Monday, June 1, 2015

The Story of God | The Covenants from The Bible Project by Tim Mackie and Jon Collins

Emmaus City The Covenants The Bible Project Story of God Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Church Multi-ethnic Network of Missional Communities

The Bible Project | The Covenants: How God Makes Promises and Partners with Humanity 

The Story of God: The Messiah

For this post, I'm including a video and the manuscript for an Animated Explanation of The Covenants by Tim Mackie and Jon Collins via The Bible Project, a wonderful new and free video series on YouTube.

Animated Explanation of The Covenants by The Bible Project

Produced by Tim Mackie and Jon Collins

 If you've been around Christians, you've probably heard of the idea of having a personal relationship with God, which could mean different things in the Bible like having God as a friend, or your father, or a teacher.

But there's one particular way that the Bible talks about having this relationship that you find all over. But strangely, we don't talk about it that much. And that's the idea of a partnership with God. A partnership like working alongside someone to accomplish a goal together. And this is what you actually see at the beginning of the Bible. God creates this good world full of all of this potential and then God appoints these unique creatures  humans  as his partners in bringing more and more goodness  family, love, peace, justice  out of all that.

Emmaus City The Covenants The Bible Project Story of God Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Church Multi-ethnic Network of Missional Communities

But humans don't want to partner with God. They rebel and try to create a world on their own terms. And so this broken partnership is the Bible's explanation for why we're stuck in a world of corruption, and injustice, and tragedy, and death. And it's not just like there are one or two humans who have bailed on this relationship. In the story of the Bible, everyone has abandoned the partnership with God. So what God does is select a smaller group of people out of the many and He makes a new partnership with them called a "covenant." And in a covenant, God makes promises, and then he asks his partner to fulfill certain commitments. The purpose of all of this is to somehow use this covenant relationship to renew his partnership with everybody else. 

Now there are actually four times in the Old Testament we're told God initiates a covenant relationship with Noah, Abraham, the nation of Israel, and King David. And it's through these that God is forming a covenant family through which all people will eventually be invited. So let's see how these work. 
Emmaus City The Covenants The Bible Project Story of God Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Church Multi-ethnic Network of Missional Communities
(1) The first one is with Noah. In this story, God brought the flood to cleanse the world of humanity's corruption. And Noah and his family are the only ones left. And so God makes a covenant with Noah saying, "Listen, I know that humans will continue being evil, but despite that, I'm not going to destroy it like this again. Instead, the earth will be this reliable place for us to work together. Great, so what does Noah have to do? Nothing. And that's what makes it so interesting about this covenant is that God is promising to be faithful even though he knows humans won't be. 

(2) The next time we see God make a covenant is with a man named Abraham. God chooses him, promises to bless him, give him a large family, lots of land where they can flourish. And in return, God asks Abraham to trust him and bring up his family to do what is right and just. And the whole reason for this covenant is that God says he is going to somehow bring his blessing to all families of the world through this one family. So that's Abraham.

(3) The next time we see God make a covenant is when Abraham's family grows into the tribe of Israel. And this covenant is with the whole tribe. God asks them to obey a set of laws, which are these guidelines for living well as a community of God's partners. And if they do this, then God promises to bless them and that they will become a people who then represent him to the rest of humanity. That's the covenant with Israel. 

(4) The last covenant is with King David. The tribe of Israel has become this large nation ruled by David and God asks David and his descendants to partner with him by leading Israel, and obeying the laws, and doing what is right and just. And God promises that one day one of David's sons will come and extend God's kingdom of peace and blessing over all the nations. 

So those are the four covenants that God makes in order to restore his partnership with the whole world. But here's what happens. Israel breaks the covenant. They worship other gods. They allow horrible injustice, they lose their land, and are forced off into exile. So it seems hopeless. But during this time, Israel's prophets talked about a day when God would restore these covenants in spite of Israel's failure. Somehow. They called it the new covenant. And this is actually what's so interesting about Jesus is that he's introduced into this story as the one who fulfills all of these covenant relationships. 

We're told that he's from the family of Abraham, so he will bring the blessings of that family to the whole world. We're told that he's the faithful Israelite who is truly able to obey the law. And we're told that he's the king from the line of David, so he goes about extending God's kingdom of justice and peace into all. And that's really remarkable for one guy. And what it highlights is perhaps the most surprising claim of all made about this man that Jesus is no mere human, but rather God become human. And God did this in order to be that faithful covenant partner that we are all made to be, but have failed to be. 

So through Jesus, God has made a way for anyone to be in a renewed partnership with him. So Jesus calls people to follow him and become part of this new covenant family. And despite their failures, Jesus is committed to making them into partners who are becoming more and more faithful. The story of the Bible ends with a vision of a fully renewed world full of goodness and peace. And there's this renewed humanity there partnering with God to expand the goodness of his creation. And so the end of the Bible story is really a new beginning.

Next post: The Story of God | Heaven and Earth from The Bible Project by Tim Mackie and Jon Collins

 – Sully

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