For many, the covenants call forth images of legal documents, lawsuits for breach therof, and so forth. But God is love, and he expressed his love towards us through covenants. We might ask “Why do covenants (the Old in particular) include curses? To answer this, consider the following hypothetical story.
Assume I, as one who desires to please God in all things, have a neighbor who deals drugs, and generally engages in all sorts of unsavory behaviors. Would I enter into a covenant with him? Not very likely. Why? Because he most certainly would not be interested in a covenant with me, nor would he likely be able to keep a covenant with me. He is basically incapable of doing so. What would it take before we could covenant with one another? Would it not basically take a complete change of heart on his part? And how would I know that this had occurred, and that he would understand what he would even be entering into? Perhaps if I gave him a description of the person he would need to be in order for us to covenant together, along with a list of the sort of things that would most certainly break our covenant agreement, including the consequences that would likely follow in the most grievous cases. If he had these materials, and then said “That’s what I want to be like! Will you help me change?”, then perhaps we could enter into a covenant. This would be a genuine act of love towards him.
This story describes the way God sees us, and the way he relates to us. His love graciously reaches out to us in such a way as to transform us into people with whom he may fellowship, and upon whom He may pour out His blessings. He is indeed a gracious and loving God.