving, amazing God. Being in covenant with Him means I promise to show Him to the world ... today, tomorrow, and until He comes and every knee bows and every tongue confesses that Jesus is Lord.

We're in good company with Noah, Abraham, and Israel as the reflection of our covenant making God to the watching world!

Use this chart to reflect on what your specific life challenges are and the action steps you can take to have  godly, "covenant behavior" to show God to our world.

A challenge for me this morning …

I will show my covenant God to the world by …
A challenge for me the rest of today …

I will show my covenant God to the world by …
A challenge for me this weekend …

I will show my covenant God to the world by …

This coming week we'll be looking at the customs of making a covenant and how they're LOADED with meaning for us. I'm excited ... maybe I'll even change my name! ;)

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