“They are the people of Israel, chosen to be God’s adopted children. God revealed his glory to them. He made covenants with them and gave them his law. He gave them the privilege of worshiping him and receiving his wonderful promises. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are their ancestors, and Christ himself was an Israelite as far as his human nature is concerned. And he is God, the one who rules over everything and is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.”
Romans 9:4-5 NLT
We mustn’t forget the Covenant, made between God and His people. We read in Genesis 12:1-3 how God established a special relationship, a covenant, with Abraham; “The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you””. We read in Exodus 19:4-6 God’s message to Moses, “‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians. You know how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me. And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation.’ This is the message you must give to the people of Israel”. An awesome responsibility for the Israelites. To support the Covenant, God set out rules and regulations, the Law, that had to be followed, and we can read about that in Exodus 20 and throughout the Books that constituted the Jewish Torah. However, regardless of how the Israelites behaved, and their success at keeping their side of the bargain, the Covenant God made with Abraham and the nation he fathered was unconditional.
We Christians, with the benefit of our Bibles, can look back at two Covenants. The word “Covenant” means an agreement or promise, often underpinned by a legal document. And God has committed Himself to making a Covenant with His peoples everywhere. God cannot lie or break a promise, so the Covenant that He made was everlasting. So when Paul wrote about God making covenants with the Jews, His people, that meant there was an eternal agreement that would never be broken.
The Covenant that God made with the “people of Israel” included “wonderful promises“. He gave them territory, and promised that the Jews would be a nation that one day will bring blessing to all the families on earth. The Israelite nation were chosen to be His adopted children, with all the benefits that result. Deuteronomy 28 lists the blessings that will be enjoyed by the Jewish nation if they keep the Covenant with God. Many of the Biblical prophecies about the Jews have not yet been fulfilled, but they will be because what God has promised will come to pass.
But perhaps the biggest and most important promise that God made to His chosen people was the Messiah. Isaiah prophesied, “All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’)” (Isaiah 7:14). And Isaiah 9:6-7, “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!” With the benefit of hindsight, we saw that happen with the birth of Jesus, bringing salvation to a lost people and a dark world. And yet the promise of the Messiah won’t be fully fulfilled until we see Jesus reign for all eternity, a government bringing peace that “will never end”.
Jesus came, ushering in the New Covenant. Jeremiah prophesied that it would happen, ““The day is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah” (Jeremiah 31:31). About Jesus, the writer of the Hebrews said, “That is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant” (Hebrews 9:15).
God never breaks His promises. His Covenants are eternal. And we pilgrims can be part of God’s covenant promises. Forever.
Father God, we thank You for Your faithfulness. It is everlasting, full of love and grace. We praise and worship You today. Amen.