Read for This Week’s Study: Neh. 10:1-29, Gen. 4:8-19, Heb. 13:20, Joshua 24:1-33, Neh. 10:30-39, Heb. 8:1-7.
Memory Text: “‘And because of all this, we make a sure covenant and write it; our leaders, our Levites, and our priests seal it’. … we will not neglect the house of our God” (Nehemiah 9:38; Nehemiah 10:39, NKJV).
What does the Bible mean when it talks about the “covenant”? The easiest explanation of this kind of biblical covenant is that it is the legal establishment of a relationship between God and His people. It is God saying, “You are my people, and I am your God”. Beyond this, we can find the use of written covenants among other people in the ancient world, often between leaders and the vassals under them.
These covenants were established because they were beneficial to both parties. The leader would take care of the people, and the people would pay tribute. But with God, the covenant was different. God wasn’t really getting anything out of it, and yet He promised to be faithful to it, even when people were not. Indeed, the blessings and curses attached to the covenant made it possible for the Israelites to know when bad things started happening, that they had been breaking the covenant.
This week, we will look at the covenant that the Israelites renewed with God, in Nehemiah chapter 10, and also discuss some general information about the history and importance of covenant making in the Bible.