Relationships are our greatest treasures in life. When we get to the end of our lives, we won’t be thinking about how much we have in the bank; we’ll be thinking about the people in our lives. Whether we realize it or not, there’s a real desire for community and real authentic relationships. But at the same time, often our wounds come from people. This makes navigating relationships tricky sometimes.
Unlike today’s contracts, which are conditional and often have an expiration date, most ancient covenants were unconditional and endured until one of the parties died. When God makes a covenant, it’s forever.
By definition, a covenant binds 2 or more parties together personally who agree to do or not do something specified. Covenants can define or create a relationship (marriage, countries, etc.). Usually, covenants are unconditional, meaning that you promise to do X no matter what the other person does or doesn’t do. But sometimes covenants can be conditional; for example, you promise to do Y if the other person does Z.
In Bible times, animal sacrifices often accompanied covenant commitments. Genesis 9 describes the Noahic covenant which applied to all creation. God used a rainbow to symbolize the promise of an everlasting covenant to never flood the earth again. (Usually, there is some sign or symbol that goes along with covenant because God wants us to remember our covenants.) Other biblical covenants include the priestly covenant with Aaron & his descendants, Abraham’s covenant, Moses’ covenant, and David’s covenant to always have an heir on the throne (Jesus).
Marriage is probably the covenant we are most familiar with. During biblical times, weddings sealed the covenant between not just 2 people but 2 families. They would cut an animal in 2 and create a dipping place in between so the blood would pool in middle. (“Seal” literally means “to cut.”) Through this ceremony and rite, the fathers of the children would walk in between the 2 pieces of the animal through the blood and would promise that their son or daughter would be honorable and true. If that didn’t happen, then they could do to the other what was just done to this animal.
Covenant was serious business. Covenant was more than just a contract – it was a deep promise – an intentional commitment.
The most important covenant is the new covenant that Jesus instated when He gave His life on the cross to provide a way for us to be restored in relationship to the Father. In Luke 22:20 at the Last Supper, Jesus (the Lamb of God) announced the new covenant. Just like how God sealed His covenant with Abraham through an animal sacrifice and God passed through fire, but Abraham didn’t (Genesis 15:17), Jesus not only did His part of the covenant, but he also did our part forever.
As believers, we are not only in covenant with God but with each other. We are in community with others in the Body of Christ, and we are in covenant with one another. We should aim to intentionally cultivate a relationship with each other as we commit to love each other. Like a family, we should look out for the interests of everyone and love everyone just as they are. There’s no room for jealousy or competition in the covenant.
By definition, community means we’re a fellowship or group with common unity. Now don’t misunderstand – we are to be one – but unified doesn’t mean uniform. We won’t all be the same. Remember that there are many expressions of the body of Christ. When different generations support and encourage each other, we embrace our diversity and benefit from it.
The goal is to “become love” by being able to really love people authentically and being intentional in a relationship with others. We do this by allowing people to be who they are without having to control them and not getting into fear and entanglement (which we often do with those we are closest with). As we learn how to be empowered, we can allow others to be empowered in who they are as well. This only fosters better relationships in the process.
Covenant relationships come from a healthy place, not from woundedness or even neediness. We are not talking about codependency but committed interdependency. It’s about learning how to be a powerful person where we can love other people right where they are, and we have healthy boundaries and filters too at the same time.
An Example of Biblical Covenant
A beautiful example of a covenant between friends is the story of Jonathon and David (1 Samuel 20). Here’s the gist of the story: King Saul’s son, Jonathon, and David were like-minded, like-spirited, and like-hearted. They went to war together and fought together, and they loved each other as they loved themselves. They enjoyed a very close, committed friendship.
But King Saul was trying to kill David because David was anointed to be the next king instead of Jonathon. Jonathon didn’t care about being king or not; he knew David was anointed by God to be the next king, and they remained best friends. Jonathon was disappointed to discover that his father was, in fact, trying to kill David, so Jonathon warned his friend about the danger.
When David left to hide from King Saul, he and Jonathon hugged and wept together. They promised that they would not have ill-will toward each other and would still love each other no matter what happened. They made a lasting covenant with each other and their households in 1 Sam 20:16-17 & 42. Later, when David became King, he honored this covenant when he took Jonathon’s orphaned son, Mephibosheth, into his household (2 Samuel 9).
What can we learn from Jonathon and David? We need to intentionally love people and closely share our lives with them. When we’re vulnerable with others, we encourage the development of intimacy. Can this be risky? Of course! But God created us for a relationship with Him and others, and with His help, we can cultivate meaningful, powerful relationships. God wants us to have covenant relationships with others. In order to love well like our Father, we must embrace vulnerability.
Jesus paid close attention to those around Him, and we should do the same. People were His treasures, and people should be our treasures too. We must get our eyes off of ourselves and notice those around us who need a friend, who are hurting, who need to encounter the Father’s love. We must be willing to invite others into relationship and covenant with us and our Savior.
Was this Article Helpful?
If this article was helpful to you, please consider linking this article to your own blog or sharing this through the social buttons below. You will also find other great articles at “Blog“.