God’s Covenant of Marriage

How does one go from a good marriage to a great marriage? A husband and wife must never lose their commitment to each other. This commitment to both your mate and your marriage goes deeper than romantic love. It empowers you to keep an unbreakable covenant with your marriage partner regardless of unexpected circumstances. Our covenant God says to us, “I will make you my wife forever,  showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion.” (Hosea 2:19).

My Covenant Commitment

C = Commit to working through problems and not walking away (1 Corinthians 7:27).

  1. Decide together that divorce is not an option.
  2. Agree to communicate feelings honestly and lovingly.

O = Offer love to your mate even when you don’t feel like it (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

  1. Evaluate how your love compares to that described in 1 Corinthians 13. Substitute your name in the place of the word “love” in verses 4-8.
  2. Pray daily for those who have hurt you—forgive and forgive again, refusing to keep a record of wrongs.

V = View your marriage as God’s setting for spiritual growth (Proverbs 15:13).

  1. Realize that God did not create any one person to meet all your needs.
  2. While God is your ultimate need-meeter, see your mate as God’s gift to meet some of those needs.

E = Eliminate any emphasis on your rights (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

  1. Identify what makes you angry.
  2. Sensitively express your honest desires—”It would mean a lot to me if you would take out the trash.”

N = Nurture your identity in Christ (Philippians 4:13).

  1. Evaluate if your sense of self-worth is based on how your mate treats you.
  2. Acknow1edge that your true identity is in Christ, not in your mate.

A = Ask God to change you (Psalm 51:10).

  1. Evaluate what areas in your life need changing.
  2. Ask your mate, “Would you name one area in my life where you feel I need the most change?”

N = Nourish your extended family relationships (Exodus 20:12).

  1. Evaluate the tangible and emotional needs of your in-laws.
  2. Consistently look for the positive in your mate’s family.

T = Turn your expectations over to God (Psalm 62:1).

  1. Evaluate the unrealistic expectations you’ve had of marriage and your mate.
  2. Realize God can bring complete fulfillment to you regardless of your marriage partner.

Your Scripture Prayer Project: Ephesians 5:21, 1 Corinthians 7:3-4, I Corinthians 13:4-5, 1 Corinthians 13:6-7, Philippians 2:2-4, 1 Peter 3:7, Ephesians 5:25, Mark 10:9

 This covenant acrostic come from June Hunt

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God’s Purposes for Marriage

In an age when many young people choose to live together rather than actually “tie the knot,” the question is always raised, “why?” What is the point of marriage? Why is marriage such a big deal?

What are God’s Purposes for Marriage?

  1. The first reason that the Bible gives for the existence of marriage is simple: Adam was lonely and needed a helper (Genesis 2:18): This is the primary purpose of marriage—fellowship, companionship, and mutual help and comfort.
  2. Another purpose of marriage is to create a stable home in which children can grow and thrive: The best marriage is between two believers (2 Corinthians 6:14) who can produce godly children (Malachi 2:13-15). BTW, this Malachi passage shows how much God cares about marriage being kept intact. A good marriage between two godly people will mean that any children they have will tend to be godly as well.
  3. Marriage also protects individuals from sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 7:2): The world we live in is full of sexual images, innuendo, and temptation. Even if a person doesn’t pursue sexual sin, it pursues them, and it is very hard to escape it. Marriage provides a healthy place to express sexuality, without opening yourself up to the severe emotional (and many times physical) damage that is caused by casual, non-committed sexual relationships.
  4. Marriage is a vivid picture of the relationship between Christ and His church: The body of believers that make up the Church are collectively called bride of Christ. As Bridegroom, Jesus gave His life for His bride, “to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word” (Ephesians 5:25-26), and His selfless act provides an example for all husbands. At the Second Coming of Christ, the church will be united with the Bridegroom, the official “wedding ceremony” will take place and, with it, the eternal union of Christ and His bride will be actualized (Revelation 19:7-9; 21:1-2).

So, we see that God has a unique purpose for marriage. In the same way that Christ sacrificially gave Himself to the church, you and your mate should be willing to sacrifice your individual desires for the sake of your marriage covenant. Here is a brief summary of the purposes of marriage.

