Did God invent the covenant?. Toward an Old Testament hermeneutic. Reads the Bible and thinks about it in linear. Assumes that every action and word cast in a positive light represents God’s ideal will. Ignores social and experiential context.
Toward an Old Testament hermeneutic
“Still the patriarch begged for some visible token as a confirmation of his faith and as an evidence to after-generations that God’s gracious purposes toward them would be accomplished. The Lord condescended to enter into a covenant with His servant, employing such forms as were customary among men for the ratification of a solemn engagement. By divine direction, Abraham sacrificed a heifer, a she-goat, and a ram, each three years old, dividing the bodies and laying the pieces a little distance apart.” PP 137About the Abrahamic covenant
Why did you make a covenant?
IF WE TAKE THIS COVENANT TO REPRESENT GOD’S PREFERRED VERSION, THEN THERE IS NO RESPONSE REQUIRED OTHER THAN TO TRUST, AND POSSIBLY TO VALUE THE LIVES OF OTHERS.Is this a covenant or a promise?
“After these events, the Lord's word came to Abram in a vision, ‘Don't be afraid, Abram. I am your protector.’ Your reward will be very great.’ But Abram said, ‘Lord God, what can you possibly give me, since I still have no children? The head of my household is Eliezer, a man from Damascus.’ He continued, ‘Since you haven't given me any children, the head of my household will be my heir.’ The Lord's word came immediately to him, ‘This man will not be your heir. Your heir will definitely be your very own biological child.’ Then he brought Abram outside and said. ‘Look up at the sky and count the stars if you think you can count them.’ He continued, ‘This is how many children you will have.’ Abram trusted the Lord and the Lord recognized Abram's high moral character.” Gen 15:1-6, CEBThe Abrahamic covenant
“He said to Abram, ‘I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as your possession.’ But Abram said, ‘Lord God, how do I know that I will actually possess it?” He said, ‘Bring me a three-year-old female calf, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a dove, and a young pigeon.’ He took all of these animals, split them in half, and laid the halves facing each other, but he didn't split the birds. When vultures swooped down on the carcasses, Abram waved them off. . . . After the sun had set and darkness had deepened, a smoking vessel with a fiery flame passed between the split-open animals. That day the Lord cut a covenant with Abram: ‘To your descendants I give this land. . . .” Gen. 15:7-20, CEBThe story doesn’t end there
In earlier cases, the superior in the covenant would take on the curses of the covenant.
In later cases, the inferior would take on these curses.
Yahweh takes on the curses of the Abrahamic covenant!God and the covenant
“The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.”The new covenantJeremiah 31:31-34