Faithlife Sermons

Nature of covenants

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A solemn agreement or promise, sometimes confirmed by sacrifice or by sharing in a meal, by which two or more parties commit themselves to the rights and responsibilities demanded by their relationship and their agreed course of action, and accept the serious consequences of breaking faith.

Notes & Transcripts

Kinds of covenant relationship

The relationship between king and people

2 Samuel 5:3 NIV84
When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron, the king made a compact with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel.
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Terms for peace granted to a weaker party

Joshua 9:15 NIV84
Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath.
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A mutual commitment to peaceful relations

1 Kings 5:12 NIV84
The Lord gave Solomon wisdom, just as he had promised him. There were peaceful relations between Hiram and Solomon, and the two of them made a treaty.
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An agreement on a common course of action

Jeremiah 34:8 NIV84
The word came to Jeremiah from the Lord after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people in Jerusalem to proclaim freedom for the slaves.
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The relationship between husband and wife


God’s covenant with Israel is likened to a marriage:


An expression of friendship

1 Samuel 18:3 NIV84
And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.
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Sealing a covenant

By sharing a meal


The meal Jesus Christ shared with his disciples is an important part of the institution of the new covenant:


By offering a sacrifice

The Hebrew expression for making a covenant means, literally, “to cut a covenant”. This may refer to the solemn practice, described here, of cutting an animal in half and walking between its pieces; ; ; ; Sacrifice is an important part in sealing covenants made by God.

By making an oath

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The obligations of a covenant

Covenant responsibilities must be honoured

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Covenant obligations are watched over by God

1 Samuel 20:42 NIV84
Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.’ ” Then David left, and Jonathan went back to the town.
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The consequences of breaking covenant faith

Joshua 9:20 NIV84
This is what we will do to them: We will let them live, so that wrath will not fall on us for breaking the oath we swore to them.”
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Covenants with other nations are forbidden

Exodus 34:12 NIV84
Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you.
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Covenants with other nations lead to a commitment to foreign gods

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Covenants with other nations lead to a denial of faith in God

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