Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 5:1-25, 2 Samuel 6:1-23, 2 Samuel 7:1-29, 1 Corinthians 12:12-20, Hebrews 10:19-22
I’ve always assumed that a covenant is an if/then agreement. If you do x, then I’ll do y. If you fail to do x, then I’m entitled to y. Since dissecting legal mumbo-jumbo isn’t really my thing, the idea of a covenant always felt a little sterile to me.
Maybe that’s why I typically paid little attention to the Old Testament covenants. God’s covenant promises are mentioned in many places, so I did plenty of glossing over them. The biggies include the Noahic Covenant found in Genesis 9, the Abrahamic Covenant in Genesis 12, and the Mosaic Covenant in Exodus 19.
Because I only skimmed these passages, I thought the covenants were cut-and-dried versions of this: If God’s people obey the law, they get blessed; if they fail to obey the law, they get cursed. Certainly, there are blessings that come with obedience, and consequences that come with rebellion—but that isn’t the bottom line. It’s not how God does business.
God’s covenants are not equal partnerships. God gives infinitely more than He ever plans to receive.
We see this clearly in God’s covenant with David (2 Samuel 7). God had been blessing David since childhood, but here, He makes it official. God promises David these things: fame and prestige, deep roots, safety and security, legacy, and a bright future.
God promised big! This is the “then” portion of God’s covenant with David. But what was the “if”? What did David have to do to earn these lavish gifts? Well, for starters he had to….
Nothing. There is no “if” to qualify God’s “then.” David doesn’t have do his part for this covenant agreement to stand. God promises David that His “faithful love will never leave him” (v.15). He gives generously out of His extravagant love, not legal obligation. And David’s response is awestruck worship.
“This is why you are great, Lord God. There is no one like you, and there is no God besides you, as all we have heard confirms.”
- 2 Samuel 7:22
David enjoyed what I missed when I zoomed past the previous covenants: God doesn’t love us out of obligation. There is no way for the scales to be equal when man enters into a covenant with the God who created him.
The covenants of the Old Testament are like neon signs pointing to something bigger and better. They set the table for the fulfillment of God’s covenant of grace, perfected in the finished work of Christ on our behalf.
“In the same way he also took the cup after the supper and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; it is shed for you.”
- Luke 22:20
The covenant Jesus offers us is this: we bring our nothing, and He gives us everything. The scales are forever tipped in our favor. May we learn to stop glossing over the goodness of our God. Instead, let us respond in worship to the God who gives extravagantly.
Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.