First Friday Fasting and Prayer
August 5, 2011: Abrahamic Covenant
ĚYet in spite of this, while they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject or abhor them so as to destroy them and break My covenant with them, since I am the LORD their God. For their sake I will remember the covenant with their fathers, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations to be their God; I am the LORD." Lev. 26:44-45
God is a covenant God and everything He does is in response to His covenants. GodĚs covenant with Abraham (Gen. 12:1Ě3) was unconditional, and an everlasting covenant. It was unilateral, for it was an agreement between God and Abraham where God made promises to Abraham that required nothing of Abraham; it was God alone who passed between the pieces of animals as Abraham slept. God swore to Himself, so fulfillment of the covenant was left to Him alone. GodĚs covenant with Abraham was literal, for God detailed the boundaries of His land, thus precluding the promise being fulfilled in heaven.
In this special covenant, God swore to Himself He would give Abraham three sure promises. He promised land (Gen.12:1) with itĚs dimensions mapped out (Gen.15:18Ě21). He promised descendants (Gen.12:2); He would make a great nation out of Abraham, already 75 years old and without children (Gen. 12:4), and He promised a blessing and redemption, where the nations of the earth would be blessed and redeemed through Him (Gen. 12:3). Jer. 31:31-34 also indicates the promise applies to IsraelĚs spiritual blessing and redemption, through the forgiveness of sin. The eternal nature of the covenant is reaffirmed through generations, first to Isaac (Gen, 21:12; 26:3Ě4), then Jacob (Gen,28:14Ě15), despite their sinfulness, which underlines the reality of the covenantĚs unconditional nature.
God called the nation of Israel (Deut. 7:7-9) to be His chosen people in order to bless the nations. Thus, GodĚs program with all the world depends on His program with Israel (Deut.32: 8-9). If God is faithful to His chosen people (Rom. 11:32) then He will also be faithful to those who were hopeless strangers to His covenant, the Gentiles (Eph. 2:12-13). Therefore, the church has no assurance about GodĚs promises of her future, if He is not faithful to His promises toward Israel.
Points to Ponder and Pray
It is God who owns the land, although the land was possessed by at least ten different nations (Gen.15:19-21) before He leased it to Israel (Leviticus 25:23), partially fulfilling the covenant in history (Gen. 13:14-17). IsraelĚs privilege of possession depended on her faithfulness to the covenant. The covenant stipulated the conditions they had to meet if they were to live securely on the land (Leviticus 25:18). Thus, because of her sin, God exiled Israel among the nations several times throughout history. Yet, it would be wrong to conclude that God then intended to give their land to others for the land grant was clearly unconditional and God bound Himself by covenant to do what He promised (Lev. 26:44-46).
Sadly, one of the great deficiencies among professing Christians, is their failure to obey GodĚs standards of behaviour. Obedience is essential, as it proves our love for Him (John 14:15). But, it is the spirit of obedience that is important. Jesus challenged the Pharisees as they pursued their acts of obedience to the law, as they rested in their own self-righteousness instead of GodĚs grace (Matthew 23:27-28). Never forget our best works are as filthy rags to God (Isaiah 64:6). Do you ĚLove the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind and do you love your neighbor as yourself? (Matthew 22:36-40)? We are to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, as we look for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Christ Jesus (Titus 2:12:13). Therefore, let us awake from sleep and put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh (Romans 13:11-14).
IsraelĚs position of possession of the land did not change even in exile, for even in exile the land was called their land (Ezek. 36:24,28; 37:25). These verses confirm their future possession, through their return during the Diaspora and end time, and IsraelĚs right to the land. In 1948, after 2000 years in exile, Israel became a nation, once again, although the modern day boundaries of the land are not the same as in the time of ancient Israel. In 1967, Jerusalem, GodĚs Holy City, became the sole possession of the Jews, literally fulling IsraelĚs future possession of the land (Ezekiel 20:33Ě37, 40Ě42; 36:1Ě37:28). Then, sometime in the future, the Jews will be spiritually restored (Romans 11:25Ě27) receiving GodĚs forgiveness for their sins (Zechariah 12:10Ě14).
We are living in exciting times, for If God is literally returning the Jews to their homeland as the Scriptures foretold, then we can watch and wait with certainty as the Abrahamic Covenant finds itĚs ultimate fulfillment with the return of Jesus, the Messiah, as He comes to rescue and bless His people Israel. Remember, it is through the nation Israel that God promised to bless the nations of the world (Genesis 12:1Ě3) and that ultimate blessing will result in the forgiveness of sins and MessiahĚs glorious kingdom reign on earth! God always acts according to His Covenant.
Maranatha! Jesus is coming soon, bringing His reward with Him. Are you watching and waiting? Are you ready? Is your family ready? Thanks for praying. Your prayers make THE difference.