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The God of Covenant Relationships

At church we have just started a series on the two big themes of scripture - Covenant and Kingdom.   As we looked at the story of Abraham we saw that God is a God who makes binding agreements (Covenants) with humans.  This is different to some other views of God:
  • God is far away and doesn't have anything to do with creation or at least not with people on a relational basis
  • God might not be far away but stays uninvolved as a disinterested judge.
  • God is so involved with creation that God and creation are identical - which means evil is just as much a part of God (or maybe it is just an illusion)
These are radically different to a God who makes Covenants with people, makes promises to people and provides blessings to His covenant partners as part of their commitment to each other.  God's covenants are always at God's initiative which means they always Covenants of Grace.  And although God's covenants with us will always be a relationship between the stronger (God) and the weaker (humans), the story of Abraham shows remarkably that God invites Abraham into what He was doing (Genesis 18:17f), requires Abraham to give everything (including Isaac - Genesis 22) and then reaffirms his committment to brining blessing to him, his descendants and all the nations of the earth (Genesis 22:17-18).

Our western culture doesn't think in terms of covenants very much and most contracts, including marriage, can often be easily broken.  So we need to be careful we don't read this back into the bible and in the process miss the remarkable fact that God makes covenants with humans including us!!

David Wanstall, 12/02/2014