It was a new beginning when Noah and the animals emerged from the big ship after the flood waters receded; and God marked this new beginning with something He has not done before: He established His first covenant with His creation, sealed by a rainbow with four more covenants to follow. Below is a quick synopsis of our covenant history with God:
I. Genesis 9:11: [Covenant with Noah and his children] “Yes, I am confirming my covenant with you. Never again will floodwaters kill all living creatures; never again will a flood destroy the earth.”
II. Genesis 17:7: [Covenant with Abraham and his children] “I will confirm my covenant with you and your descendants after you, from generation to generation. This is the everlasting covenant: I will always be your God and the God of your descendants after you.
III. Exodus 19:5: [Ark of the Covenant] “Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me.”
IV. 2 Samuel 7:12-13: [Covenant with David] “For when you die and are buried with your ancestors, I will raise up one of your descendants, your own offspring, and I will make his kingdom strong. He is the one who will build a house—a temple—for my name. And I will secure his royal throne forever.”
V. Matthew 26:28: [Covenant renewed through Jesus] “for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many.”
Obviously God is seeking a covenant relationship with humans; and just as much as marriage is a covenant relationship between humans, which can be broken if its participants mess up, the covenant relationship between God and people has also known its ups and downs. Prophet Jeremiah mentioned the d-word; yes, you guessed it: divorce. In the 3rd chapter of his book Jeremiah portrays a rather messy relationship between God and people, specifically, the people of Israel and the people of Judah. Jeremiah 3:8 says: “She [Judah] saw that I divorced faithless Israel because of her adultery. But that treacherous sister Judah had no fear, and now she, too, has left me and given herself to prostitution.”
With all the wreckage that humans have left behind one wonders why God still bothers, yet He does. Ever since our very first break-up after we had to leave the Garden of Eden God has been working persistently to fix the relationship with us humans; and His covenants testify to that. They were created to achieve reconciliation, a reconciliation that brings us close to God again. How close? As we read in the 24th chapter of Exodus Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the seventy elders were invited to have a meal with God on Mount Sinai. There they saw Him. They laid eyes on God as they were having a meal. That’s close! It brings us back to the time when Adam and Eve walked the Garden of Eden with God and had daily face-to-face conversations. God wants to restore intimacy.
So, God’s covenants are all about bringing God and people back together. They are humanity’s stepping stones into God’s presence as initially experienced in the Garden of Eden – if we accept its terms! The latest and greatest covenant with humans is the New Covenant through Jesus, God’s Son. We accept the New Covenant by believing in Jesus. This opens the door to a meal with God, an intimate meal with spirited conversations, fellowship, laughter, and beauty.