Summary: Now that we have an understanding of Covenant between mortal men, let us now look upon the great mystery of God Almighty reaching out to form covenants with men and nations. From Noah, to Abraham to Moses and onward, God in His sovereign grace extended H
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Psalm 89:33-34 “33 Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. 34 My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.”
Now that we have an understanding of Covenant between mortal men, let us now look upon the great mystery of God Almighty reaching out to form covenants with men and nations. From Noah, to Abraham to Moses and onward, God in His sovereign grace extended His hand down to us to form covenant relationships with us. Not because of what we could do, but because of who He is. I will overlook the first covenants made with Noah in Genesis Chapter 8 and 9 and Adam in Genesis chapter 3 at this moment and rather look briefly at the story of Abram.
In the entire 15th chapter of Genesis we have Abram after his encounter with Melchizedek now standing before God as He promises Abram an heir, descendants as numerous as the stars of the sky, 400 years of bondage in a foreign land, and a home to call their own. All this because he trusted in God who called him from his home to a strange land. He trusted in Almighty fully and completely (see Hebrews 11:8-10). And He was simply obedient to something and someone he didn’t understand, and here at this place God Himself called out to Abram to join Him in blood covenant. God offered a promise, and Abram offered a vessel for the Seed (see genesis 3:15). Like covenants between men Abram paid a price in blood as we see in
Genesis 15:9-10 So He said to him, "Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon." 10 Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, down the middle, and placed each piece opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds in two.”
After chasing away the vultures God stepped down to walk within the blood and ratified the covenant between Abram and all his descendants within him (see Hebrews 7:4-6) as its written in,
Genesis 15:17-18 “And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. 18 In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram….”
This covenant is the backbone of the entire Old Testament, the origins of Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, the Judges, David, the prophets and the Messiah. Their lives are living monuments of the day God came down to Abram now renamed Abraham. Yet this is only a stepping stone in the story of covenants with men and God. As promised Abrahams descendants suffered in Egypt until they were lead out by Moses and the miracles God preformed there. Eventually they arrived at Mt. Sinai and Almighty once again stepped down and consumed the mountain creating an everlasting monument and called the entire nation to join him in a covenant. On that mountain God delivered the terms of the covenant, the blessings on those who love and follow Him and the curses on those who sinned and rebelled against him (see Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26). Here we see God calling out to a nation to be consecrated to Him, because they were Abraham’s children
Deuteronomy 7:7-11 “7 The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: 8 But because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9 Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations; 10 And repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face. 11 Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.”
God entered that day into a covenant with the nation. He himself is perfect and cannot fail his covenant, yet he is joined to a nation who could fail, sin and rebel against Him and His covenant. Hence the blessings, curses, commandments and Laws of the covenant were given by God. And the entire sacrificial system that was ordained for a time was brought into effect. Rebellion against God and His covenant demanded blood, either by the substitution from a clean animal, or the lives of the nation as we saw with the invasions of Philistia, Moab, Amon, Assyria, Babylon and Rome (see Isaiah 24:5-6) . This is why a new and better covenant was established, on to that more later.