By: Tim Sader
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
On a beautiful February day in the Carolinas I had the chance to enjoy the warmth of the sun while having a few moments with the Lord. I was concerned about this week’s bible study since it had not been revealed to me yet. After praying for a bit I began to get a chill so I headed back inside still clueless on what I should write. About an hour later a friend and my brother came in telling me of this strange rainbow in the sky outside. I rushed out there to see it and realized it was almost clear skies, hadn’t rained and it was upside down. For a moment it felt as if God was smiling on us! After seeing this I was immediately reminded of the covenant God made with Noah to never flood the earth again. This odd rainbow on a clear day truly was a sign from God first witnessed by Noah as a symbol of the covenant between God and man. To me it was a sign of today’s study on the covenant and/or covenants between God and mankind. A covenant is a formal, solemn and binding agreement between two parties, such as God and man. God made a covenant promising to never destroy all living things by the way of a flood again. Genesis 9:13 said it is a covenant between God and the earth. Proof of this covenant still exists today every time we see a rainbow we can be reminded of the Lords covenant with man.
Many years later God through his servant Abram made another covenant, to give his seed the land between the river in Egypt and the river Euphrates Genesis 15:18. This part of the covenant was what God would give His seed but as with the sign of the rainbow God needed a symbol of man’s covenant with God. Genesis 17:9,10 says, “God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; every man child among you shall be circumcised.” Circumcision would be the sign of this covenant between God and his chosen people. The prior covenant probably seemed odd to Abraham since he and his wife were old and had no kids. Then in Genesis 17:19 God tells him, “Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant and with his seed after him.” Again God makes a covenant and a token to symbolize this agreement. The symbol was Isaac; Abraham’s son that would be born. When God makes a covenant with man we can rest assured he will not break it. Exodus 2:24, “God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.” Because of his promises to their fathers, God had mercy on the children of Israel held prisoner by the Egyptians. After sometime wandering in the wilderness Moses reads to the people from the book of the covenant, a record between God and man. In Exodus 24:7 the people agree to be obedient to these covenants.
In Leviticus 26 are a couple other examples where the Lord blesses the people because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We see God blessing generations of people because of his covenant promises of the past. Having a covenant with the Lord will fulfill our lives in many ways. Eleazar the priest was zealous and found favor from the Lord and Numbers 25:12 says, “Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace:” The Lord established a covenant of peace with his descendants so peace is the symbol of this covenant. Then in Deuteronomy 29:9 it says, “Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do.” When we keep a covenant with the Lord we will prosper in every area of life. In Psalms are several other blessings for living in covenant with the Lord. In Psalm 25 we find three blessings from the Lord. Verse 10 says, “the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant.” Verse 14 says, “The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.” Here we see the Lord blesses us with mercy, truth and reveals secrets to those who keep his covenant. Living in covenant with him also makes us righteous as it says in Psalms 103. When we follow his covenant we will be blessed beyond measure.
Just as there are rewards for obeying a covenant breaking one is a risky decision. The Lord takes a covenant seriously and if we want to remain in His will we need to be careful about not breaking them either. In Deuteronomy 29 is the story of the people becoming corrupt by serving other gods and the nations respond to this by saying the Lords wrath was brought on them because they broke their covenant with God. Verse 27 says, “Therefore the Lord’s anger burned against this land, so that he brought on it all the curses written in this book.” Joshua 7:15 says, “And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he hath wrought folly in Israel.” Here the people who transgressed were burned in the fire with all their idols. Later we will discuss the new covenant but for now we need to understand how serious we need to be about keeping covenants with the Lord. God was not pleased with the people when they went and served other gods. He warned them not to but they would not heed His voice. 2 Kings 17:38 says, “And the covenant that I have made with you ye shall not forget; neither shall ye fear other gods.” His covenant was not made for a time or a season it goes on and on till it is forever broken or replaced by something else. 1 Chronicles 16:15 says, “Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations;” His covenant has no time limit we either serve God how he commands or we break his covenant and risk his judgments. In Nehemiah 1:5 we see that the Lord keeps covenant and mercy with those who love him.
Near the end of the Old Testament are prophecies of a new covenant with the Lords chosen people. Today’s scripture say the Lord will make a new covenant with the house of Israel. Then Ezekiel 37:26 says, “it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.” This of course is talking about Christ becoming our new covenant through his sacrifice on the cross. If we chose him he will come live inside of us forevermore. In Luke 1:71-73 we see that even now as modern Christians the Lord remembers His holy covenant that He swore to Abraham many thousands of years ago. Acts 3:25 says, “Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.” All who believe are the kindred of the earth and Christ is the seed of Abraham so in him we are blessed. Christ became our sacrifice, forgiving our sins as its written in Romans 11:27. When Christ’s blood washed away our sins He formed a new covenant for all mankind and not only a covenant of physical practices but of a decision to serve Him.
God created a covenant with Moses of a strict pattern or order but we are now under the ministry of Christ and have a better covenant based on better promises. Hebrews 8:7 says, “For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.” The Lord loves us and noticed the faults in the first covenant so He offered His son to fix this and make a new covenant free of the sin and guilt of the first covenant. Hebrews 8:12, 13 says, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” The new covenant is a true blessing from the Lord. Hebrews 10:16, 17 says, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” Christ is the mediator of the new covenant (Hebrews 12:24). By His shedding of blood He sent the Spirit to live inside of us so we may remember His laws and be free from sin. Now we have a perfect covenant with God through Jesus Christ so we can go to Him at any time we so chose. There is no condemnation from the Lord only love for His children and the desire for them all to be saved. Hebrews 13:20,21 says, “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” The shedding of His blood makes us perfect in the eyes of God if we believe in Christ and do what is right we are under the new covenant forever.