Psalm 81; 2 John 1-13; Genesis 24:1-27

Covenant.  We hear that word a lot in church, but what does it mean?  A covenant is an agreement that brings about a relationship of commitment between God and his people. It is kind of like a contract.  Each party agrees to do certain things.  However, a covenant is more than just a business contract, because it brings about a committed relationship. It is a marriage.

In our three Scriptural readings for the day, we can clearly see both sides of the covenant relationship.  Psalm 81 begins with ten verses of celebration over the great acts of God on behalf of his people.  He removes our burdens, sets us free, rescues us, and fills us.  However, the psalm ends in sadness.  I can almost see God sitting with his face in his hands shaking his head as tears run down his face—a broken-hearted lover.  “If only my people would listen to me and follow my ways!  I would protect them from their enemies and feed them with the finest of foods.  They would be satisfied!”  God longs to care for his people, his Bride, but she does not hold up her end of the covenant relationship.  She is an unfaithful wife.

In 2 John, we read words of instruction.  John writes, “I ask that we love one another.  And this is love:  that we walk in obedience to his commands”  (2 John 5b-6a).  John goes on to warn, “Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God;  whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son” (2 John 9).

So what have we learned about covenant relationship with our God?  We learn that our part of the covenant is loving submission to the will of God.  In the psalm, God just wanted his people to listen and to follow his ways.  In 2 John, we are told that the way that we can love God is by obeying him and continuing in his teaching.  God’s part of the covenant relationship is that he will take good care of us.  He will give himself to us.

In Genesis 24, we see just how wonderful that covenant relationship can be.  At his death, Abraham sends his servant to find a wife for his son, and the mission is miraculously and perfectly fulfilled.  God gets to love his people, his Bride, to the fullness that he desires.  Abraham has been faithful to God, and God is faithful to him.  It has been a long and beautiful marriage.

During this season of Lent, take time to reflect on your relationship with God.  Are you submitting to Him in love in all areas of your life?  Are you giving yourself to Him?  Can you say “I do” to your Groom? I hope so, because in the Easter act, He gave himself completely to you and wants to continue to love on you.

Rev. Jayme Himmelwright – Columbia First Church of the Nazarene – Columbia, SC

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