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Lesson #1 What is the Covenant Relationship?

The covenant relationship is the most sacred, solemn agreement possible.

Most of us belong to what is called "western civilization". People in this category know less about the concept of a covenant than any other category. Every native tribe and most third-world peoples understand covenants and use them in their daily lives. We do not. We hire lawyers instead. The true story of Stanley and Livingstone is a good example. Stanley wanted to find Livingstone, so he organized human caravans to escort him through the jungles of Africa.

In the 1800s Africa was a closed continent. It was not easy to travel. Every attempt that Stanley made met with failure. His cargo bearers would disappear into the bush, taking with them his supplies. One day, after several failures, his right-hand man, a native who had lived for a while in England and knew the language and customs, told Stanley that the only way he could travel successfully through Africa was to make covenants with the heads of the various chiefdoms or tribes through whose territory he was passing.

Stanley did not like this idea because, being a proper Englishman, (and therefore part of the same western civilization as most of us are) he thought that the native customs were primitive, barbaric and certainly beneath him. He did not realize that the idea of making covenants and thereby having a covenant relationship was originated by God with Adam and that the covenant relationship was God's chosen way for dealing with His creation. He did not realize that although the physical way in which the covenant was put into force was changed and perverted through the centuries, the seriousness and effectiveness of the covenant remained. However, Stanley finally consented to make a covenant because he had no other alternative.

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