REMIND ME OF WHAT A COVENANT IS AGAIN: 'Covenant' is one of those words most people recognize, but don't always fully understand. We still use the word 'covenant' in legal transactions; a real estate parcel might have some covenants attached to it. In that case, a covenant is a stipulation of what may or may not be done with the property. A Biblical covenant is closer to the idea of a solemn contract. It's made between two parties, and if certain obligations are met, the one covenanting party will reward the other. We often refer to our God as our covenant God. God entered into a covenant with Adam at the beginning of creation by promising Adam life in return for perfect obedience. Although Adam failed to hold up his end of the covenant, God to this day remains faithful to that original deal: a person can obtain eternal life by giving God the perfect obedience required by the covenant. This is a key theme of the author of Hebrews: Jesus Christ fulfills all of God's covenants. He achieved that perfect obedience, and those who believe in His Name can claim His perfect obedience for themselves, thereby satisfying God's covenant and receiving eternal life.
WHY ARE THERE 'OLD' AND 'NEW' COVENANTS? We call that first covenant between God and Adam the Covenant of Works (CoW). Rather than give Adam the immediate death that disobedience to the CoW deserved, God responded in grace. In fact, He doubled down on the covenant concept. He continued to uphold the offer of eternal life set forth in the CoW, and He established the Covenant of Grace (CoG) to fulfill the original stipulations. But God did not immediately make known all of the details; He made it known in phases throughout the history of the Old Testament. The first phases, including the covenant God established with Moses (which is what Hebrews 8 is referring to as the 'old' covenant), were merely copies and shadows (v5) of the coming 'new' covenant. The old covenant clearly displayed God's faithfulness to His covenant people, but it also demonstrated the unfaithfulness of the people. The story of how that old covenant was established comes in Exodus 24. As Moses explained their covenantal obligation to the people, that they must keep the new written law they'd just been given, the people responded by saying, "We will do everything the LORD has said; we will obey." (Exodus 24:7). Clearly that didn't quite work out they way they said it would... just a few chapters later, the Israelites built a golden calf to worship. The rest of the book of Hebrews will continue to point out that the 'old' covenant was never designed to save anyone, rather it was just pointing towards the 'new' phase of the Covenant of Grace, in which God Himself, in the person of Jesus Christ, completely fulfilled our covenant obligations and giving us the covenantal reward: eternal life.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: God is our faithful covenant God, and we are His people (v10).
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will 'Know the Lord' in every part of your life (v11).
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: