"... the joy of the LORD is your strength." (Neh. 8:10)
A. We shall see in this study that a Christian is under a Covenant Relationship With God.
1. Also, we will be studying our Covenant Relationship with God from a Biblical viewpoint --- keeping in mind that the Bible is Not an American book.
2. It is a Jewish book, written by Jews concerning a Jewish Messiah.
B. In Biblical thinking, "Covenant" is a very Sacred word; yet in Western thinking, it has a very Casual concept.
1. A covenant is a Binding, Indissoluble Unbreakable agreement between two people or two groups that contains promises made on the part of each to the other.
2. Biblically speaking, a Covenant Absolutely Cannot Be Broken.
3. Speaking of His covenant with David, God says in:
Psa. 89:30-36, "If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; 31 If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; 32 Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. 33 Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. 34 My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. 35 Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. 36 His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me."
4. A Covenant implies Much More than a Contract or Legal Agreement.
Contracts are limited By Time while a Covenant has an Eternal Quality.
C. In the Bible, a Covenant between two people lasted to the Third And Fourth Generation of their descendants.
1. Thus, many years after the death of his Covenant Friend Jonathan, David shows kindness to Mephibosheth.
2. This was Not For Mephiboshethís Sake --- but for Jonathanís, Davidís beloved Covenant Friend.
In Biblical Times There Were
I. The Exchange of Robes or Cloaks (Garments).
A. 1 Sam. 18:3-4, "Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. 4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle."
"Robe" --- A garment worn over a tunic by Men of Rank --- A garment of the High Priest.
B. By doing so, Jonathan was saying in effect to David --- "Iím Giving You My Life; All That I Am And All That I Have."
1. Jonathan was the Crown Prince, son of King Saul, Destined For The Throne.
a. From Birth he had been trained, schooled, and groomed for Kingship.
b. He had Everything To Live For, possessions beyond our imagination, money, prestige, and a future to be envied.
2. However, he was Ready And Willing To Give It All Away.
C. Concerning David --- Others Saw A Shepherd Boy But God Made Him A King.
D. This Is Precisely What The Crown Prince of Heaven Did For Us.
Phil. 2:7-8, "But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
2 Cor. 5:21, "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
1. The Son of God loved us with a Love More Powerful and Redemptive than the love of Jonathan for David.
2. He left the indescribable beauty and the unspeakable glory of heaven to Give Us His Robe of Righteousness.
Isa. 61:10, "I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness,"
Eph. 4:24, "And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."
a. Eph. 4:24 is written in Covenant Language which the Jews understood far more deeply than we generally do today.
b. Paul was Emphasizing that there had been an Exchange of Life.
c. We are now to Walk In Another Manís Garment --- taking on His Identity, reflecting His Nature, Manifesting His Goodness.
E. Christ has done for us Much More than what Jonathan did for David.
II. The Exchange of Belts (Weapons).
A. 1 Sam. 18:4, "And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle."
B. By giving up his Personal Weapons of Defense --- Jonathan was Surrendering His Ability To Defend Himself against attack.
1. His entire Defense Was Now In The Hands of His "Covenant Friend".
2. He deliberately Made Himself Vulnerable.
3. He also rendered himself Incapable of Hurting His "Covenant Friend" --- It was a commitment of Utter Loyalty --- holding nothing back.
a. This was what Jesus had in mind when He said:
John 15:13, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
b. At the Last Supper, Jesus, when He was about to Give His Life --- Cut The Covenant --- said:
John 15:15, "Henceforth I call you not servants; ..... I have called you friends;"
C. A friend, Biblically, is someone with whom you have a Covenant.
Abraham is called the "Friend of God" but not until After he had made his Covenant With God.
D. In effect, he was saying, "I Now Give To You Everything With Which I Could Ever Hurt You. And I Placer Myself At Your Mercy."
"If I Am Attacked, Unless You Defend Me, I Am Defenseless."
No One Came To The Defense of Christ On The Cross --- They All Forsook Him And Fled.
E. However, our Covenant Partner, God Himself, is committed to Fight Our Battles, to be Our Defense, and preserve us to everlasting life.
1. 2 Tim. 2:13, "If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself."
A Covenant Does Not Depend Upon The Faithfulness of The Other Person.
