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A Covenant of Relationship

By Rev. Rebekah Lawson

Exodus 24:1-8

The Covenant Confirmed

Then he said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship from afar. Moses alone shall come near to the Lord, but the others shall not come near, and the people shall not come up with him.” Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.” And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the Lord. And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”[1]

II Corinthians 3:1-6:

Ministers of the New Covenant

Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. [2]

Romans 12:9-21

Marks of the True Christian

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. [3]

In life we promise things all the time. Politicians have made an art of it. Without understanding what we are doing we promise. We make small covenants with people everyday. Marriage is the covenant of a lifetime, or at least should be. So what is a covenant? It is an agreement between two parties in which each party gets and gives something so that a relationship can be created. When looking at scripture, Genesis 6 shows God making a covenant with Noah which came with a promise to never destroy the world completely with water ever again. A sign was given to show the covenant, a rainbow. Genesis 15, God enters into a covenant with Abram, changes his name to Abraham and promising him a linage beyond all lineages; all for the price of being in relationship with God. A sign was given to show the covenant, circumcision.

In Exodus 6 God tried to join into covenant with the people of Israel while they were in Egypt under slavery but they were not ready to here it. In Exodus 24 God finally enter into a covenant relationship with the people of Israel which was confirmed with sacrifices and the sprinkling of the blood on the Book of the Law and on the people who agreed to obey it. The twelve stones of the altar represented the twelve tribes of Israel, indicating that each tribe was committed to obey the voice of God. The blood on the altar spoke of God’s gracious forgiveness of sin, while the blood sprinkled on the people committed them to a life of obedience and relationship. This covenant was renewed and renewed first with Moses in Exodus 34 and in Deuteronomy at Moab by God with Israel after they had walked through the desert for a whole generation. Along the way they picked up several hundred extra people who were folded into the people of God through this renewed covenant. These people were people who watched and lived with the people of God and desired what they had, a relationship with God. Then with Joshua God renewed the covenant as they were going into the promise land and then at Shechem so that the relationship between God and his people would be understood by this next generation, circumcision being the sign of this covenant as well (An outward way of showing what would become an inward understanding).

In Matthew, Mark, and Luke the institution of the Lord's Supper is the representation of the institution of Jesus joining into a covenant with anyone who believes and accepts Jesus as Lord and savor over their lives. When we drink the cup and eat the bread, we are drinking the covenant of Jesus' blood and eating the covenant of his sacrificial body that represents God's desire for true uninhibited relationship with his creation. Believers today have been sprinkled by the blood of Christ in a spiritual sense and are committed to obey His will, and the sign for this covenant of relationship is spiritual circumcision. These covenants are the salt of relationships. They show the world that God desires the kind of relationship that changes lives. God desires and has always desired to be in relationship with his creation. He created us to be in relationship with him and it was our sin that separated us from him, breaking that relationship. But now we are able to come into relationship, full relationship with God through Jesus covenantal blood. That is a marriage of sorts with our God. Christ and His church are one. He is in us, we are in Him. He loves us and shows that love by the sacrifice he made and by caring for us, nourishing us through the Word, and seeking to make us as beautiful spiritually as possible. This allows us to extend that same continental relationship to the world around us. God also made a covenant with David to be the King of Israel . This is where David's love of covenants came from. God desired relationship with his people and he passed it on to David.

In Genesis 31 Laban and David made a covenant that joined their families in marriage. David was known for his covenants. One of his most famous was his covenant between him and Jonathan. He ended up fulfilling that covenant with Jonathan's son who was a cripple. Wiersbe believes that we must be careful in the relationship to “ those who are outside,” and that may be true but, we have to remember that the only way they are to see God is through us. Through our relationships with them and our relationships with our God. I have been very effected by the shootings that have been happening and whatever your understanding is of the lifestyle of the people who died, the act of the shooter was wrong. We show our love of God and God's love for us in this covenant of love and let it poor out and the world will ask and want what we have. We show rage and they walk away in anger. Abraham and his neighbors exchanged the proper gifts and made the proper sacrifices for sealing a covenant. He lived in relationship with them as he showed them a life lived for God.

In I Thessalonians 4:9-12 God calls us to live a holy life unto Him so that we “may live or walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on God and the Body of Christ. Remember our scripture today from Romans to everyone the marks of a true Christian are to Love genuinely while holding fast to what is good. Love one another as if they were family. Outdo one another in showing honor. Serve the Lord with zeal. When times of trial come, rejoice in Hope and be patience while continually being in relationship with God and with Human kind, with your neighbors. That is one reason I love this community. I see faces and lives and they are not all the same. I see people who desire to serve and have served and your hearts show your desires. From the earliest days, the Jews saw in this story a picture of the relationship between Jehovah God and Israel. Israel was “wedded” to the Lord at Mt. Sinai, when the nation accepted the Law.

Isaiah 54 spells out this marriage relationship; This marriage was to be an example to the rest of the world on how God wanted his relationship to be between him and his creation, and between his creation and themselves. So, this is what I ask, that as I walk through my life at Church, in the world, in my relationship with my family, and everyday that you pray Colossians 4:2-6 over me and I will do the same for you.

I pray that you Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, I pray also for us, that God may open to us a door of the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which we are prisoners, so that we may make it clear, which is how we ought to speak. I pray that you conduct yourselves wisely in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. And let your actions speak louder than your words.

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Ex 24:1–8). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society. [2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (2 Co 3:1–6). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society. [3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Ro 12:9–21). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.


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