I’ve been reading and learning in my devotional time over the past several months about the history of the Covenant—what it means, where it all started, the practices that took place in the Bible, and what it means to us today. A lot of these thoughts come from a book by Kay Arthur “God, How Can I Live?” Our pastor just preached about this subject last Sunday. He reiterated how lucky we are to live on this side of the Covenant.
I am continuously amazed at the abundance of information packed in the pages of the Bible. How God used people & symbolism to give us a foretaste of what was to come. There is always something more that God has to teach me.
David & Jonathon made a covenant in 1 Samuel 18. In verse 4 the two men exchanged their robes symbolizing “I am so becoming one with you that I will take on your likeness.” This is what the New Covenant is all about – our taking on His (Christ’s) likeness. Romans 13:14 “Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ.” He is our perfect role model.
Then the two men exchanged their weapons symbolizing the taking on of one another’s enemies…whenever one was under attack, it was the duty of the other to come to his aid! In the New Covenant, I do not have to worry about defending myself against my enemies. My Covenant Partner, Jesus, is my defense. I am to give love, He will deal in justice. Romans 12:19-21 “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath…on the contrary if your enemy is hungry, feed him…do not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
They also exchanged belts representing a man’s strength symbolizing that now as covenant partners, they would compensate for each other’s weaknesses. If one ran out of strength, the other would become his strength. Psalms 46:1 “God is my refuge & strength an ever- present help in trouble.”
When David & Jonathon entered into covenant with one another, that agreement superseded all other relationships, even those of birth. Luke 14:26 “If anyone come to Me, and does not hate his own father & mother and wife & children and brothers & sisters, yes, even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.” Does Christ have the preeminence in my life above all other relationships? Ouch. That’s hard for me to grasp sometimes.
This is exactly what Jonathon did when his father, King Saul became jealous of David and wanted to kill him. Jonathon, by virtue of covenant had to protect David from his father. Jonathon’s love for David was to have preeminence over his love for his father. So Jonathon warned David and David fled as Saul continued to pursue him determined to destroy him. During this time, David had his ups and downs…days when he felt confident in Himself through the Lord (1 Samuel 24:12 when he had the opportunity to kill King Saul, he rested on God’s sovereignty and knew he had to wait on God) and other days when doubts & the clouds of circumstances obliterated the reality of the presence of God’s promises (1 Samuel 27:1 But David thought to himself, “One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul.”) This is so familiar with my life…the ups & downs…days when I feel confident with who I am in Him and other days when the circumstances of life blind & cause doubts even though I know what He has promised me over and over again. It’s comforting to know that others felt the same as me and God was so gracious to them as He is to me.
Word came to David that King Saul & Jonathon were both killed and he was grieved at this news. When Mepholbosheth’s(Jonathon’s son) nurse heard the news, she took him and fled thinking that David’s men would kill him as well. And it happened that in her hurry to flee, Mepholbosheth fell and became lame. (2 Samuel 4:4) If only he would have known the covenant that David made with his father, Jonathon—their covenant agreement extended beyond themselves to their families. Their descendants would be entitled to the benefits of their covenant…David would treat Mepholbosheth, Jonathon’s son the same as he treated Jonathon. This is the same type of covenant that God made with Abraham. God would not only become the God of Abraham, but also of Jsaac and of Jacob. Abraham’s descendants would know the benefits of God’s covenant with Abraham...we fall in there somewhere too. Hallelujah!
Years & years had passed and Mepholbosheth was overcome with fear and bitterness born of prejudice & rumors-which spreads like dandelion seeds, caught and carried by the winds of “have you heard,” taking root wherever they land, marring the beautiful meadow of truth. Oh how many times have I been caught up in things I thought to be true(became crippled)…making assumptions, when later I learned they were not as I thought.
And Mephilbosheth, the son of Jonathon…came to David and fell on his face and prostrated himself. And David (who was King at this time) said, ”Mephilbosheth.” And he said, “Here is your servant!” David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will surely show kindness to you for the sake of your father Jonathon, and will restore to you all the land of your grandfather Saul; and you shall eat at my table regularly.” Again he prostrated himself and said, “What is your servant, that you should regard a dead dog like me?” Then the king called Saul’s servant Ziba and said to him, “All that belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master’s grandson…nevertheless Mephilbosheth your master’s grandson shall eat at my table regularly.”…So Mephilbosheth ate at David’s table as one of the king’s sons (2 Samuel 9:6-11).
Because of covenant, Mephilbosheth was set apart, sanctified.
And so are we.