I grew up hearing about covenant, and its importance. Usually, I heard it in terms of how its not a contract. It didn't really have an importance in my heart. I just thought of it as another christian word. However, now I am starting to understand that there is so much more to it, than a christian word. 

I am starting to understand that God has been revealing his heart to us, his heart for me, and all of mankind through covenant. The simplest way that I can describe covenant is that inside of covenant, both parties agree that no matter what, they are going to keep their side of the deal, even if the other side does not. In other words when covenant has been cut (the symbol of binding the covenant), there is no leaving covenant. It is a deliberate choice to bind ones self to the other.

This is the way I would describe covenant to a child, but I feel like it leaves much out of the word covenant. Said this way it is easy to contrast against contract, which is nullified if the other party doesn't keep their end of the deal. Contract and covenant do contrast very well, when it comes to the idea of why you do something. Why do we enter into contract? Through the lenses of economics we have contracts because there is something that we desire, and we can achieve it through contract. Contract could be said to be selfishly motivated from both sides. There is something that the other has, that we would like access to, and such we bargain our things or services to get our desire. 


Covenant on the other hand is love driven. Covenant starts with the desire for the other persons well being. Yes we desire to be in relationship with that person, but mostly inside of covenant there is a desire for the best for that person. CS Lewis said that love demands that we commit ourselves to one anther, he said,  “Love, in its own nature, demands the perfecting of the beloved.” It is because of Gods love for us that he initiates covenant with us. 

God has loved us before time began. In revelations we are told of the plan for Jesus Christ to die for us, a plan that was decided before the foundations of the world were created. God loved us so much that he sent his son to die for us while we were yet sinners... while we were enemies of God. God looked through time, into eternity and saw that no one would choose him, and so because he loved us so, he pursed us. God is after our hearts, he is wooing us with his Glory, with humility, with unfailing love. This pursuit of us is called Hesed. David uses it in his Psalms "Kindness and faithful love (Hesed) pursue me every day of my life.  I make my home in the house of Yahweh for all time to come."  Psalm 23:6 Hesed is not so much a feeling as a decision of will. It is deliberate, it is a love that pursues the other. It chooses to love, and in so goes after the other. 

God not only loves us, but he deliberately peruses us, he has decided that we would be his. This is called the great romance, and the great romance is revealed in Gods decision to enter into covenant with us. Hesed is deliberate, it is not a passive love, it is an active love. Yes God loves us unconditionally, and yes we are loved because that is who God is, love. But more than that, God makes the active choice, decision, to win our hearts, to be ours for all eternity. He chooses covenant with us, to bind himself to us forever. Hesed chooses to love, and in so goes after the other.  Rabbi Kamsler suggests that the best English word to use as a translation for Hesed would be "loyalty." God does what he says he is going to do, he chose us to be in an intimate relationship. He has been proving his love for us ever since, and even before that. God is loyal to keep his word. And since we continue to leave God, God goes after us. In order to win our hearts God pursues us.

God chooses covenant with us, and in so doing he reveals that he wants to be in relationship with us. Remember Covenant simply put is a bond of friendship, and God chooses us to be friends. More than that though God chooses us to be family. God uses covenant to represent his deliberateness in choosing us, he uses covenant to reveal how serious he is about pursing us, he uses covenant to reveal his plan to redeem us. Covenant is more than not being a contract that is nullified if one party doesn't hold up their end of the deal. Covenant reveals Gods Hesed for us, and reveals how serious God loves us. God is loyal to do what he says, and he said that he is the one going to sanctify us. "Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you." Exodus 31:13

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