We live our lives at lightning speed. And how can we not? We have families to raise. Careers to develop. Goals to reach. Things to learn. Relationships to grow. Instagram accounts to update. Dreams to actualize. In the midst of all the demands of twenty-first-century life, it can be hard to connect to ancient notions of promise and obligation, duty and responsibility. We might find ourselves asking: Why should a set of ancient covenants matter now? What do these contractual agreements God made with other people have to do with our lives today?
There’s no denying it. We lead very different lives from Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David. But even with the myriad ways our lives are different, there’s at least one way our lives are the same. Just as every one of them felt the consequences of broken relationship with God all those centuries ago, we continue to feel the strain that comes with living in a world that’s not as it should be.
Adam and Eve experienced life in a world where the earth had been cursed and where shame, pain, dissent, and strife were felt. All of this after having tasted the unhindered goodness of creation and perfect fellowship with God. Noah felt the excruciating pain that comes with witnessing his world be ravaged by flood and experiencing the loss of life. He had to start over with only his family by his side. Abraham knew firsthand the heartbreak of childlessness. Moses was all too familiar with the feelings of incompetence. He knew imposter syndrome long before it had a name. David lived with the pain of broken family relationships. And Jesus—Jesus knew the worst pain of all, as he hung on a tree, betrayed by his friends, carrying the weight of all the sins of the world.
So, why should a set of ancient covenants matter to us now? Because just like these people spent their lives waiting for God to fulfill his promises of redemption, we also find ourselves waiting. No, we’re not waiting for God to give us a descendant and make us into a great nation like Abraham did, but we’re waiting for something. Maybe we’re waiting for healing in our bodies, our hearts, our minds. Maybe we’re waiting for restoration in our relationships. Or maybe we’re waiting for companionship in the form of a child, a spouse, a friend. In our waiting, we can look to God’s covenants with Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David and find hope. Because, like all the other covenants, the end of our waiting is wrapped up in the fulfillment of God’s New Covenant through Jesus.
Why study the covenants? Because for those of us who follow Jesus, there is no covenant whose blessings we do not enjoy. As it turns out, our lives may not be all that different after all.