Partnership: God has given you each other as partners for life—true companionship grows when there is emotional, spiritual and physical unity. Malachi 2:14 emphasizes, “She is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.”

Parenting: God’s first scriptural command was for Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply, filling the earth with godly offspring. “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). Oddly enough, this is the only command of God that mankind has not disobeyed.

Pleasure: The marriage relationship and your mate are God’s special gifts to you.  God is not a cosmic kill-joy. Sex is a good thing, face it, but God has some limitations on it for two reasons:

  1. To protect us: like from disease, death, reputation and heartache.
  2. To provide the best for us: like having no thoughts of previous encounters haunting, interrupting and comparing your experiences with your wife.

True enjoyment will grow out of self-control and a servant’s heart. Proverbs 5:18 says, “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth” (Proverbs 5:18).

This is information I discovered from June Hunt, the founder and CEO of Hope for the Heart.

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God’s Pattern for Marriage

I always want to pass on relevant information that I run across, and for the Men of Steel, it generally has to do with being the best husbands and fathers we can be. The following information is from June Hunt, the founder and CEO of Hope for the Heart:

Why do some marriages endure and others not? Why do some couples struggle and others not? What one factor makes the greatest difference and prevents so many marriages from failing? It’s the word covenant. The concept of covenant is a long, winding path that ends when “death do us part.” The marriage covenant is a couple’s lifetime commitment—a lifetime journey of love and loyalty. Jesus states it well: “They are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate” (Matthew 19:6).

What is God’s Pattern for Marriage?

Marriage is a covenant agreement in which a man and a woman are legally and spiritually joined together as husband and wife. Genesis 2:24-25 establishes the four elements in God’s perfect order for marriage.

Separation: “a man will leave his father and mother”
Both the husband and wife leave the authority of their parents and become a separate family unit. In marriage, the loyalty to your parents should never be stronger than the loyalty to your spouse.

Bonding: “and be united to his wife”
By an act of your will, bonding is a mental commitment to have a faithful, permanent marriage relationship with your spouse regardless of difficulties.

Oneness: “they will become one flesh”
Physical oneness is the ultimate consummation of sexual closeness. For this sexual oneness to be continually mutually satisfying, look for ways to express unselfish love to each other. Openly ask, “What best communicates love to you?” and then take the time to enjoy one another.

Intimacy: “they felt no shame”
Emotional intimacy is encouraged when you seek to be vulnerable and transparent, honestly sharing with one another your feelings of frustration and failure, your deepest disappointments and desires.

Spiritual intimacy is achieved when you continue to reveal to one another your unmet needs, praying together, praying for each other and sharing what God is doing in your lives.

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God is Near, Don’t Miss Him

It’s been a busy month, so that is why the lack of posts in July. First I was on a mission trip to Kansas City, MO to help contract the new chapel at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Lots of framing, stage building, window trim, wood staining; take a look at the video presentation we did at church on July 24. It is a great week to spend with fellow believers doing something for someone else. Trips such as these can be life changing.

Then my mother-in-law, Polly Jo Wingo, passed on after a long health battle. Kim was down in Alabama for several weeks trying to care for her and her father. The hospice people were very helpful is getting things set up for Jo’s final two weeks. She died on Tuesday July 26. The experience reminded me how life is a gift and time is short, even when someone had 73 years on this planet.

As I was thinking about the brevity of life, I was reminded about his passage of Scripture from Isaiah 55:1-7.

Seek the Lord while you can find Him; Call on Him now while He is near (Isaiah 55:6)

It reminds me of missed opportunity, but also joy, because Isaiah is telling us that it is not too late.

October 2010, the world looked on as 33 Chilean miners were plucked one by one from their deep, cavernous prison. For more than 2 months, these men hung on to hope and life a half-mile below ground. The rescue teams preparing for the evacuation had many concerns:

  1. Would the escape pod function properly?
  2. Would the men experience hypertension as they rose to the surface?
  3. Would they develop blood clots?
  4. The primary concern, however, was panic attacks. “This is the first time in many weeks that the miners are going to be completely alone,” said Chile’s health minister.

