Summary: God wants us in a covenant relationship with Him. He will be our God and we will be His people.
Making of a covenant.
What is the difference between a contract and a covenant? A contract is an agreement between two or more parties and each has a responsibility to the other. If one does not keep their end, the other is free from his or her obligation. In a covenant, it says I will do this…nothing is dependent on the other party. Is a marriage a contract or a covenant?
In a marriage we vow:
I take you to be my spouse, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health till death do us part, or some variation of the same. There is no agreement, I will do this as long as you do this. Although today many treat it like a contract, it is a covenant relationship.
God wants a covenant relationship with us. In this passage He tells Moses that He will make a covenant with him and the Israelites. He will drive out the idol worshippers before them, he will cleanse the land of these people, but the Israelites were to destroy the places of idol worship and not to make a treaty with them.
Why is this so important? Look at a marriage covenant. What if one partner in this relationship is not faithful? What if one partner in that relationship is having a relationship with others?
Illustration: (from courageous) The man who had to choose to be honest or falsify reports.
The World calls this compromise. God says you cannot serve two masters. God told the Israelites no to join in religious rites with idol worshippers. We are to give our absolute loyalty and exclusive devotion to God. Just like in a marriage, we give ourselves exclusively to each other, anything else is not a marriage. To make a treaty with such, is to enslave ourselves to other gods.
So how do we make this covenant with God?
First is how we approach His Word.
Do we believe that the Bible is His Word?
Do we believe that the Bible is inerrant and as useful today as when it was first spoken?
Here is a list of 8 aspects.
Nothing is more important for the long-term health of a Church than its preaching, and nothing more impacts preaching and teaching than our view of the Bible. (taken from David Murray’s article 8 Ways Our View of the Bible Impacts Preaching)
1. The Bible is the Word of God
If we don’t believe that the Bible is the Word of God, we will put human opinion and our own ideas on the same level as the Bible.
If we believe the Bible is the Word of God, we will treat it with reverence and respect. We will not dare to treat any other book or any human opinion on the same level.
2. The Bible is Inspired by God
If we don’t believe that every word of Scripture was inspired by God, we will not spend much time looking at the individual words in the Bible. We’ll tend to skim over the surface paying little attention to the details of the biblical text.
If we believe that every single word was breathed out by God, we will pause and study every precious Word of God.
3. The Bible is Perfect
If we don’t believe that the Bible is perfect and without error, we will set ourselves up as critics above the Bible rather than students under the Bible. By highlighting the Bible’s so-called “problems” we will weaken confidence in the Bible.
If we believe the Bible is inerrant, then we will stick with the Bible whatever any other source says. We will see “problems” in the Bible as problems rooted in our ignorance or misunderstanding. We will come humbly to this precious book and seek to learn as pupils.
4. The Bible is Sufficient
If we don’t believe that the Bible is sufficient in the areas it claims to be sufficient, we will not study it intensely for answers to questions of faith and life. Instead we will turn primarily to human wisdom.
If we believe that the Bible is sufficient for matters of faith and life, we will want to study every part of it, knowing that somewhere in this book is the answer to every question we need an answer for.
5. The Bible is Authoritative
If we don’t believe that the Bible is authoritative, we will not proclaim, “Thus saith the Lord!” Instead, we will venture our opinions, we will make suggestions, we will offer advice. We will put doctrine and ethics up for debate and discussion, especially in areas that cross our wills.
If we believe the Bible is authoritative, we will reflect that authority in our preaching – not with proud arrogance but with bold and courageous confidence in what God has said, just as Jesus did to astonishing effect (Mark 1:22)