Another Covenant

What does covenant look like then in the Bible? When God placed Man in the garden, there was a covenant relationship established between God and Adam.

Genesis 2:15-17 tells us “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

So, what is this? It is an agreement with a condition (oath covenant). (paraphrase) “Adam you may have supremacy over this place. It is yours. I put you in charge. But, just so we are clear, just so I KNOW you will honor our agreement, there is a condition. You must not eat of the fruit of this one tree.” Why do you think God put a condition on this promise to Adam? It could have been anything! Adam, don’t eat from………this tree over HERE! Or, don’t wash in THIS STREAM! Or, don’t touch THE FLOWERS ON THIS BUSH! Get the picture? It was just a line, drawn by God, that Adam was not to cross. Why did God do this? Why was it absolutely necessary for God to say that?

Well would free will have anything to do with it? God had made Adam in His very own likeness. God had given Adam the Garden, something of his own to take care of, to cultivate. However, without a choice did he really have free will? If you cannot choose one from another, then NO you do not have free will. You have what your father has given you, nothing more.

Interesting, that Eve is not on the scene yet. Read the next verse: Genesis 2:18 Then the lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”

Here’s a recap so far.

  • God made the earth and everything in it.
  • God made Man separately and different. He gave him dominion over creation, with one condition; he could not eat of one particular tree.
  • God saw that Adam needed a mate. In verses 21-23 God creates Eve and presents her to Adam. (Adam is pretty excited!)

Then comes the saddest chapter in the Bible. Genesis chapter 3. We don’t know how long it took to get to this point, but in comes the serpent. And…Eve seems like she is close to the forbidden tree. It appears that Adam told her what God’s command was, but she is walking close……..

Stop here. I realize I believe the Bible is divinely inspired. This means that every word, every scene, has had HIS personal stamp of approval. I also realize that I am human, and as such, was not there when this scene was played out. God ends up cursing the serpent, so it sounds like a real creature. If I were Eve, and a serpent started talking to me, I wouldn’t hang around. But, maybe this was the hundredth time he had spoken to her. And, isn’t that how we are tempted? At first, it may seem horrific, we run. But, over time, the horror is lost and we start to entertain the titillation of the action. Then we plot ways to creep up NEXT to it, but not partake. At this point we have probably lost the battle to stay pure, but we don’t accept that. We can still run, we reason…….just one more look.


In comes the Tempter…….and in Genesis 3:6, “The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too.”

WAIT! Adam was THERE with her! WHOA! Adam, what were you doing? You are master over all of the creation. A creepy snake is talking to your woman and you are just standing there? The Bible always refers to the sin of Man as Adam’s sin. (Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man”) Eve was the first to partake, but Adam was in charge. This sin was a huge deal. Up until now, the Garden was in perfect harmony with God. When God had finished creation (Gen 1:31) He looked over it and pronounced it very good.

There was a choice to break harmony, but it had not been exercised. Now look at the contrast:

  • they felt naked, (Gen 3:7)
  • they felt fear, and hid from God, (Gen 3:8)
  • they felt shame and blamed each other, the serpent, and even GOD for their transgression. (Gen 3:12-13)

Prior to this, there was no sin on earth. God (who is sinless) could walk among His creation. He walked with Adam during the day (wonder what those conversations were like)! When Adam sinned, something happened, something terrible, something that could not be erased. There was separation between God and Man. Adam saw that he was naked because the glory of God left him. (Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”) What was left was raw and fearful and ugly. The Garden was not very good any longer. It was out of harmony with God.

So, what do Adam and Eve do? They sew fig leaves together to cover their nakedness. What do we do when we realize we have done wrong? We construct righteousness for ourselves! We try to make fig leaf excuses to cover our actions. Another name for this is self-righteousness! They hid from God! When God said “Adam where are you?”, (Gen 3:9) He knew where they were. It seems like God is giving Adam a chance to say he is sorry. Ah, if only we would come to God with our failures, our messes, instead of trying to fix them ourselves. Could this be why so many these days deny God even exists? If HE is real, we have to face our wrongs.

If He doesn’t exist………………..we’re good.

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays

Well, it’s THAT TIME of year: THAT TIME when everything goes crazy. In addition to our already crazy lives, we add:

  •             buying a perfect gift for everyone close to us (and even some not so close),
  •             creating the perfect home setting for friends to come visit,
  •             fixing the ultimate holiday dinner,
  •             sending well—wishes to those who cannot partake in the first three,
  •             and in addition, attending school plays, work parties and festive gatherings.

Phew! I am usually very glad to usher in the New Year; if only to get away from the old one!

The holiday I celebrate at this time of year is Christmas. I used to be offended when someone would say “Happy Holidays”. “Wait a minute”, I would think, “Christmas is the holiday of the season! Don’t mess with my holiday!”