We know what it feels like to be alone. Perhaps you’ve been abandoned by a parent or friend. You have experience the death of a close family member. Perhaps you have been overseas and culture shock is about to overcome you. You may feel lost. Even in a crowd, you feel isolated. In a city of a million people, you feel alone. God, however, invites us into relationship, into friendship. “Come to me,” God says (Isaiah 55:3). He invites us to come out of isolation and embrace relationship with Him.

When we come to God, we’re always welcomed with open arms. Unlike other relationships we’ve known, God’s love isn’t based upon us meeting some expectation or providing something for Him. He simply loves—completely, entirely, without hesitation. God loves us anyway, not for what we have done or what we’ll become. God makes a promise to His people, an “everlasting covenant [of] unfailing love” (Isaiah 55:3).

This everlasting covenant finds its ultimate expression in Jesus, who came to us and brought God to us, along with His life and forgiveness. We didn’t reach up to Him. In Jesus, God reached down to us. We didn’t come near to Him. In Jesus, God came near to us. Since God is near, don’t miss him!

“Seek the Lord while you can find Him,” Isaiah says. “Call on [God] now while He is near” (Isaiah 55:6). The good news is that, in Jesus, “God is with us” (Matthew 1:23). You need to know more? Write to me, a comment here or use my online form, let’s talk.

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Destructive Consequences of Porn

Here is a post from Craig Gross, the founder and president of xxxChurch, which is too good to not pass on. He attributes this information to Jay Dennis:

26 Destructive Consequences Porn Viewing Has on a Man:

The following destructive consequences are the result of a Christian man viewing pornography. The A to Z format covers the wide range of negative results that porn has on a man who is a follower of Jesus.

Alienates You from God. You no longer feel close to God. You don’t experience the power of God. You no longer have the joy of your salvation.

Blinds You to the Consequences. It temporarily turns off your walk with God, your relationships with your wife, your children, and others. It blinds you to what is going to happen to you spiritually, physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, vocationally, and relationally.

Creates Unrealistic Expectations. Men begin to think this is what every woman should look like and that this is what your relationships with your wife is to be like.

Distorts Your View of Sex. It makes you believe that sex is solely for the pleasure of a man and that women are simply objects to be used rather than God’s creations to be honored and respected.

Enough is Never Enough. Pornography has an escalating effect. Like a drug you need more and more to satisfy the lust. It takes you further down a destructive path and further away from peace, joy, and healthy relationships.

Freedom Over What You Think and Do is Lost. You become enslaved to your sinful thoughts which lead to sinful actions.

Guilt Comes Upon You After You Look at Porn, but the guilt is not enough to prevent you from doing it the next time.

Healthy Sexuality is Numbed Through Porn. Healthy sex is married sex only that includes regular sex, unselfish sex, and loving sex.

Isolates You, and makes you feel you are all alone and are the only one who struggles with porn and lust.

Jeopardizes Your Relationship With Your Wife or Future Wife (if you are single), your witness for Jesus Christ, and everything in your life that is important to you. You put it all on the line for pornography.

Keeps You In a Cycle Of Self Destructive Behavior. It may appear to medicate the pain in your life, but it only adds to the pain with more pain. Porn leads you to do things you never thought you would do. Sin will take you further than you want to go. It will keep you longer than you want to stay. And it will cost you more than you want to pay (Unknown Author).

Lust—Sexual Sinful Lust—Leads to Sexual Sinful Actions. Porn put in your mind is like putting fuel on the fire of wrong sexual desire resulting in destructive thoughts and actions.

Masks The Real Wound, that you are seeking to heal and makes things worse.

Never a Neutral Experience. You cannot look at porn and not be affected by it. That experience is always inconsistent with God’s Word.

Objectifies Women. It makes them a sexual object. Porn hijacks a man’s ability to see an older woman as a mother figure, a same-aged woman as a sister figure, and a younger woman as a daughter figure.

Porn Initially Brings a Very Short-Lived Pleasure, followed by pain and more pain.

Quitting Becomes the Struggle of a Lifetime. Once you allow porn in, there is a raging battle with Satan and your old nature to keep looking. Once you have allowed porn into your life, there will always be a battle. It is a winnable battle, but a daily battle.

