7 The Lord—he is our God.
His justice is everywhere throughout the whole world.
8 God remembers his covenant forever,
the word he commanded to a thousand generations,
9 which he made with Abraham,
the solemn pledge he swore to Isaac.
10 God set it up as binding law for Jacob,
as an eternal covenant for Israel,
11 promising, “I hereby give you the land of Canaan
as your allotted inheritance.”
“Covenant” is a term that we typically only use in scriptural conversations, yet it’s something that occurs often. Merriam-Webster define covenant as, “a usually formal, solemn, and binding agreement”. Other definitions include words like, “conditional” or “promise”. God makes covenants with Noah, Abraham, Israel and David. Through Christ, we receive a new covenant. In our modern world, we still have covenants with one another, everywhere from big things like marriage, to small things like promising to pick someone up at a certain time. There are conditions. When I was back in seminary, there was a big push for, “covenant community”. This is only a section of a much larger Psalm all about covenant, but it mostly focuses on how though God and God’s people have these promises to one another, people mess them up constantly and in this conditional agreement, are in desperate need for God’s unconditional forgiveness.
When we think about our current series where we’re wrestling with sin, we also find ourselves wrestling with forgiveness. We can recognize our need for divine, unconditional forgiveness yet maybe we struggle with internalizing it. Maybe we feel as though we don’t deserve it or that though God forgives us, we can’t seem to be free to forgive ourselves or others. Forgiveness is messy and subjective and nuanced – it’s not possible to wrap it up in a bow and expect it to cover every scenario perfectly. What we can do though is recognize the promises made between God and God’s people, and God’s willingness to go beyond the conditional promise made to forgive us even when we didn’t follow through on our promises.
By Rachel Callender
For Pondering & Prayer
What is the role covenant plays in your life? Can you think of example from your day-to-day? What about forgiveness? How does God’s forgiveness open us up for more grace to ourselves and others?
Prayer: Dear God, you have remained true to us even when we have not remained true to you. Forgive us. Guide us by your example on the beauty of covenants, and the need for grace and forgiveness. Amen.