“A foundational understanding of covenant theology colors everything about the way we love and worship God and live with each other. This is a book you will want to read and re-read, and share with anyone (man or woman) who wants to understand more deeply what it truly means that God took us to be His people, and promised to be our God. Paragraph by paragraph, Susan takes us to Scripture to show us God’s promises from eternity past to eternity future. Internalizing these promises radically changes our lives. This is a must read on anyone’s book list.”  -Kathryn Stephens

Editor’s note: This is the third in a multi-part series.

The following excerpts are from pages 27-30 in Heirs of the Covenant.

Place and Presence

In spite of man’s performance, God returned to the Garden and said, “I will still be your God; you will be My people; I will provide the way for you to live in My presence; I will dwell among you.” This is grace. It is undeserved. Adam demonstrated his belief in the promise by naming his wife Eve, which means life. He believed that she would bear children, including the Child who would leave the glory of God’s presence in order to secure a place for us in God’s presence.

Throughout the rest of Scripture, God unwraps His covenant promise that He is our God, that we are His people, and that we live in His presence. Perhaps you have received a gift wrapped in a large box. You open it to find a small box, and then with growing anticipation you open another and another, until finally you come to a tiny box with the precious gift. Read these verses as though you are opening that gift, until finally you reach the tiny box (a manger) with the precious Gift (the Christ Child).

            God said to Abraham, “I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. Genesis 17:7

            I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Exodus 6:3

            When all the work Solomon had done for the temple of the Lord was finished . . . the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God. Then Solomon said, “ . . . I have built a magnificent temple for you, a place for you to dwell forever.” 2 Chronicles 5:1, 13-14,   6:1-2

            I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart. Jeremiah 24:7

Then it happened. God came to live among us.

            The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only . . . John 1:14

Even His name confirms the promise.

            The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel—which means, God with us. Matthew 1:23

While He was among us, He told us about the place where we will live in His presence for eternity.

            In my Father’s house are many rooms . . . I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. John 14:2-3

But until we go to that place, He gave us a task and the promise of His presence as we obey His command.

            Go and make disciples of all nations . . . And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20

To keep that promise, He sent His Spirit to live in us, and the dwelling place changed from a hill to a heart.

            Do you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit? . . . For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said, “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” 1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16

There is more to come. The ultimate fulfillment will be realized in the new Jerusalem.

            Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth . . . and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God . . . ” Revelation 21-5

The revelation of the covenant in the Old Testament is progressive. The series of covenant relationships with Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David do not replace each other. They supplement each other. And the revelation of this divinely instituted relationship reaches its climatic fulfillment in the new covenant when the Seed of the woman crushes the head of the serpent.

Reflections for Women’s Ministry

Eve’s name sounds like the Hebrew word for life-giver. When Jesus gives us His abundant life, we have the potential to become life-givers in every relationship and situation. This redemptive calling transcends life-season and our roles at any given time.

Is the women’s ministry in your church life-giving or life-taking?

How is your women’s ministry discipling women to be life-givers? 

How is your women’s ministry discipling women to make their place on the
planet—their home, apartment, dorm room, work space, hospital room—at this moment in history, a place of grace?