Remains Imbedded in Your Mind Forever. Satan uses that image to replay in your mind to create a cycle of sinful lust again and to drive you back to looking at porn. You become bound to an image and a not a person.

Shame Enters Your Life. Guilt is feeling badly for something you have done, shame, however, is based on feeling badly about who you are. Pornography brings shame. God never brings shame. Satan always brings shame.

Trust Is Broken With, the people you love and respect the most.

Unlocks the Door to Every Sexual Sin. Porn is a portal, a gateway that leads to nothing good and everything painful such as compulsive masturbation, affairs, dangerous sexual practices, visiting adult-oriented businesses, paying for sex, perverted sexual practices and sexual abuse.

Violates Women. How? You are putting your stamp of approval on an industry that degrades and dehumanizes women.

Wandering Eyes Toward Other Women are Invited .

Xtinguishes Truth. Pornography promotes lying. You lie to others, you lie to God, and you lie to yourself. You lie more to cover up past lies. You become a living lie.

Yokes You to an Image. You become bound and attached to the image instead of your wife or future wife if you are single.

Zips Your Lips to Praising God, speaking about your faith, and telling others how they can experience God.

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The Covenant Process in Supervision

This post will serve to guide supervisor and supervisee through the covenant development process.

  1. The first section, Covenant Worksheet, will provide answers to the questions that must be asked prior to the writing of the covenant. It will take a few days or weeks for the supervisee to understand his/her assignment well enough to complete the form. As this understanding comes, the answers to these questions will become apparent.
  2. The next step will be to transfer the information from the worksheet to the pages of the covenant itself. The second section, Covenant Outline, will include the personhood and task elements in which the supervisee has identified and asked to be held accountable.

 



The Covenant Worksheet:

Covenanting is a process. It is a way through which we can together agree upon the specifics of your role during your term of service. Together, we will negotiate this role. Together, we will change it as situations and needs change. Together, we will evaluate it.

In establishing our covenant, please be ready to discuss the following questions:

1. Why am I here?

2. What are my expectations?

3. What are my personal needs at this time?

4. What goals need to be set in order to meet these personal needs?

5. What tasks should be developed to meet these personal goals?

6. How and when will we know we have accomplished my personal needs (evaluation)?

7. What are the work needs at this time?

8. What goals need to be set in order to meet these work needs?

9. What tasks should be developed to meet these work goals?

10. How and when will we know we have accomplished our work needs (evaluation)?

 



The Covenant Outline: Personal


Supervisee and position:

 


Supervisor:

 


Goal #____:

 


Tasks to accomplish goal:

 


1.

 


2.

 


3.

 


4.

 


Evaluation:

 


Goal #____:

 


Tasks to accomplish goal:

 


1.

 


2.

 


3.

 


4.

 


Evaluation:

 


Goal #____:

 


Tasks to accomplish goal:

 


1.

 


2.

 


3.

 


4.

 


Evaluation:

 



The Covenant Outline: Work


Supervisee and position:

 


Supervisor:

 


Goal #____:

 


Tasks to accomplish goal:

 


1.

 


2.

 


3.

 


4.

 


Evaluation:

 


Goal #____:

 


Tasks to accomplish goal:

 


1.

 


2.

 


3.

 


4.

 


Evaluation:

 


Goal #____:

 


Tasks to accomplish goal:

 


1.

 


2.

 


3.

 


4.

 


Evaluation:

 



 

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The Covenant Within Supervision

“Covenant” is a word that has been used to described numerous relationship between people throughout history. People still make covenants today. In many states, a marriage license is called a “marriage covenant.” Covenants are necessary for good supervision.

Covenants are not job descriptions. A job description relates only to task issues not personhood issues. A job description is generic inasmuch as it applies to whoever accepts the job. A covenant is personal since it relates to a specific person who has a responsibility. An employing agency develops a job description, but a supervisor and a supervisee negotiate a covenant. Both the job description and the covenant are compatible and important. A job description always contains more duties than a person can work on at any one time. A covenant helps define responsibilities, designated by the job description, that the person will work on during a specific period of time.

Types of Covenants:
There are three types of covenants: formal, informal and tacit. Each provides ways for supervisors to relate to the supervisee.

  1. Formal Covenants: Formal covenants are written agreements. They include conditions, responsibilities and expectations of the parties agreeing to the covenant. Formal covenants are intentional; they set out specific expectations.
  2. Informal Covenants: Informal covenants may be as intentional as formal covenants out are less likely to be written. They may be adequate for short term and non-developmental transactions. However, oral covenants are subject to game playing disclaimers, such as “I didn’t say that,” or qualifications, such as “But that is not what I meant.”
  3. Tacit Covenants: Tacit covenants include hidden conditions that one or both parties do not want to admit. The tacit covenant usually benefits one party to the detriment of the other. It can be changed without notice. A tacit covenant may exist alongside a formal or informal covenant. The reasoning goes like this: “We have this formal covenant, but what we will really do without telling anybody is….” A tacit covenant creates suspicion and confuses accountability. Avoid this type of covenant.

Goals in Covenanting:
Goals provide one of the most important parts of the covenant. They serve as a road map for the supervisee in relating to others, especially the supervisor. Goals are not static and may need to be revised. The covenant should be dated, and a review time should be designated for revising the goals when new situations arise or self awareness increases. The supervisor and the supervisee will have goals to enter into the covenant beyond the goals of the systems. These goals may deal with relationships or areas of the person’s personal growth. The goals should be reviewed carefully to ensure they are reasonable. The supervisee must not be caught between conflicting goals set by the system and the supervisor.

What to Include in the Covenant:
Four areas should be covered in the covenant: needs, goals, activities and evaluation. Different organizations use a variety of technical phrases to describe these areas, but the process is the same.

  1. Needs: First, determine what is needed. Write down a need followed by the goal it produces, the activities required to achieve the goal, and the evaluation process. Then write down the next need and repeat the process. The need serves as the overall “big picture” for the work.
  2. Goals: Goals should be a response to the need. While the need is general, goals should be specific. Goals should be attainable. It is tempting to set goals that are idealistic but unreasonable given the time, situation and resources. The goals should also be measurable. Personhood goals are often more difficult to measure and may need different criteria than task goals.
  3. Activities: Each goal will need multiple activities; actions designed to reach a specific goal. This is where you will outline the responsibilities and roles for accomplishing the stated goal.
  4. Evaluation: Each goal requires an evaluation process that includes a date set to accomplish the goal. The criterion for evaluation is as necessary as the process. How do you know they did what they set out to do?

Other Considerations in Covenanting:
Expectations:

  1. Time: The covenant should specify a time frame. An important time concern is the number of hours per week the person should spend at the task. The person may consider 40 hours per week a normal expectation, while the supervisor may expect 60 or 80. Personal time is also important. The emotional demands of a work setting may exact a toll that can be dealt with only by adequate personal time for renewal. The wise supervisor will be concerned about not only the task time, but the person’s time for study, family and spiritual renewal.
  2. Work: The type and intensity of work also should be defined in the covenant. The person may not see paperwork or other activities as relevant even though the system may require them.
  3. Behavior: Supervisors sometimes have been surprised by the behavior of their supervisees. The surprises may involve dress, personal habits or language of supervisees who were not aware of cultural differences, taboos or expectations.

Roles and Relationships: The supervisor and the person should covenant their relationship and roles. When the supervisor is program oriented and the person is person oriented, difficulties can arise. Differences in age, gender and culture can heighten these problems.

Renegotiation: Circumstances and relationships may require the covenant to be re evaluated and rewritten. A time for renegotiation should be included in the original covenant. This gives the covenant a chance to work and prevents change on a whim. Renegotiation, as part of the original covenant, is done by mutual consent of the supervisor and the supervisee.

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Don’t Make it Any Harder

After all the turmoil that Paul and Barnabas experienced in Acts 14, the ending verse is a wonderful statement of rest (Acts 14:28). They reported all the things God had done with them and how He opened a door of faith to the Gentiles, but then they stayed a long time with the disciples.

