Later in Genesis, God makes a covenant with Abraham and Sarah (12:1-3). Through this couple, God will call forth the people of Israel to become a great nation through which God will bless all nations. In this covenant God promises Israel a land and a future, to be a people.
In Exodus, God makes a covenant with Moses through the giving of the law (13-16). In this law, God sets the bounds within which Israel must keep the land and relate to others. It is a law that promises fruitfulness in the face of challenges.
But we are not finished. Following the giving of the law, God makes a covenant with David; through David, God will bless those who follow as rulers of Israel. God will promise to sustain Israel via faithful and obedient leadership.
All these covenants have a common theme, and that theme is promise. God promises to be Israel’s God, and to abide with Israel through thick and thin, through obedience and disobedience. After all, God’s promises are irrevocable (Romans 11:29), a reminder of the biblical principle that once God calls Israel God provides for Israel. This is the promise at work in scripture: once God calls us, God provides for us, even when we might fall away, even when we think we don’t have enough, God will be faithful.
It is the message we hear again, and again in the prophets of the Old Testament, of how God will forgive and restore the people when they go in another way. It is the foundation of God’s covenant.
In the end, of course, the ultimate answer to God’s covenant or promise is Jesus, as Jesus is the new Noah and the new Abraham, the new Moses and the new David. Jesus embodies the salvation of Israel, if not the whole world. Indeed, Jesus is the One who is faithful and obedient. He is the One who won’t break "covenant" with us. As the Lamb of God who suffers in his body the pain of all broken covenants, Jesus works to forgive us and reconcile us. He is the Good Shepherd who goes after us as lost sheep and brings us into the fold of a new and unbreakable covenant, which is the basis of who we are and what we do as Christians.
How may we respond to God’s covenant with us? What can we do to share in God’s covenant of promise and mission? How may we trust in God's good work?