Summary: Covenant is the basis of all Biblical Relationships. This sermon examines principles of covenant and an application to believers. 1st in series.
Understanding Covenant: the Basis of all Relationships
Covenant = “to cut” A solemn agreement, negotiated or unilaterally imposed that binds parties to each other in permanent, defined relationships with specific promises, claims and obligations on both sides. Two types: Parity which is amongst equals and negotiated mutually, suzereignty treaties or treaties of sovereignty which is among non-equals; the greater party sets the conditions and the lesser either accepts them; or rejects them; non-negotiable.
God is a covenant God when he created man He made a covenant with Him in Genenis (Edenic). We are created in God’s image and are therefore created for covenant.
Adam and Eve
Genesis 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Matthew 19:5 “and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?
Joined basically means "cling to" or "stick to," the same word is used in Deuteronomy 11:22 when the Jews were commanded to "stick to" or "hold fast to" the Lord. This was part of their covenant with God. If you remember, when God gave them the Ten Commandments, they made a vow and said, "Yes, we want you to be our God, we’ll do whatever you say." So it was a covenant. Both parties agreed to do what they promised. God promised to take care of them and make them prosper, and they promised to obey him. So when we read here that the husband is to cleave to his wife, it suggests the idea of a covenant. When you take your wedding vows, it’s a covenant. It’s a promise. It’s a deal. You can’t go back on your word. In God’s eyes it’s permanent. You’re stuck with each other. Once you realize that, you’ll be much more willing to work on your marriage than to just give up when it gets difficult.
Jonathan and David
1 Samuel 18:1-4 Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. Saul took him that day, and would not let him go home to his father’s house anymore. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan took off the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, even to his sword and his bow and his belt.
• Jonathan recognized Gods call on David
• Jonathan made a covenant of love with David
• Jonathan gave up his own position to bring David into his purpose
In Biblical Times There Were Nine Steps In The Making of A Covenant:
1. The Exchange of Robes or Garments
1 Sam. 18:3-4 "Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle."
"Robe" --- a garment worn over a tunic by men of rank, a garment of the High Priest
Jonathan was saying in effect to David --- "I’m giving you my life; all that I am and all that I have." Jonathan was the Crown Prince, son of King Saul, destined for the throne. From birth he had been trained, schooled, and groomed for Kingship. He had everything to live for, possessions beyond our imagination, money, prestige, and a future to be envied. However, he was ready and willing to give it all away.
2. The Exchange of Belts (Weapons)
1 Sam. 18:4 "And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle."
By giving up his personal weapons of defense, Jonathan was surrendering his ability to defend himself against attack. His entire defense was now in the hands of his "Covenant Friend". He deliberately made himself vulnerable. He also rendered himself incapable of hurting his "Covenant Friend" it was a commitment of utter loyalty holding nothing back. A Covenant does not depend upon the faithfulness of the other person.
3. Exchange of Names
The exchange of names today is what we would call the "Power of Attorney". Each gave to the other the right and authority to use his name as his very own with no restriction or limitation. To act in another’s name is to --- do what they would do --- think like them --- behave like them. The name must never be used flippantly.
4. The "Cutting" of the Covenant
Now that they have exchanged garments, weapons, and names, it is time for the cutting of the Covenant. An animal was chosen, slaughtered by being cut in two down the middle. They would separate the two halves, laying them side By side with just enough room between the two sections to stand in the pool of blood that would quickly form in the middle. Clasping their hands together, they would commit to each other in word similar to these: