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Leading Question: Covenant relationship is a thread that winds throughout the biblical literature, conceptualized in a variety of ways. What does it mean to say humans are in covenant relationship with God?

Scripture Focus: Psalm 89, 2 Samuel 7, Psalm 23, John 10:11-15, Psalm 22, Colossians 1:16, Hebrews 7:20-28

The Big Idea: Covenant is renegotiated and reimagined many times in the biblical narrative, the constant being that God initiates and sustains relationship with humans.

For Discussion:

Psalm 89 begins with the phrase, “I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever.” God’s covenant love (ḥesed) is then expounded on by telling the story of the promise to David (recorded in 2 Samuel 7, and running like a thread through a variety of biblical texts).

Discussion question: What can we learn about covenant relationship from Psalm 89?

Discussion question: Among the various covenant relationships described in the Hebrew Bible, including the covenant with Noah, the covenant with Abraham, the covenant with Moses, the covenant with David, and the New Covenant, what makes the covenant with David stand out?

Psalm 22, a lament poem we looked at earlier this quarter, captures beautifully the experience of remaining in relationship while simultaneously feeling forsaken by God. The address, “my God, my God,” introduces a desperate cry, “why have you forsaken me?”

Discussion question: What does such a weaving together of forsakenness and connection reveal about covenant relationship? What is accomplished by this feature of lament, naming agony explicitly in a prayer directed to the very God who seems to have let you down?

The New Testament depicts Jesus as embodying and carrying forward the legacies of all the major institutions that served as mediators of God’s presence in the Hebrew Bible. Jesus is depicted as a prophet, carrying forward the legacy of Moses and Elijah. Jesus is depicted as a king in the line of David. Jesus is depicted as the ultimate sage, the embodiment of wisdom. And Jesus is depicted as a priest, but one who holds the role permanently since he is not subject to death.

The New Testament authors connect Jesus and his ministry to many other threads from the Hebrew Bible as well. John 10, for instance, describes Jesus as the good shepherd, a metaphor for God’s engagement with his people that is found multiple times in the book of Psalms.

Discussion question: What does the metaphor of God as shepherd add to the other metaphors (such as God as king, God as warrier, etc.)? And what specific facets of this metaphor does the author of the book of John emphasize?

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