Well, since I am a Christian, I feel like I have to stick up for Jesus! I have to defend Him from those who would take away His season. Right…….me defend God. What would happen if I took a deep breath…….inhale the Holy Spirit……and exhale my selfishness. Bill Bright taught me this exercise in one of his writings many years ago. Christians believe that when you tell God you are sorry for your wrong actions (sin) and ask forgiveness, He sends the Holy Spirit to live in your spirit. He doesn’t control you…….God is too big a gentlemen to do that. He guides you, if you let Him. It is like having your own ‘App’ that you can check to remind you what is the correct path to take.

So I take a deep breath and check my ‘Holy Spirit App’, and He says ‘Ask them what holiday they celebrate?’ Now, instead of confrontation and grumpiness, you have a conversation, in peace.

Really, historically speaking, Christmas was not here first. Christmas was probably a Christian morph of the holiday honoring Saturn, a Roman god. Hanukkah also had earlier roots, coming from the celebration of the victory of the Maccabees (or Israelites) over the Greek-Syrian ruler, Antiochus about 2200 years ago.

And Jesus came to us, to show us a better way. So, ask a question, lay aside your own interests, and engage a fellow traveller. Isn’t that what Jesus would do? You may find you have common ground. You may get a chance to tell how Jesus came to earth to bring peace to us, our families, our world. Maybe by laying down your sword, you become someone that is perceived as safe. Not everyone is joyous during the holiday season. Some people struggle with depression, financial issues or loss that holidays only accentuate.

Jesus can turn a sinner into a saint. We have all heard this before. Let it begin with us: deep breath in……………and out. “Jesus, without YOU we can do nothing of true value. We alone cannot heal the broken-hearted, heal sick people, set our friends free from addictions. But, with YOU we can. Let us be the person you use to love one of your friends this Holiday Season!”

Who cares about God’s Blood Covenant?

Well, HE does for one. He sacrificed His Son for it. We take that pretty lightly. My husband and I have 2 daughters. Would I give their lives up willingly for ISIS to be saved from eternal damnation? I would like to say ‘yes’, if our daughters would go to heaven, if the recipient would appreciate it. But, I don’t believe I would do it even if it were a wonderful human being that was being saved and the girls were dying of cancer.

So God must care a LOT about this covenant He has made with earthlings.

Who else cares? Most of the Christians I know, understand the covenant as: God is good, I am bad, but if I believe Jesus died for me and paid for my sins, I can go to heaven when I die.

Then, like a diet gone bad, when we make more mistakes than we think Jesus has taken care of on the cross, we give up. Maybe we don’t consciously give up, we just quit thinking about it. That’s easy to do because life is filled with things to do. Work, kids, school, holidays, entertainment, household duties, eating, stuff to keep our minds, bodies and credit cards busy.

I have been a Christian for a long time. I heard about the Blood Covenant, what it means, who it affects, what it cost, last year in ministry school. I was shocked. To tell you the truth, I can’t think of anything else. I want to tell everyone I meet. I want to bore people with all the details. I want to tell it as simply or as complex as you want to hear and my level of intellect will allow.

It has affected my life. That peace Jesus said He would give us: the peace that is above understanding? I now know what that is! I know it is real. I KNOW! And I KNOW THAT I KNOW! I thought I knew it before last year, now I know it as well as I know my name and date of birth. (Have I said ‘I know’ enough? Maybe not, here is one more.) I know it is for everyone, even the cruel men and women of ISIS. It redeems bad cops and bad priests. It protects the weak. It gives all men and women purpose in their lives. It gave me a new understanding of evil, of good, of prayer, of healing. It’s crazy!

And, the biggest shock; the WHOLE BIBLE is covenant-minded. It is covenant-centered. Sure, there are lots of topics in the Bible, lots of stories. But there is only ONE main theme, with TWO parts. The Old Testament and the New Testament. You know, ‘Testament’ means ‘Covenant’? Who left that one out of my training as a Christian? I mean come ON! I have been in faith-based grade school, high school, Sunday school, Bible studies for a good many years. How did I miss THAT ONE?

A Blood Covenant with God means He has chosen to bind His Almighty Person to an agreement that He cannot break. Think about that for a minute. He can’t break it. He is God. He cannot go back on His word. We may, but He can’t. He wouldn’t be God. And, guess what? The Bible is LOADED with covenant promises. You don’t have to guess which ones are for you. THEY ARE ALL FOR YOU, if you join in the covenant with God, ALL of them.

There is a ‘covenant’ verse in Revelations I will end with. If you have covenant glasses on when you read it, you will see much more. Actually, it probably won’t make much sense without them.

Revelations 3:20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

Jesus is speaking here metaphorically. He is saying “Hello! I am standing here outside every person’s door. Open up! I will come in. And we will eat together.”

Look how emphatic, how direct, how unwavering are His words.

Here I am! (That was not my emphasis, the Bible was written with that exclamation point.)

If anyone (anyone? ISIS, bad cops, bad priests?)

Opens the door

I will come in and eat with that person and they with me.

Are you excited yet??????

