The Covenant—Standing On Deck
Hitting and running the bases makes the game of baseball work, whether it’s an organized game or a neighborhood picnic with softball.
To stand on deck means you’re next—it’s preparing to take a turn and swing the bat.
We start to prepare with this first study on the covenant.
Key passage: Deuteronomy 7:9-12
9 "Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments; 10 "and He repays those who hate Him to their face, to destroy them. He will not be slack with him who hates Him; He will repay him to his face. 11 "Therefore you shall keep the commandment, the statutes, and the judgments which I command you today, to observe them. 12 " Then it shall come to pass, because you listen to these judgments, and keep and do them, that the LORD your God will keep with you the covenant and the mercy which He swore to your fathers.
Moses tells the people of Israel what God is like. To know him means knowing his faithfulness, his reliability. Our Lord shows a constant, never-ending reach of care, concern, and commitment. This never-ending reach goes on and on for a thousand generations, which refers to a long, long time. Notice the passage speaks of the Lord’s mercy. Mercy assumes helplessness. To have mercy means reaching down and providing help for one who cannot help himself.
To start with defining a covenant—the covenant relates to the character of God: he shows faithful help in our time of dire need. Covenant has to do with God providing, helping, and keeping. Provide and keep what? Deuteronomy 7:12 says, “…the LORD your God will keep with you the covenant…” Covenant relates to commitment and follow-through. God enters into a commitment and will follow-through. At the same time, we are brought into this commitment with him. Simply, God presents his commitment and follow-through, his plan to show mercy to us in our helpless situation.
When you read the Bible cover to cover and count up how many times the word appears, you see it right around 275 times. That’s a boat load. That means if you somehow neglect this word or stumble blindly past it, you neglect and stumble past the central message of God’s plan. To miss the covenant, means you miss the Bible! Also this means it runs through the whole Bible story, before Jesus comes, after he returns to heaven, and what leads up to his second coming. At the evening meal the night before his crucifixion, Jesus used bread and the wine to share with the disciples and said, “…this cup is the new covenant in my blood.” In preparing his disciples to see his own faithful commitment and follow-through with his soon-to-come death on the cross, he said to them the cup of wine is his blood “shed for you.” Significantly, Christ’s death highlights God’s faithfulness to keep covenant, to show his mercy to us, to reach down to us in our helplessness.
What is God like?
He is faithful in his mercy.
Why does he show this faithfulness?
Man has a dire need; we are helpless.
What is this commitment and follow-through called where God acts to extend his reach of care and concern?
It’s his covenant.
What is another way to speak of the covenant?
It’s God’s plan of the way he shows mercy.
Why is it significant that the word covenant appears around 275 times throughout the Bible?
The covenant makes up the central message of the Bible.
What did Jesus provide for his disciples so they might see his commitment and follow-through?
The Last Supper included wine, which he called his shed blood.
How did Christ’s death highlight God’s faithfulness?
God showed mercy to reach down to us in our helplessness; he kept the covenant.