A friend once told me about an experience he had when he began to read music. He had seen people read musical scores before, but this was the first time he had ever been confronted with the task of deciphering those mysterious symbols, staffs, time and key signatures, and musical notes. At first he wondered if he would ever be able to do it. But once he understood the basic elements of music, he was able to understand much of what he saw on the page. He still had a lot to learn, but he was well on his way to understanding what had previously seemed so mysterious.
Many of us have the same feeling about the Old Testament. This part of the Bible is so large, with so many stories, narratives, genealogies, visions and poems, that it’s easy for someone to wonder if he or she will ever be able to make sense of it all. But I have some good news for you! Having gotten this far in our series of lessons, you already understand that the “big picture” of the Old Testament is the kingdom of God. You have already made a very significant advance in your understanding of this part of the Bible.
Now we are going to the next step of understanding. In this lesson we will see that God rules and administers his kingdom by means of covenants. Divine covenants appear throughout the Old Testament, and as we trace their development, many of the mysteries of the Old Testament will come into clearer view.
Dr. Richard L. Pratt, Jr.
We will explore the subject of divine covenants in four ways: 1) Kingdom and Covenants, 2) History of the Covenants, 3) Dynamics of the Covenants, and 4) People of the Covenants.
In preparation for this lesson, read Genesis 12:1-3, 15:1-21, and 17:1-14. Write down what these verses teach us about the covenant God made with Abraham. How were these promises fulfilled? How do these passages give us a general orientation for understanding the rest of the Old Testament?
Goals and Objectives of Lesson 3
In this lesson, we would like to accomplish the following:
1. We hope you will become more interested in the covenant, as the way in which God rules and administers His kingdom.
2. We hope you will make use of all the resources and activities of the lesson to learn the history and significance of the covenants God made with Israel.
3. We hope you make some changes in your life as a response to the teachings of this lesson. It should increase your covenant faithfulness to God and help you analyze Old Testament passages in terms of the covenants.
When you have done the following, it will show that the goals are met:
1. Use all the resources and complete all the written assignments of the lesson, expressing your own thoughts and attitudes regarding the development of the covenants in the Old Testament.
2. Obtain a satisfactory grade on the test, demonstrating that you can identify how divine covenants relate to the theme of the kingdom of God, name and describe the emphases of the six corporate divine covenants presented in the Lesson, point out how covenant dynamics are at work in each of the divine covenants, and apply covenant dynamics to the three groups of humanity in Israel and in our present day.
3. Answer the application questions in the study guides, in which you apply the teachings of the lesson to your own life.
If you are not very familiar with the process of doing the assignments for a lesson, you should read this PDF tutorial found in the "Instructions" section of Lesson 1. It will guide you through the lesson, step by step. If you are already familiar with the process, you may skip this and go to the more specific "Instructions for Lesson 3."
Carefully read these instructions. You may want to print them out so that you can refer to them as you proceed through the assignments.