Now we come to the first Jerusalem Council in Acts 15. With all these non-Jewish believers coming to faith, the early church needed to define what it took to become a follower of Christ. Some were saying that converts needed to become Jewish first, while others where saying that becoming Jewish was no requirement in the gospel (Acts 15:1, 2, 5). Practically this meant that Gentile converts to Christianity would need to go through circumcision, which was the sign of the covenant between God and Abraham (Genesis 17:10, 14). Proponents of this view where called Judaizers or legalists who wanted strict obedience to the Law of Moses.

These legalists would rather split hairs than rejoice that people were coming to faith in Christ. If we look throughout history, it is probably legalism that has caused more churches to die, more servants to quit and more denominations to split than anything else. It starts out in the name of righteousness in order to clean out false teachings and poor interpretation of Scripture, but it ends up causing people to take sides and feud. Legalism is that same as a group being in pursuit of a godly standard. I love what James says in Acts 15:19, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles turning to God. A letter was drafted stating such, only to avoid four practices that were offensive to the Jewish brothers (Acts 15:29).

Three Mistakes Regarding Legalism:

They drew a universal standard out of their personal experiences; since they had been circumcised prior to salvation, everyone should experience salvation this way. The truth is that we all come to Christ out of different experiences. Some get saved out of a wild and reckless life and never return to that old lifestyle, while others might grow up in the church and regularly stumble with lifestyle issues. Both are saved based on their faith in Christ, but one cannot say to the other that they can only be saved if they have the same experiences as the other.

They tried to make salvation harder than it is; adding something to the basic truth of salvation by grace alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). We all come to God with nothing to offer but simple faith in Christ, believing in His resurrection.

They expected of others what they could not keep themselves; they should not yoke the believers with something they and their forefathers could not bear (Acts 15:10). If we cannot live up to our own expectations, we can that failure. When we cannot live up to the expectations we put on others, that is called hypocrisy. Let’s remember the simplicity of salvation.

Once the Son sets people free, let us not enslave them in a system of laws from men (Ezekiel 34:27). What about the four restrictions (Acts 15:29)? They were free from the laws of Moses but not free from the life-giving laws of God. God gives us the freedom to separate from the practices of those around us. Abstaining from these four practices should keep them free from falling back into the old lifestyle.

Application: Don’t make salvation harder than it is. Avoid legalism that eliminates the Holy Spirit working in your life. If there is something you need to avoid or change, it is much more convincing and convicting to hear the Spirit tell you to give it up than to simply follow a man-made rule. Don’t fall back into your old lifestyle, the old hangout, the old friends, the old refreshments. It may be harmless and not forbidden, but will there be a temptation to slip back into your old ways? Don’t risk your freedom in Christ only to get enslaved all over again.

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Covenants in the Bible

Covenant is a pact, treaty, alliance, or agreement between two parties of equal or of unequal authority. The covenant or testament is a central, unifying theme in Scripture, God’s covenants with individuals and the nation Israel finding final fulfillment in the new covenant in Christ Jesus. God’s covenants can be understood by humans because they are modeled on human covenants or treaties.

The Bible speaks of seven different covenants, five of which God made with the nation of Israel. Five are unconditional in nature, which means regardless of Israel’s obedience or disobedience, God will fulfill these covenants with the nation of Israel. One of the covenants is conditional, meaning this covenant will bring either blessing or cursing depending on Israel’s obedience or disobedience.

The Adamic Covenant comes in two parts: the Edenic Covenant (innocence – Genesis 1:26-30; 2:16-17) and the Adamic Covenant (grace – Genesis 3:16-19). The Edenic Covenant outlined man’s responsibility toward creation and God’s one rule regarding the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The Adamic Covenant included the curses pronounced against mankind for the sin of Adam and Eve, and includes God’s provision for that sin (Genesis 3:15).

  1. God’s Promise – Satan and mankind will be enemies.
  2. God’s Sign – Pain of childbirth, toil in work (Genesis 3:16, 17).

The Noahic Covenant was an unconditional covenant between God and Noah and mankind. After the Flood, God promised that He would never again destroy all life on earth with water. He gave the rainbow as the sign of that covenant and a reminder that God can and will judge sin (2 Peter 2:5).