This is just one verse in the Bible. A meal here is not just food. Jesus doesn’t want to eat a hamburger with you. A meal is used in a covenant relationship to validate, to solidify the relationship. Sitting down sharing a meal is still a very special part of customs and celebrations in every culture today. Jesus is saying (have your covenant glasses on?) “Open up the door to you heart, your mind, your intuition, your spirit, let me come in. I am a gentleman; I will not come in unless you invite me. But, if you invite me in, we will share life together (bread). I will give you my love; you will understand and love me.”

His peace–out of this world!

Covenant Journey

I can’t say how many times I have read the word ‘covenant’ in the Bible and had a vague definition in mind when I did. However, I never dreamed how important, how intense was the meaning behind that small word.

I am not the kind of reader that enjoys a novel when the development of each character takes chapter upon chapter. I am more of an action junkie. Take me to the conflict, the chase, the ‘angst’. If you don’t take me there quickly, I will find it myself, read it, and be on my way.

What kind of reader are you? Do you mull over each sentence? Or, like me do you wonder ‘where are we going?’ and ‘how long is it going to take to get there?’

Just for fun, write down some things that come to mind when you think of a covenant in today’s world.

Now, when you think of the Biblical version of covenant, what comes to mind?

Imagine my surprise when I went through a class on the ‘Blood Covenant’, and found that the entire Bible has ‘covenant’ as its central theme.

Write down what we call the collection of the first 39 books of the Bible from Genesis to Malachi.

Now, what do we call the second group of 27 books of the Bible from Matthew to the Revelation of John?

If you answered ‘Old Testament’ and ‘New Testament’ you would be correct. But, did you know ‘testament’ is another word for ‘covenant’? Would it surprise you if I said that the following statement by Jesus in Luke 22:20

“In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.’”,

could not have happened without the old covenant? God is not a god of mistakes or second thoughts. He doesn’t say ‘Let’s try this plan and move to plan B if necessary.” The old covenant was Part A; the new covenant Part B. The old covenant was absolutely essential for Part B.

Let’s start at the beginning. As much as I would like to jump to the end of the book, the pieces are each intense in their own way.

When you wrote down what a covenant means in today’s terminology, you may have written court of law, will, contract, wedding vows. These are some ways a covenant can be expressed. The dictionary defines covenant as: an agreement, usually formal, between two or more persons to do or not do something specified. In the Western world, the word covenant is not used as much in today’s language as it was in the past. In fact, even this dictionary definition leaves out very important pieces of a covenant relationship.

To be in covenant with someone, is to pledge your entire being to the other person. The words spoken are an oath, sometimes before God of the intentions of each party to fulfill the contract. This is not a casual friendly relationship. In some cultures, this meant the exchanging of blood. When I was growing up and watching shows on television about cowboys and Indians, one of my favorites was the Lone Ranger. The Lone Ranger and his Native American friend Tonto were blood brothers. Tonto would call the Lone Ranger ‘Kemo Sabe’ or ‘trusted friend’. They fought bad guys together and you knew that one would die for the other if necessary. Even as a child, I knew there was something special about that relationship. When we would play, we would pretend to cut ourselves and enter into a blood brother relationship with our friends just like the Lone Ranger and Tonto.

Sometimes a token of the relationship is given such as a ring, or an amulet. This is a remembrance to the covenant partners and as a sign to the rest of the community. They may also change their names or take part of each other’s name.

Also a covenant often had at least one condition attached. One may say, “So that we understand each other, I need for you to do ______________________. That way I KNOW you are bound to the covenant.” A non-Biblical example of this is the relationship gang members have towards one another. There are some gang initiation rites where you would be accepted into the gang, but then you must show you are really a member. You would be required to steal something or even to kill someone. Then your membership would be sealed.

The reverse could also happen. If you break the covenant there could be a consequence, sometimes a very severe consequence. Today, in some cultures, if a young woman goes outside her religious community and marries, her brother or father could kill her. This is a terrible thing. I am not condoning this practice. But, in their eyes, she has brought dishonor to the family, to their name and must be punished by death.

Often in a covenant, gifts are exchanged. The marriage covenant has this in mind when the two persons are joined together. Everything I have is yours and everything you have is mine. (This even includes your charge card debt and your tax burden!)

A covenant can also be established with the partaking of a meal together. A meal is a very traditional way to establish a relationship of importance between two parties. Dinners with heads of state are an example at a very high government level. How many treaties have been ratified over food before a piece of paper was ever signed? And, of course what happens in a typical wedding? Maybe a sit-down meal is a part, but most of the time there is a CAKE! What happens with the cutting of the cake? Everything stops! The friends and family gather around, everyone stops talking, for the CUTTING OF THE CAKE! We have lost the symbolism for this in Western culture, but it is a symbol of the marriage union expressed in sharing bread (cake). Bread is the symbol for sustenance, for livelihood. The couple expresses their commitment before witnesses that they are now one by feeding each other a bite of cake.

NEXT: Another Covenant……………….