2. Deut. 20:4, "For the LORD your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you."
3, It is tragic that many born again children of God are Unacquainted With This Provision of our Covenant with God.
4. We continue to live as though We Much Fight Our Own Battles.
5. Jesus Is Committed To Our Defense --- we can Trust Him Completely for He will never violate His covenant.
III. Exchange of Names.
A. The exchange of names today is what we would call the "Power of Attorney".
B. Each gave to the other the Right And Authority To Use His Name As His Very Own With No Restriction or Limitation.
John 14:13, "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son."
John 15:16, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."
To act in anotherís name is to --- Do what they would do --- Think like them --- Behave like them.
C. This is a covenant privilege we must Not Take Lightly.
1. The Name Must Never Be Used Flippantly.
2. It is Powerful, yes, even to the Tearing Down of Strongholds, but it is also a Sacred Trust which we must handle in holiness.
IV. The "Cutting" of The Covenant.
A. Now that they have Exchanged Garments, Weapons, and Names --- It is time for the Cutting of The Covenant.
B. An Animal was chosen --- slaughtered by being Cut In Two down the middle.
They would separate the two halves, Laying Them Side By Side with just enough room between the two sections to Stand In The Pool of Blood that would quickly form in the middle.
C. Clasping Their Hands Together, they would commit to each other in word similar to these:
"I Choose This Day To Die To Myself And Live To Bless You, My Covenant Partner. I Will Make My Decisions And Order My Life With You In Mind From This Day Forward; Seeking Always What Is Best For You Ahead of Myself."
His friend would repeat the same pledge back to him and then together they would look down at the blood, in which they stood, and say:
"May God Do This To Me And More If Aught But Death Part You And Me."
D. They are saying in effect, "Any Time You Need Me, The Rest of The World Stops. You Are My First Priority."
V. Mingling of Their Blood.
A. Still standing in the blood, each of them would make a Small Cut On The Back of Their Wrist, then clasp their hands together in such a manner that Their Blood Would Mingle.
1. Leviticus tells us that "Life Is In The Blood."
2. This is a Vitally Important part of the covenant making process.
3. It was in this act that every other step was leading up to --- The Exchange of Their Very Life.
4. They Could Not Tell Where One Personís Blood Ended And The Other Personís Blood Began --- Their blood, their life had mingled together and become Inseparatable.
B. As their blood mingled, they committed themselves to the reality that Their Lives Were Now One.
1. They could truly say, "My Life And Your Life Are Wrapped Up Together --- I Donít Know Where My Life Stops And Yours Begins."
2. No longer was each a separate individual --- They Were One Life.
3. Their Lives Could Never Again Be Separate any more than you could ever again Separate The Blood back, one from the other.
This is also true of the Marriage Covenant --- with the flow of Blood when the Membrane is first Broken showing the Purity of the Bride.
But, that is another message for another time.
C. Now consider the Spiritual Ramifications for us today.
1. If you took a few drops of Your Blood and a few drops of your Covenant Partnerís Blood and put into a little cup --- Can You Ever Separate Them Again --- no way.
a. Thatís how these Two Lives Are Suppose To Be.
b. Thatís what the Covenant Blood of Jesus Did For Us.
c. Does that bring to you, a Greater Dimension of What Our Salvation Is All About?
d. Jesus Has Mingled His Blood With Us --- We have become One With Christ.
John 6:53, "Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day."
V. 66, "From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him."
John 17:26, "And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them."
Gal. 2:20, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
2. We have been Cleansed by the Sacred Blood of The New Covenant --- the perfect Lamb of God.
a. This Exchange of Life is what Calvary is all about.
b. With such a Mingling of The Life of Christ With Our Life --- It is Difficult for a Christian to Backslide --- Conviction of The Presence of God.
Heb. 13:5, "... he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
Prov. 18:24, "... there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother."
3. The death of Christ is far More Than A Deliverance From The Fires of Hell.
D. Each time we partake of the Lordís Supper, which is a Covenant Meal, we are showing forth the Exchanged Life that is ours in Christ Jesus.
