Every relationship is unique and unpredictable, with its own seasons and its own curious timings. There’s no set pattern in Scripture for the period between an initial introduction to the Lord and the onset of a covenantal relationship.

Abram’s first recorded encounter with God was at seventy-five years of age; his first covenant, the blood covenant, was ten or eleven years later and the name covenant was thirteen or fourteen years beyond that. Then in very swift succession, within a matter of days, he also took part in a threshold and salt covenant. It’s doubtful he ever got the covenant of peace.

His grandson, Jacob, experienced a time lapse of about twenty-two years, perhaps longer, between encountering God in a dream at Bethel, then wrestling with an angel and receiving a name covenant with a new name: Israel.

Simon the fisherman, on the other hand, knew Jesus for almost exactly two years before the name exchange at Caesarea Philippi when he became known as Cephas or Peter. Again, just a few days later—six, to be exact—a threshold covenant was raised when Jesus was transfigured in glory and met with Moses and Elijah.

All we can say from these examples is that the length of time leading up to a name covenant varies from person to person. It depends  entirely on whether or not we’ve pressed into intimacy with God.

On the other hand, there are some exact timings. The period between a name and a threshold covenant is, apparently, always six days. This almost seems to be a universal rule: it is so common an occurrence in Scripture that I have found the phrase ‘six days’ to be a clue that points to this double covenant being raised. It is because it is so ubiquitous that I believe it was six days between God’s renaming of Abram to Abraham and His visit to the tents at the Oaks of Mamre with two angels—not three days, as many traditions claim. 

Now salt covenant can obviously occur at the same time as threshold covenant, since that’s what happened for Abraham. It’s not obvious this occurred since we generally lack the cultural knowledge to realise that, because Abraham and Sarah served their heavenly visitors milk, there was necessarily a salt covenant involved. In a world without refrigeration, milk was preserved with salt.

I am very hesitant to suggest that Abraham ever received a covenant of peace. Apart from Jesus, this seems to be exclusive to Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron. Why this is so will be the focus of the next session.  

In our world of instant gratification, the thought we might have to wait years for a name or threshold covenant can be almost unbearable. Yet bonds of love aren’t built in a moment; enduring faithfulness isn’t tested in a mere hour; nor is genuine patience displayed in a bare week of waiting. It’s all about intimacy and time.

This is Grace Drops and I’m Anne Hamilton. May you truly know El Shaddai now and evermore.

Thank you to Lorna Skinner of www.riversofmusic.co.uk for the background music.

Covenant is at the heart of the Christian faith. It’s necessary to understand it in order to understand what can go wrong with it and how covenant violation affects our ability to come into our life’s calling. The Covenant Series of books begins with God’s Poetry, available as both print book and e-book. Threshold covenant is introduced in God’s Pageantry, from Armour Books.