My church talks a lot about covenants, especially about the one between God and people. In the beginning, God makes a covenant between this people Israel. In a covenant, both parties have a responsibility. Both parties keep the covenant. If one party breaks the covenant, the other is free from the responsibility. So there’s this covenant that God makes with Israel. The covenant is this: that Israel will have a relationship with God, such an important relationship that their identity is now determined by the fact that they are God’s own people; that God will be faithful to Israel and will bless them; that Israel will be faithful to God and bless the nations. A covenant is a beautiful thing.
But they problem is that Israel can’t keep the covenant. Because of their unfaithfulness, God is released from His promise to be their God, to care for them, to bless them, to be in relationship with them. But He doesn’t walk away. The whole point of Jesus is that God says to humanity, “You can’t keep the covenant. I’m sending Jesus to be faithful in your unfaithfulness, to keep what you have broken, to bind you to me forever.”
Sometimes, especially during the holidays, I check out from God. I peace out for a while- sometimes it’s intentional hiding, sometimes its just letting life go by. Either way, I’ve noticed that when I want to return, I’m filled with guilt. I’ve broken something and I can’t get over my disappointment at my failure. Recently, I was driving and asking God what it was going to take to change this cycle in my life. He didn’t answer that question. He resoundingly reminded me, “I am the covenant-keeper, and you are not.” Jesus keeps the covenant. Because of the covenant love of the crucified son, there is no longer anything at stake in our relationship when I mess up, when I break things, when I fail.
Because of the covenant love, I am free to run to him or to hide and He remains faithful; He remains present.