Monday, April 01, 2019

Covenant :: Lent 4

Rather than discuss one of the specific Revised Common Lectionary readings on Lent 4, I prepared an overview of covenant throughout the bible. As one of my seminary professors observed about our assigned reading of Delbert Hillers' Covenant: The History of a Biblical Idea, "If you don't understand this book, you won't understand your seminary education." I've linked to my blog post that then links to the book on Amazon.
Covenant in the Bible
Our English word covenant implies coming together = co+venire. A covenant is an agreement – contract – pact – compact – treaty with responsibilities and requirements for both parties. Covenants usually include a spoken or written promise and a sign of that promise; the physical sign can be sharing a meal or another type of ritual action; it can be an object that stands as a witness.

God's covenants are acts of grace! As Pastor Peg pointed out at the start of our pre-LA Marathon Saturday evening Bible study, God always reaches out for us; God always makes the first move!
God covenants with us and with all creation in the sacraments. As Christians – members of the body of Christ – we live in covenant with God, with one another, and with all creation. Church membership and Christian marriage are covenants.

Significant Biblical Covenants
Creation
Genesis 1 – 2:7; Psalm 104
from The Creation by James Weldon Johnson
And God stepped out on space, And he looked around and said:
I'm lonely—I'll make me a world.

Adam
Genesis 2:15-17
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, "You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die."

Noah
Genesis 6:18 "But I will establish my covenant with you; and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives with you."
Noah continues – Genesis 9:8-17
12 God said, "This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth."

Abram/Abraham
Genesis 15
5 God brought Abram outside and said, "Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your descendants be." 6 And Abram believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.
15:18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your descendants I give 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."

Moses / Sinai Covenant / Ten Commandments
Exodus 20:1-17
1 Then God spoke all these words:
2 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; [therefore] 3 you shall have no other gods befor me.
Deuteronomy 5:1-21
Moses reiterates Sinai/Horeb covenant

Joshua
24:1-28 covenant renewal ceremony in context of history of Israel starting with Abraham
24:15 "Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord."
24:16 Then the people answered, "Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods; 17 for it is the Lord our God who brought us and our ancestors up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight. He protected us along all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed; 18 and the Lord drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God."

David
2 Samuel 7:1-16
7:16 Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever.
Psalm 89:19-37
89:28 Forever I will keep my steadfast love for David, and my covenant with him will stand firm.
29 I will establish his line forever, and his throne as long as the heavens endure.

Jeremiah
31:31-34 Not so much covenant in itself as it foretells God's ultimate covenant of grace in Jesus Christ
31 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.
33b 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.

Jesus
1 Corinthians 11
23 For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." 25 In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

Luke 22
17 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, "Take this and divide it among yourselves; 18 for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." 19 Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me." 20 And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, "This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood."

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