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The Two Covenants
Texts: Galatians 4:21–31; Genesis 1:28; 2:2, 3; 3:15; 15:1–6; Exodus 6:2–8; 19:3–6
September 2, 2017

One of the most popular TV game shows of all time began in 1963. Let’s Make a Deal was so well-liked that in 1974, it had the longest waiting list for studio tickets out of any show on the air. After submitting an initial request, people had to wait two to three years for a chance to be part of the 350-person audience. The show has aired on every major network (NBC, ABC, and CBS) with over 5,000 episodes. It’s currently showing on CBS with host Wayne Brady. But you can also watch variations of the program in 22 different countries, including Egypt, Romania, and Vietnam. [1]

Let’s Make a Deal was created by Stefan Hatos and Monty Hall with the latter serving as host for over 23 years. Selected members (called “traders”) of the studio audience are called down to make deals with the program host. Typically, the trader is offered something of value, but given a choice of whether to keep the item or exchange it for a different item. This second item is hidden from the trader until a choice is made. Traders don’t know if they’ll get (or lose) something of greater or lesser value. Cheap prizes are called “zonks” and might include used furniture—or a goat!

When it first debuted, journalists were skeptical of the show’s chances for success. Some critics said the program was “mindless” and “demeaning to traders and audiences alike.” But in the first ten years it ranked near the top of daytime ratings and eventually became the highest-rated syndicated primetime program.

In this week’s Sabbath school lesson, we delve into one of the most challenging passages in the book of Galatians. The focus is on covenants. Throughout Bible history, the Lord has repeatedly made binding agreements with humanity. But unlike Let’s Make a Deal, in which contestants are often asked to trade something (like a shoe, a purse, or piece of their clothing), God’s covenants with people flow purely from grace. The covenant the Lord made with Abraham (regarding a promised son in his old age) was initiated by God and only required that the patriarch “believe” in God’s promise to bless him.

We’re all tempted by good deals. We spot excellent buys, good sales, and unbelievable purchases. But with the things of this world, we usually end up with zonks. Not with God’s offer of salvation. Jesus paid the price for securing an eternal place in heaven for anyone who is willing to come down to the cross and submit their lives to Christ. It’s the biggest and best deal you’ll ever find.

~ cr

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let%27s_Make_a_Deal