A Covenant God

The understanding of God as a covenant-making and keeping God begins in the Garden of Eden and continues through the covenants with Noah (Gen 9), Abraham (Gen 12), Moses (Exodus 20) and David (2 Sam 7) to the new covenant (Jer. 31) established at the cross.  A covenant is more than a promise, it is more like a treaty between a king and his subjects.  The Ancient Near East gives us numerous examples of these agreements.  There are two basic types of covenant:  In a Suzerain Treaty, the king imposes covenant stipulations upon the subjects.  This model can be seen in the Mosiac covenant.  The conditions often include blessings for abiding by the terms of the covenant and curses for abandoning the terms.  God is the sovereign regulator of the covenant.  The second type is a royal grant covenant in which the King freely bestows certain privileges or benefits on the subjects.  The Abrahamic and New covenants are examples of a royal grant covenant.   

The new covenant is instituted at the cross and one way to approach Lent would be as a time to reconsider the benefits extended to us in this covenant and to reaffirm our commitment and response to those benefits through scripture reading and prayer, fasting, almsgiving, self-examination and repentance. 

 Lectionary Readings

Feb 17 – Ash Wed.Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 or Isaiah 58:1-12Ps 103 2 Cor. 5:20-6:10 Matt 6:1-6; 16-21

Feb 21 - Gen 9:8-17 Ps 25 1 Peter 3:18-22 Mark 1:9-13

Feb 28 - Gen 22: 1-14 Ps 16 Rom 8:31-39 Mark 9:31-38

March 7 - Ex 20:1-21 Ps 19:7-14 Rom 7: 12-25 John 2:13-22

March 14 - 2 Chr. 36:14-23 Ps 122 Eph 2: 1-10 John 6:1-15

March 21 - Jer. 31:31-34 Ps 51 Heb 4:14-5:10 John 12: 30-36

March 28 Palm Sunday - Mark 11: 1-11 Ps 118: 19-29 Phil 2: 5-11 Is 52:13-53:12

April 4 Easter Sunday - Acts 10:34-43 Is. 25:6-9 Col 3: 1-4 Mark 16: 1-8