A covenant is, most simply, a promise. In ancient times, covenants were often made between greater and lesser kings. The greater would promise protection and provision, the lesser would promise loyalty and faithfulness. These covenant promises came with stipulations, benefits or consequences depending on whether the covenant was kept. Covenants continue to form the structure of all kinds of relationships, from marriage vows to homeowners associations, the way steel and concrete form the structure of a building.
Throughout the Bible, God pursues his people and commits himself to them in covenants. The language and forms of the covenants would have likely been familiar to the Old Testament saints, but these divine pacts were far greater than any mere human contract. In the covenants, God commits himself to a people who can in no way repay or enrich him. And he keeps his promises often despite their grievous unfaithfulness.
Considering God’s great covenants increases our confidence in our promise-keeping God so that we trust him more, love him more, and live for him with greater boldness. It also helps us see how the Bible fits together as a whole, as we see the outworking of God’s great redemptive plan as promised and kept in the covenants.