We have on many occasions made promises to friends or family members. Sometimes, the promises are kept. Sometimes, the promises are broken for various reasons. Trust is built on truth. When truth has been tampered, trust begins to falter. However, when the Bible refers to God as a covenant-keeping God, what exactly does that mean?
The word covenant, according to the 1828 Noah Webster Dictionary, means a contract or agreement between two people. A covenant is created in deed by writing; sealed and executed.
In the book of Genesis, God made a covenant with Abraham. In that covenant, God promised to give to Abraham the land in which he was living not only to him, but also to Abraham’s descendants. Also, God promised that He would bless those who bless Abraham and curse those who would curse Abraham. God promised Abraham that He would bless Abraham and his descendants.
Years after Abraham died; his descendants were living as slaves in Egypt. They were treated harshly by the taskmasters. They cried and wept due to their anguish of slavery. God heard their groaning and remembered the covenant that He had made with Abraham. Exodus 6:5 reads, “And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant.” Through the miracle of the parting of the Red Sea, the descendants of Abraham left Egypt and were finally on their way back to the land that God had promised Abraham.
The writer of Psalms 106 and 107 gave a historical review of the God’s covenant with the descendants of Abraham. Beginning with verse 6 in Psalm 106, the writer reviewed the unfaithfulness of Abraham’s descendants. They did not remember God’s mercies on their lives. They did not wait for God’s counsel, but followed their own plans instead of following the plan of God. They were filled with envy; unthank fullness, idolatry and rebellion. When they finally made their homes in the Promised Land, they refused to follow the precepts of God by following the practices of the neighboring nations. They worshiped the idols and made temples and shrines to those idols. They forgot the God of their fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. As a result, the neighboring nations oppressed them and made them servants.
However, God remembered His people. He remembered his covenant with Abraham. In verse 44, it reads, “Nevertheless He regarded their affliction. When He heard their cry; and for their sake He remembered His covenant.” His people did not deserve God’s mercy, but because God made a covenant with the descendants of Abraham, God delivered His people and restored their relationship to Him.
Today, the lesson that we can learn from the ancient Hebrews is this: God is a faithful God. God does not base our relationship with Him on our humanity and our works. We can never earn God’s favor for blessings. God is faithful to His Word. In Psalm 111: 4-5, the writer records “He has made His wonderful works to be remembered; The LORD is gracious and full of compassion. He has given food to those who fear Him; He will ever be mindful of His covenant.” Humans made mistakes. Humans at times do not make the best decisions. Humans sometimes do not follow the best advice. Those who have a covenant relationship with God do have this hope: God’s covenant does not rely on how good humans are. His covenant relies on how good God is – Not goodness from humans; but goodness from God.
Rev. Kitty Mears serves at Mt. View Pentecostal Holiness Church where she is an assistant adult teacher.