Posts tagged ‘Jehovah’

Our Covenant Keeping God

Throughout history, Jehovah has always dealt with mankind according to covenants. He is a God of order, and does not rule in an arbitrary or capricious manner. Rather, He lets us know the conditions of His covenant so that we know what His promises are and can then exercise faith in His Word to us. Thus, Jehovah establishes covenant relationships and has signs to serve as a reminder of that covenant. Unfortunately, due to the divisions of our Bibles into Old and New Testaments, there is a common misperception that there are only two covenants. In fact, there are three covenants contained in the Hebrew Scriptures and one in the Greek Scriptures.

The first covenant, one that is still in force, is the Noahic covenant. It was established between God and Noah after the flood.

“And as for Me, behold, I establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you: the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, of all that go out of the ark, every beast of the earth. Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” And God said: “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. (Genesis 9:9-13 NKJV)

I am thankful that this is in effect, as another worldwide flood would be a bummer. The sign of this covenant is the rainbow, and still occurs today. In Hawaii, it occurs on a daily basis! This covenant is also one that is unconditional, and was entered into after Noah sacrificed an animal on the altar in worship. Thus it was established by the shedding of blood.

The next covenant I want to consider is the Abrahamic covenant. In this one, God covenants with Abraham to give his descendants through Isaac possession of the land of Israel perpetually. Jehovah also promised that through Abraham’s seed (Jesus) all nations will be blessed. This covenant is also unconditional, and is still in force. In fact, those of us who have been reconciled unto God by His Son are those who are part of “the blessed.”

Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3)

On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying: “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates— the Kenites, the Kenezzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.” (Genesis 15:18-21)

Again, there were no conditions listed, and the covenant was sealed with a blood sacrifice.

The next covenant was the Mosaic covenant, made between Jehovah and the nation of Israel. This covenant was conditional unlike the others. It is within this covenant that most of the Bible is given. This covenant was given at Mount Sinai and was in force until John the Baptist (Luke 16:16). The covenant, though perfect from God’s side, was beyond human ability to fully keep. It was designed to be temporary, and served to condemn the world under sin. The sign of the Mosaic covenant was circumcision. This covenant was fulfilled at the cross when Jesus Christ ushered in the New Covenant with the shedding of His own blood. While the Mosaic covenant has been fulfilled and is not in force, but in no way does that negate the Noahic or Abrahamic covenants.

The current covenant is the covenant of Grace. It was also initiated by the shedding of blood, but this time by the perfect sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The sign of our New Covenant are both internal and external. Internally, we experience circumcision of the heart at baptism (Colossians 2:12), and externally we show the covenant to others when we partake of the elements of communion on the first day of the week. What is the significance of this? It is that we are in covenant relationship with Jehovah God, whose nature is that of a covenant maker and keeper. He is not going to change His mind and decide to cancel our covenant. We are secure in Christ. No one is ever lost because God abandoned them or lost them. Jesus doesn’t fire people; they quit on Him! His part of the covenant is completed. We only need to accept the offer of salvation as He has prescribed, and walk in covenant obedience to Christ.

Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20, 21)

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God Has A Plan For Israel continued

As we move later into Romans chapter 11, we find the theme for this passage.

For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins. Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. (Romans 11:27-29 NKJV)

The rejection of Israel is temporary, not because of effort or merit. The eventual re-grafting of Israel is based completely on the nature of God. While humans may change their minds or dissolve a contract, God is perfect and His word is unalterable. Once God makes an unconditional promise, He will never renege on it. To do so would mean His promise was less than perfect. And God made these covenant promises with full knowledge of what would happen in the future. God has no “Plan B” and He will never need one.

In the previous verses, Paul reiterates the temporary nature of Israel’s blindness.

For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; (Romans 11:25, 26 NKJV)

Who is the group being referred to as “all Israel” here? It is made up of the true children of Abraham. Those who have faith, whether born as Gentiles or Jews. And there will come a day when the last of the Gentiles who God foreknows will obey the Gospel is saved, and the blindness is taken away, and masses of Jews turn to the Messiah and are grafted back into the olive tree.

For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. (Romans 11:30-32 NKJV)

Just as we, as Gentiles, we’re once lost and walking in disobedience, and received mercy for salvation, God will cause Israel to turn from their disobedience because of His mercy. Thus, God will have saved both groups for one reason alone. Because He decided to do it!
Paul makes it clear that we are not qualified to determine the reasons God does things. It’s not about us, or what we think should happen. God’s ways are beyond our ability to fully fathom.

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor? Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him? For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:33-36 NKJV)

It’s not about us. It’s about the glory of God. Period! And so both groups, Jew and Gentile alike, will fulfill the plan of God together. We can’t do it without them, and they can’t complete it without us. I will finish this one with what the Hebrew writer said:

And these all were commended for their faith, yet they did not receive what was promised. For God had provided something better for us, so that they would be made perfect together with us. (Hebrews 11:39, 40 NET)

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Our God Sings!

Throughout the Bible, those who serve God are encouraged to sing. Under the Mosaic Covenant, the psalmist wrote the following:

Praise the Lord!Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of the godly!
… Let the godly exult in glory;let them sing for joy on their beds. (Psalm 149:1, 5 ESV)

In Ephesians 5 believers are instructed this way:

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; (Ephesians 5:18-20 NASB)

But what about Jehovah God? Does He sing, too? According to Scripture, the answer is “yes”!

The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing. (Zephaniah 3:17 ESV)

Let’s take a look at what else this verse says about our God.
1. He is in our midst. While God is high and exalted, far above the heavens, He is also close to each of us. For those who will turn to Him, He is always just a step away. As Paul put it on Mars Hill in Athens, “He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ (Acts 17:27, 28 NASB)

2. Jehovah God is mighty, and He uses that might to save us. In the future, at the last day, God will mightily judge the world. But now, in this age, His efforts are directed toward salvation.

For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. (John 3:17 NASB)

3. Jehovah God rejoices over us, is glad, and exults over us. This is characterized by gladness, love and loud singing! God is celebrating over those who accept His offer of salvation! At the judgment, those who are saved will be invited to “enter into the joy of your Lord.” (Matthew 25:23)
This is also why there is such rejoicing when a sinner repents. God and the angels literally have a celebration when someone is saved!

I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. (Luke 15:7 NKJV)

It is important to have a balanced view of God. He is not looking for reasons to condemn, nor is He grudgingly granting salvation. Ours is a God of joy, who is ecstatic about His children, and is overjoyed at the spiritual birth of every one that comes to Him. Let’s make His day and seek out those in need of His salvation. And then we can rejoice along with Him!

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