  1. God’s Promise – God would never again destroy the earth with a flood.
  2. God’s Sign – Rainbow (Genesis 9:12-13).

Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12:1-3, 6-7; 13:14-17; 15:12-21; 17:1-14; 22:15-18). In this covenant, God promised that He would make Abraham’s name great (Genesis 12:2), that Abraham would have numerous descendants (Genesis 13:16), and that he would be the father of a multitude of nations (Genesis 17:4-5). God also made promises regarding the nation of Israel. Geographical boundaries of the Abrahamic Covenant are laid out in Genesis 12:7; 13:14-15; 15:18-21. In the Abrahamic Covenant, all the families of the world will be blessed through the line of Abraham (Genesis 12:3; 22:18). This means the Messiah, who would come from the line of Abraham.

  1. God’s Promise – Abraham’s descendants would become a great nation if they obeyed God, and He would be their God forever.
  2. God’s Sign – Smoking fire pot and blazing torch (Genesis 15:17-18).

Palestinian Covenant (Deuteronomy 30:1-10). The Palestinian Covenant amplifies the land aspect which was detailed in the Abrahamic Covenant. In this covenant, God, because of the people’s disobedience, would cause them to be scattered around the world (Deuteronomy 30:3-4), and He would eventually restore the nation together (Deuteronomy 30:5). When the nation is restored, then they will obey Him perfectly (Deuteronomy 30:8), and God will cause them to prosper (Deuteronomy 30:9). See also Deuteronomy 28, 29. Because of this covenant, the right of the Jews to live in the land is conditional upon their behavior. This partly conditional covenant has several parts:

  1. Dispersion of the Jews was to be a consequence of disobedience.
  2. Future repentance will be accomplished by God.
  3. God will regather his scattered people and restore them to the land.
  4. The people of Israel will be brought to the Lord as a nation.
  5. The enemies and oppressors of Israel will be punished.
  6. Future national prosperity and preeminence is guaranteed.

Mosaic Covenant (Exodus 19:5-6, Deuteronomy 11). The Mosaic Covenant was a conditional covenant that either brought God’s blessing for obedience or God’s cursing for disobedience. The ten commandments (found in Exodus 20) is part of the covenant. The history books of the Old Testament (Joshua-Esther) show how Israel succeeded at obeying the law or how Israel failed at keeping the law. Deuteronomy 11:26-28 details the blessing/cursing theme.

  1. God’s Promise – Israel would be God’s special people, a holy nation. But they would have to keep their part of the covenant – obedience.
  2. God’s Sign – The Exodus, and gathering for worship at Sinai (Exodus 3:12).

Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7:8-16). The Davidic Covenant expands the seed detail which was part of the Abrahamic Covenant. The promises to David in this passage are significant because God promised that David’s physical line of descent would last forever and that his kingdom would never pass away permanently (2 Samuel 7:16). This kingdom would have a ruling individual exercising authority over it (2 Samuel 7:16). The Davidic throne has not been in place at all times, but there will be a time when someone from the line of David will again sit on the throne and rule as king. This future king is Jesus (Luke 1:32-33).

  1. God’s Promise – Salvation would come through David’s line through the birth of the Messiah.
  2. God’s Sign – David’s line continued and the Messiah was born a descendant of David (2 Samuel 7:12).

New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34). The New Covenant is one made with the nation of Israel and speaks about the blessings which are detailed in the Abrahamic Covenant. In the New Covenant, God promises to forgive sin and there will be a universal knowledge of the Lord (Jeremiah 31:34). It even appears that the nation of Israel will have a special relationship with God (Jeremiah 31:33).

  1. God’s Promise – Forgiveness and salvation are available through faith in Christ.
  2. God’s Sign – Christ’s resurrection.

How does the church of Jesus Christ relate to the covenants? Some people believe that the church fulfills the covenants and God will never deal with Israel again. This is called replacement theology and has little scriptural evidence. Others believe that the church initially or partially will fulfill these covenants. Many believe that the church shares in the covenants in some way, while others believe that the covenants are for Israel and for Israel alone.

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