Message from the Pastor
Rev Edward Evans:

2 Samuel 23:5

1 September 2019

“Is not my house right with God? Has He not made with me an everlasting covenant, arranged and secured in every part?” (NIV)

They say that a person’s dying words are often more candid than those they spoke in life for the simple reason that the looming reality of death produces a candour that makes people often see and assess their life in a different light. The Scripture which I have just quoted is part of David’s dying words to his family and friends and what is interesting in it is his emphasis upon what he describes as an everlasting covenant which is ordered and secured in every part What is this everlasting covenant?

Is it something just relevant to David’s life or can we as Christians also confess this same truth? To answer this question we need to understand what the word covenant means. One definition is that it means an “unbreakable pledge of loyalty”, “a binding promise that cannot be broken”. One of the most commonly used words in the Hebrew Old Testament for covenant was “berith” which means “to cut”. This points to the fact that whenever a covenant was made in antiquity, it involved blood being shed: either an incision in the hands of the two people making covenant or animals being offered in sacrifice.

We see this in Genesis 15 when Abraham enters into a covenant with God and is instructed to take some animals and birds and cut them in half, which was common practice in making covenant, and lay the halves opposite each other providing a path or “walkway” of blood. Following this, the two parties making covenant would walk between these animal pieces making promises and swearing unbreakable loyalty to one another that affected not just themselves but every successive generation.

This practice may seem strange and even barbaric to our sensibilities today but behind this making of covenant was something very profound that we need to understand in order to understand David’s dying words. They say today that contracts are made to be broken but in covenant you could not do that. When you gave your word, it was unto death.

At the heart of God’s covenant with man is another Hebrew word “hesed” which means “the loving kindness” or kindness or mercy of God. When God made a covenant with Abraham, He promised him lands and descendants and protection from mortal danger, but there was a far greater promise that was being given. God promised “in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed”. We know from the New Testament that this was actually referring to Christ who was this promised Seed and in Him alone salvation and blessing would come to all the nations of the earth. We are told in Genesis 15 that “Abraham believed God and it was accounted to Him as righteousness”.

In some way we do not fully understand, God allowed Abraham to understand and believe in God’s promise to him, that a coming Seed, a Messiah, a Saviour, would come, through whom salvation would be given to all who would put their trust in Him. Throughout history there has never been any other way to receive salvation other than to look to this same promised Seed, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Saviour of the world.

In Genesis 15, Abraham stood in that walkway of blood as God powerfully came to Him, appearing as a fiery torch and moved between those animal carcasses, solemnising this promise But we as Christians today have something greater. On the night He was betrayed, Jesus took a cup and declared “ this is the new covenant made in my blood for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins”. This is the foundation of our mercy from God. This is the basis of our covenant, the sinless sacrifice of God’s beloved Son and His blood that was poured out on Calvary’s tree. We don’t stand between animal sacrifices anymore, we stand at the foot of the Cross and look at the blood poured out for us there and by putting our trust in Him can say, “I have an everlasting covenant with God, ordered and secured in every part “