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Day 81 — God Remembers His Covenant—Forever!

Please take a few minutes to read the piece below about the faithfulness of God to his covenant. Elana and I are heading out to meet with a unit of soldiers. These are the guys for whom you bought helmets. They wanted to invite us to their base on the Gaza border (in Kibbutz Sa’ad) to say thank you.

The truth is, it is you they need to thank! You guys rose to the occasion. In addition to many small donations, we got two big ones from Grace Fellowship in Nashua and Baruch Hashem congregation in Dallas. Thank you to EVERYONE! We will represent you today and send pictures tomorrow. We are so honored to partner with all of you! 

Let’s finish the year strong! We are getting close to a $1,000,000 goal to bless Israel. The needs here in the wake of Oct. 7 are endless. Homes need to be rebuilt, and people need to find housing. Our dear friend Oded will need his room to be fitted for him when he is released from rehabilitation. And so many other wounded soldiers.

Thank you for blessing Israel!

God Remembers His Covenant—Forever!

I spent the last little while in the Book of Genesis. Ironically, religious Jews begin their yearly cycle of Bible reading on Simchat Torah, the last day of Sukkot (the feast of Tabernacles). This year, it was October 7. It’s one of the reasons that Israel is renaming this war the Genesis War (from Swords of Iron).

Genesis is the story of God’s faithfulness to a family that becomes 12 tribes and then becomes a mighty nation. God makes powerful promises to a man named Abram (soon to be Abraham). He tells him that he’s going to both build him into a great nation and through his seed, all the nations of the earth would be blessed. He reaffirms this covenant with Abraham many times, and then with his son and grandson, Isaac and Jacob. And if that is not enough, he reaffirms it all throughout not only the Hebrew Scriptures but on into the New Testament.[1]

When there is Brit, there Blood

The word for covenant In Hebrew is brit. It appears 13 times just in Genesis 17 when God institutes the covenant of circumcision, also known as the Abrahamic Covenant. In the ancient world, they didn’t make covenants; they cut covenants (qarat brit כָּרַת בְּרִית). Where there is circumcision, there is blood.

A covenant is more robust than a promise which is made with spoken words. The covenant is “a binding oath of promise.”[2] God’s covenant with Abraham and his children is everlasting. The Hebrew there is Brit Olam, which means “everlasting, forever, eternity.”[3] There is no ambiguity here. God committed himself to Abraham forever. When Jeremiah reaffirms God’s promise to Abraham’s descendants, he uses even stronger language: l’min olam v’ad Olam— לְמִן־עוֹלָם וְעַד־עוֹלָם. I will cause you to dwell in this place, in the land which I gave your forefathers forever and ever (Jer. 7:7 my translation).

Of course, in a covenant, there are stipulations. And while God was clear that he would always be faithful to Israel, discipline and even punishment were promised if Israel walked in generation after generation of disobedience and did not keep her part of the covenant.

In Jeremiah 7, we find a promise of God’s faithfulness (v. 7) AND some “ifs” in the verses above that: IF you treat the foreigner among you well, IF you…IF you…well, you get the idea.

Obviously, as horrific as what happened on Oct 7 was, God allowed it to happen. Israel is clearly not a perfect nation, and there are things that God is dealing with her about. Overall, though, I believe the Bible is adamant that God is faithful to Israel (see Jer. 31:35-37).

God Hear the Za’aka!

As I finished Genesis, I got into Exodus. And a passage jumped out at me. Moses has been gone from Egypt for 40 years. He has forgotten about the God he tried to defend when he killed the Egyptian. Any idea of standing against the injustice of Egypt is a distant memory. He has no interest in the God of the Hebrews. His sons are uncircumcised (see Ex. 4:24-26). And then God shows up in a burning bush with a message:

During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them. (Ex. 2:23-25)

While Moses had forgotten El Shaddai's covenant that he cut with Abraham, God had not. It’s not like God is getting old and is struggling with his memory. There are two things here that go together. God remembers when he hears the cry. This word cry is za’ak and it means to “make public sounds of physical pain and emotional anguish, with a focus that one may possibly respond to the cry.”[4] While za’ak is the strongest word, the author actually uses four different words that we translate as simply ‘groan’ and ‘cry.’ He is trying to give a powerful picture of their extreme suffering: anach, za’ak, na’aka, shav’ah—אָנַח, זָעַק, נְאָקָה, שַׁוְעָה. This crying out of agony reached the heavens, for it says, “their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God.”

They were not merely crying out, but crying out to God, as Moses would write later, “[In harsh slave labor (v. 6)] we cried out to the Lord, the God of our fathers, and the Lord heard our voice and saw our misery, toil and oppression” (Deut. 26:7). “The exodus did not come about simply because people were in trouble; it was the result of a prayer of lament for rescue to the only one who could actually do something about it.”[5]

You Can Cry Out

In other words, to say “‘God remembered his covenant’ is to say ‘God decided to honor the terms of his covenant at this time.’”[6] It is not to say, he forgot and then remembered. We see similar language when Isaiah implores the Gentiles to pray for Israel. He calls them watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem.

I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem;

they will never be silent day or night.

