1 And now, my beloved brethren, I have read these things that ye might know concerning the covenants of the Lord that he has covenanted with all the house of Israel—
2 That he has spoken unto the Jews, by the mouth of his holy prophets, even from the beginning down, from generation to generation, until the time comes that they shall be restored to the true church and fold of God; when they shall be gathered home to the lands of their inheritance, and shall be established in all their lands of promise.
3 Behold, my beloved brethren, I speak unto you these things that ye may rejoice, and lift up your heads forever, because of the blessings which the Lord God shall bestow upon your children.
(2 Nephi 9:1-3)
One of the purposes of the Book of Mormon is that “the remnant of the house of Israel…may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever” (Title Page of the Book of Mormon). In the passage above, Jacob conspicuously connects a knowledge of covenants with rejoicing. Covenants give us hope. We see a bright future for ourselves and for our children because we know what God has promised us.
The word “covenant” descends from two Latin roots: com, meaning “together,” and venire, which means “to come.” So the literal meaning of the word covenant is “coming together” (Online Etymology Dictionary, “Covenant“).
The Encyclopedia of Mormonism defines a covenant as:
A special relationship with the Lord into which a person or a group may enter. The terms have been set by the Lord both for the rewards (blessings, salvation, exaltation) and the efforts demanded (obedience to rules and commandments). A covenant is fulfilled when people keep their promises and endure to the end in faith, with the Lord giving blessings during life, and salvation and exaltation upon completion (“Covenants,” The Encyclopedia of Mormonism).
As Jacob teaches in the passage above, an appreciation for that special covenant relationship with God can help us to remain faithful and optimistic over time, because of the blessings which the Lord has promised to us and to our children.
Shortly after being set apart as President of the Church, Russell M. Nelson spoke to the members of the Church from the lobby of the Salt Lake Temple. His message was simple: “Keep on the covenant path.” He gave us the following promise: “Your commitment to follow the Savior by making covenants with Him and then keeping those covenants will open the door to every spiritual blessing and privilege available to men, women, and children everywhere” (“A Message from the First Presidency,” January 16, 2018).
Today, I will remember the importance of covenants in God’s plan for His children. I will remember the covenants I have made with God, and I will rejoice in the assurance that I, my family, and all others who are willing to enter into covenants with God and keep them, will receive the promised blessings.