VI. Rubbing of Salt And Hyssop Into The Cut To Form A Scar.
A. This was to Form A Scar on the wrist that would Never Fade Away.
1. A small cut may heal and vanish away.
2. This Scar was to serve as a Lifelong Reminder of the covenant Rights and Responsibilities to which they had committed themselves.
a. It was to Remind them of their Responsibility.
b. It may Hurt sometimes to keep the covenant --- It may Cost you something --- your Own Agenda --- Time --- Money --- Possessions --- etc.
3. The Scar took this covenant out of the realm of emotions, feelings and circumstances and into the realm of Assurance of A Covenant Relationship.
4. Does this tell you Why Jesus Still Has Scars In His Hands.
B. Dr. David Livingston --- African Missionary.
While traveling throughout Africa and going into areas where many tribes had not previously seen a white man --- David Livingston Learned very early in his ministry to cut a covenant with the tribal leader.
You see, these tribes Understood a lot about Covenants and practiced them--- Most tribal people do.
David Livingston Cut Covenant with more than 50 Tribal Leaders.
Each time he encountered a new tribe, the Row of Scars on his arm instantly communicated to them that this was not simply one person standing in their presence, but one who was in covenant with hundreds of others tribesmen.
They understood that each scar on his arm represented thousands of arrows and spears flying directly at them if they mistreated him in any way.
A covenant said that If You Are Every In Danger, I Will Be There To Help You.
This Highly Motivated Them to also enter into covenant with this white man, knowing that it would assure protection and freedom from attach from any of these other tribes.
And that Scar would Never Go Away.
Heb. 13:5-6, "... for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. 6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me."
VII. Speak Aloud The Covenant Terms.
A. While still standing the blood, they would Pledge To Each Other Full Access to all their assets, property, money, etc.
B. You Receive All The Other Personís Assets, and also his liabilities.
C. When Jesus cut covenant with us, we received All of His Assets and He took All Our Liabilities.
VIII. Share A Memorial Meal.
A. Once this was completed, they would walk away from the slaughtered animal, wash their feet and sit down to share a Memorial Meal.
Some have suggested that this was the Original Baptist Covered Dish Dinner .....
B. The sharing of food has carried Spiritual Significance since the beginning of time.
a. This was done to Celebrate the birth of something new --- A New Relationship --- a Wedding, etc.
This was not even a Wedding --- It was a Covenant Friend.
b. This was a Type of Communion --- Christians Under A Covenant Relationship.
c. Why do you think Paul said:
1 Cor. 11:28-29, "But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lordís body."
Eph. 5:23, "... Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body."
Col. 1:18, " And he is the head of the body, the church:"
If your Relationships Are Not Right In The Body --- you are Not Walking In Covenant Relationship.
When you come to Communion, you are Violating What This Meal Is All About --- covenant with me and with your brothers and sisters.
Paul was appealing to a Covenant Principle.
C. They would break bread together symbolizing and expressing that Their Lives Were Permanently Entwined.
IX. Planting of A Sapling (Tree).
A. A very young Tree would be planted at the place where they had cut the covenant.
1. Similar to Jacob and his pile of Stones.
2. A tree is a Symbol of Life --- in the Garden of Eden.
3. Godís Word is referred to as a Tree of Life (Prov. 3:18)
4. Fulfilled Desires are referred to as a Tree of Life (Prov. 13:12)
5. Encouraging Words from a friend is referred to as a Tree of Life.
B. It would be Sprinkled with some of the Blood of the covenant sacrifice.
Heb. 12:24, "And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel."
After Jesus Celebrated The Covenant Meal --- He Went Out And Hung On A Tree.
C. From that day forward, the Tree, along with the Scar on the wrist, was to serve as a Permanent Reminder of Their Covenant.
Thus, there were Two Witnesses to this awesome covenant relationship.
D. As this tree Grows And Bears Fruit, it is a fitting symbol that his Relationship was also to Grow and Bear Fruit ---
To Withstand The Storms of Life and the Winds of Adversity, becoming even Stronger Because of Them.
A. It was After making such a covenant that you could rightly call someone your "Friend".
1. Biblically speaking, "Friend" Is A Very Serious And Deeply Meaningful Word.
2. It was Not used in that day in the casual manner in which we employ it today.
B. A "Friend" as biblically understood:
1. Truly Loveth At All Times,
2. Is Utterly Reliable,
3. Unquestionably Loyal throughout life.
This Is Our Covenant Relationship With God !
There Is No Second Chance After Death!
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