You who call on the Lord,

give yourselves no rest,

and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem

and makes her the praise of the earth (Is. 62:6-7).

Isaiah uses the language give God no rest. Obviously, God does not get tired or exhausted. And we cannot keep him from resting through our prayers. It is more that God will enforce his covenant through the intercessory cries of his people.

Now watch this: In the Exodus story, it was the people who were suffering who cried out to God in their agony. In Isaiah 62, it is this group called “watchmen” that are posted on the walls of Jerusalem. I’m utterly convinced that these are end-time Gentile believers in the Messiah, who cry out to God, who have the chutzpah to demand of God (give him no rest!), to remember his covenant with the Jewish people and make “Jerusalem … the praise of all the earth.”

Right now, there are over 100 Israelis crying in agony on the border of Egypt in Gaza. We can cry with them, and God will hear. Watch this music video of the families of survivors, and take a moment and cry out to God. (I have YouTube playing Israeli music in the background, and this song just came on as I finished this article and moved me to cry out to God. I hope it will move you too.)

Prophecy being Fulfilled

What were the chances that these things would come to pass in our lifetime?

  • What are the chances that 2,700 years after Isaiah wrote these words, the Jewish people, after being nationless for 1,900 years, would come back to their ancient Homeland?

  • What are the chances that she would be the most controversial nation on Earth?

  • What are the chances they will be tiny in landmass and yet the center of the world's hatred?

Clearly, the God of the Bible is God! We are watching prophecy come to pass in our day (Zech. 12:2-3, 14:1-2, Gen. 12:2-3). Those who hate Israel are going to find themselves on the wrong side of history. God will remember his covenant and be faithful to his people. He will forgive their sin and cleanse them of their impurities (Zech. 13:1).

Read the Bible!

Below are passages about God remembering his covenant with Israel. There is really no way that you can read these passages, two of which are from the New Testament, and come to the conclusion that God has rejected Israel. Replacement theology teaches that God’s affection is no longer on his ancient people but exclusively on the Church. To believe such nonsense is to make a mockery of the word brit—covenant. It is to call God unfaithful (Jer. 31:35-37).

The purpose of putting the covenant in writing, of sealing it with the blood of animals or a signet ring, is to guarantee it. God says to Zerubbabel that “I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,’ declares the Lord Almighty” (Hag. 2:23b). What did he choose him for? To rebuild the temple… Which he did because God swore with his signet ring.

Please take a moment and read the verses below, and let it sink in that God’s faithfulness to Israel is not based on her righteousness or obedience but his faithfulness to his covenant.

Regarding the Flood:

Genesis 9:15-16

and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”

When the Israelites were enslaved:

Exodus 2:24

“So God heard their groaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

Exodus 6:5:

“Furthermore I have heard the groaning of the sons of Israel, because the Egyptians are holding them in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant.”

If Israel sins and they are punished:

Leviticus 26:42, 44-45

“… then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and I will remember also My covenant with Isaac, and My covenant with Abraham as well, and I will remember the land. I will not reject them or abhor them so as to destroy them completely, breaking my covenant with them. I am the Lord their God. For their sake, I will remember the covenant with their ancestors whom I brought out of Egypt in the sight of the nations to be their God. I am the Lord.’” [7]

Deuteronomy 4:31:

“For the Lord your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them.”

Ezekiel 16:60:

“Nevertheless, I will remember My covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you.”

When Israel would sin:

Psalm 106:44-45

“Yet he took note of their distress when he heard their cry;

And He remembered His covenant for their sake,

And relented according to the greatness of His lovingkindness.”

A General Reminder that he is faithful to his covenant:

Psalm 105:6-11

“You, his servants, the descendants of Abraham,

you his servants, the descendants of Abraham,

his chosen ones, the children of Jacob.

He is the Lord our God;

his judgments are in all the earth.

He remembers his covenant forever,

the promise he made, for a thousand generations,

the covenant he made with Abraham,

the oath he swore to Isaac.

He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree,

to Israel as an everlasting covenant:

‘To you I will give the land of Canaan

as the portion you will inherit.’”

When David gives instructions on how to praise:

1 Chronicles 16:15-18

“He remembers his covenant forever,

the promise he made, for a thousand generations,

the covenant he made with Abraham,

the oath he swore to Isaac.

He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree,

to Israel as an everlasting covenant:

‘To you I will give the land of Canaan

as the portion you will inherit.’”

God’s covenant, which includes the land of Israel, is affirmed in the New Covenant:

Luke 1:54

“He has given help to Israel His servant,

In remembrance of His mercy…”

Luke 1:72

“To show mercy toward our fathers,

And to remember His holy covenant…”

[1] Ron Cantor, When Kingdoms Collide (Tel Aviv, Israel: Messiah’s Mandate, 2021), Chapter 10.

[2] James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Douglas K. Stuart, Exodus, vol. 2, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2006), 103.

[6] Ibid.

[7] The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Le 26:44–45.

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Pieter van Staden
Pieter van Staden
Dec 27, 2023

The covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was only made about 4000 years ago. A 1000 generations have not yet passed! Not to speak of the eternal kingdom in which the twelve apostles will each have a throne.

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