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Tony Kim |



Probably the first covenants were those that created a family relationship, such as marriage or adoption.

For example, a parent adopting a child might say, “I will be your father and you will be my son.”

I am familiar with this because my wife and I adopted both my son and daughter at birth.

The day we signed the papers and met the requirements of the agreement (covenant), we had the right to be their parents and they had the right to be our children.

God’s covenant with David, Psalm 89 appears as a father/son adoption.

3 I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, 26 He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation. 27 Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth. 28 My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him.

God’s covenant with the people of the Old Testament are patterned after these family covenants.

In some parts of the Old Testament, God’s covenant with the people of Israel is like nd adoption covenant. Hosea 11.

Or God’s covenant with Israel is like a marriage. Hosea 1-3.

In that passage, worshipping other God’s is like being unfaithful to one’s husband.

It is breaking the covenant.

Hosea and Gomer were married in Israel in the eighth century before the Christian Era.

The high point of their marriage ceremony was their saying, “You are now my wife, and I am now your husband.”

“You are now my husband, and I am now your wife.”
That was their marriage covenant.

The marriage did not go smoothly.

In spite of bearing Hosea three children, Gomer was unfaithful to him.

So he did what he as a Hebrew husband had a right to do.

He called together the elders of the town in front of the town gate (considered the court of law in those days).

He brought suit for divorce on the ground of Gomer’s adultery.

He declared in public, “she is not my wife, and I am not her husband.”

He not only set her out of the house for public humiliation, he asked that her bride price be taken away from her.

At the time of the engagement, the groom paid the bride price to the bride and her father as kind of an insurance policy.

It protected the woman against poverty in case her husband died or tried to leave her.

The husband could ask for the bride price back only if the wife committed adultery.

That is what he did.

He asked for the vineyards and the orchards and the other things he had given to Gomer.

After that, Hosea did a strange thing.

He went courting Gomer again.

He told her he wanted a new covenant with her.

He told her if she would stop sleeping around with other men and be faithful to him, he wanted her back.

He asked her to make with him a covenant of righteousness and justice, of steadfast love and mercy.

Gomer Sid yes.

So Hosea paid a new bride price of silver and barley and married her again.

And the new covenant, the new relationship began.

He did not hide the story of his up-and-down marriage.

He told it publicly.

He said that Israel’s relationship with God, (like our relationship with the world), was like Gomer’s relationship with Hosea.

Israel had broken its covenant with God.

Israel had been worshipping other gods.

So God would allow it to reap the consequences of its sin.

But God wanted a new covenant with a faithful Israel.

A covenant of righteousness and justice.

Of steadfast love and mercy.

God said, “You are my people, and I am you God.”

That was God’s kind of justice.

Covenant is the context for understanding much of the faith language of the Bible.

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