There are some words we don’t say anymore.
When was the last time you heard someone use “fortnight” in a sentence—including a movie? How about “alas” in any serious setting? Recall when you or someone close to you said something to the effect of, “Alas, our entire relationship last but a fortnight.” It’s a beautiful way to say it, but we just don’t talk that way anymore.
Fortunately, we have other ways to express the same idea, even if not as poetically.
Then there are words we don’t use much anymore for which we don’t have a simple way to express the same idea. One of those words is “covenant”.
If we ever hear this word, it’s in the context of a wedding (“covenant of marriage”) or in a church service. Rarely, however, is this word and concept defined.
A covenant is an agreement or contract between two or more people connecting them to each other for mutual advancement of whatever they are agreeing or making a contract on. Technical, huh? Here’s how this works out in the typical uses we (might) hear.
In marriage, it means an agreement between the husband, wife, and God connecting them for the advancement and success of the marriage.
In “church settings”, it refers to God’s gracious decision to benefit and bless us. Specifically (and usually), it refers to God’s gift of His promises and provisions in order to give us life.
If you’re still reading, you’re probably asking, “Why does this matter?”
Because God never, never, never, never, never breaks His covenants. Ever.
As we continue in Psalm 89, read of God’s faithfulness in His covenant in 19-29:
Once you spoke in a vision, to your faithful people you said: “I have bestowed strength on a warrior; I have raised up a young man from among the people. I have found David my servant; with my sacred oil I have anointed him. My hand will sustain him; surely my arm will strengthen him. The enemy will not get the better of him; the wicked will not oppress him. I will crush his foes before him and strike down his adversaries. My faithful love will be with him, and through my name his horn will be exalted. I will set his hand over the sea, his right hand over the rivers. He will call out to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, the Rock my Savior.’ And I will appoint him to be my firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth. I will maintain my love to him forever, and my covenant with him will never fail. I will establish his line forever, his throne as long as the heavens endure.
As a matter of historical reality we might be temped to dismiss the significance of this but there’s something amazingly HUGE in all of this. God the Father made a covenant with David (in the Old Testament) and a plan was set in motion in a life-altering way.
The human line of kings was broken but God didn’t break His promise. Quite the contrary, the Father gave us the ultimate son of David in Jesus. Matthew 1 demonstrates the lineage of Jesus. Not only does He have the legal rights to the throne of David, He has the spiritual ones as well.
Salvation for the world is bound up in this concept of covenant and the promise God made to King David. That’s what is sung about here in Psalm 89:19-29. It reminds us of a life-giving truth:
God the Father made an agreement with humanity to provide a way out of His wrath by the life of His Son, Jesus.
Covenant: now that’s a word we as disciples of Jesus need to never forget!