I’ve been meditating on this verse over and over again for the last several months. Covenant keeps coming up in my mind. The original Hebrew word is “B@riyth”, and it means “to make oneself known, reveal oneself.”
God has made a covenant with me. I know that. I’ve heard it for almost eleven years. But I’ve still spent a good portion of my Christian life trying to figure out what it really means. In my ignorance, I’ve spent over a decade doing one of two things in response.
a. I’ve attempted to work to earn God’s covenant (after all, nothing is REALLY free).
b. I’ve attempted to help God understand I don’t deserve His covenant (Doesn’t He know?—He needs my help to understand!).
Both of these responses have gotten me NO WHERE. Tonight I was looking over this verse again, focusing on the original Hebrew of each of the words. And a light turned on. If covenant is about revealing oneself, and making oneself known, and if God is the initiator of said covenant, what is HE trying to reveal to me about HIMSELF? Could it be that it’s not about me? (Gasp).
It’s not about me earning anything (I can’t-Rom. 3:20). It’s not about me not deserving anything (I don’t-Rom. 3:10). It’s about HIM revealing HIMSELF to me through the knowledge that I deserve nothing and yet HE graciously gives me all things (Romans 8:32).
What does HIS response to me say about HIM?
THAT is what HE wants me to know. THAT is why HE makes covenant with me-so He can make HIMSELF known, so HE can reveal HIMSELF to me. I am able to know HIM through HIM keeping HIS covenant when I’ve broken mine (knowing I will break it again tomorrow-Romans 7:19). I can’t earn it. I don’t need to waste time convincing HIM that I don’t deserve it. I need to look at the fact that HE knows that I don’t deserve it and yet HE still cuts covenant with me. What does that say about HIM?
He cuts covenant to reveal Himself to me.
It’s not about me.
IT’S ABOUT HIM.
“Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you,
and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.”
So He makes covenant to show HIMSELF to me by being gracious to me, and showing me mercy?
After we read Ezekiel 16:62 (“I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the LORD…”), chapter 16 ends with my proposed response in verse 63:
“…that you may remember and be confounded,
and never open your mouth again because of your shame,
when I atone for you for all that you have done,
declares the Lord God.”
The original word for remember is “zakar” to remind, to keep in remembrance. This remembrance is to make me “confounded.” The original meaning here is from the word “buwsh” meaning ashamed, covered in shame, utterly dejected. I am to be reminded of something, I am to keep something in remembrance and the result is my shame. Shame is from the word “k@limmah” meaning disgrace, reproach, confusion, dishonor, insult, ignominy. So His covenant with me is supposed to remind me of the fact that I am covered in shame?
But that’s not it. Remembering my shame is good BECAUSE it points to something else. It points to His response (covenant) to my shame. It points to HIM. My shame comes from what I have done, and his response is to atone. “…when I atone for you for all that you have done.” Atone means to purify, to propitiate, to purge, to cover. I am covered in shame and He comes in and covers my shame.
“…when I atone for you for all that you have done, DECLARES the Lord God.”
Declaration. A statement that is emphatic (tending to express oneself in forceful speech or to take decisive action) and explicit (fully revealed or expressed without vagueness, implication, or ambiguity: LEAVING NO QUESTION AS TO MEANING OR INTENT). Declaration.
Yahweh God forcefully and decisively, without ambiguity, and leaving no question as to meaning or intent DECLARES that He will establish COVENANT with me (reveal Himself) in that when I am reminded of my SHAME, I will simultaneously see Him waiting to show me mercy and kindness by COVERING MY SHAME. I don’t deserve it. I didn’t earn it. I can’t talk Him out of it.