Annulling Our Covenants with Death


Whenever we decide to disobey God in a certain area of our lives, we have made a covenant with death that needs to be broken. Joseph Mattera explores what Scripture says about this issue.


A covenant is an agreement we make with someone else. Whenever we have an agreement within ourselves to disobey God in a certain area of our lives, we have made a covenant with death that needs to be broken. Death in this context is speaking about something that separates us from God. Let’s see what Scripture says about breaking a covenant with death.

Text: Isaiah 28:16-19

Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: 
“ Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, 
A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; 
Whoever believes will not act hastily. 
Also I will make justice the measuring line, 
And righteousness the plummet; 
The hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, 
And the waters will overflow the hiding place. 
Your covenant with death will be annulled, 
And your agreement with Sheol will not stand; 
When the overflowing scourge passes through, 
Then you will be trampled down by it. 
As often as it goes out it will take you; 
For morning by morning it will pass over, 
And by day and by night; 
It will be a terror just to understand the report.”

I. The sure foundation is prophetically speaking about Christ (1 Peter 2:4-6 shows this verse in Isaiah 28:16 is referring to Christ)

  • He is the only sure foundation that we have in our lives.

  • The one who trusts in Christ will not be put to shame.

II. Justice and righteousness are the standards God established in Christ (Isaiah 28:17)

  • We receive our righteousness by faith from Him at the moment of salvation.

  • From that point on, God begins to work experiential righteousness in every area of our lives.

III. God exposes our false refuges and hiding places (Isaiah 28:17)

  • Anything we run to (instead of God) is a false hiding place God wants to rip away.

  • Hail and water in this passage are metaphors that stand for difficult circumstances that God sends our way to demonstrate that what we are trusting in is not good enough to hold us up.

IV. God’s goal: To get us to break our covenants with death (Isaiah 28:18)

  • He allows the circumstances of life to beat us down until we finally break these internal agreements (read also Isaiah 29:3-4).

  • His goal for us in these situations is for us to rest in Him instead of finding different ways to run from Him to something else (Isaiah 30:15-16).


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