After the flood, God made a covenant with every living creature on the earth. Genesis 9:12-13 “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.’” A covenant is an agreement or contract between two parties. Even today we can look at the rainbow and remember this covenant we have with God, that He will not again destroy the earth with a flood.
The Bible describes multiple covenants. God made at least two covenants with Abraham (Genesis 15:18; Genesis 17:7). Abraham made a covenant with Abimelech (Genesis 21:27). David made a covenant with Jonathan (1 Samuel 18:3). One of the most important covenants was the one God made through Moses. After God delivered the Israelites from Egypt, He asked Moses to come up to Him on Mount Sinai. Exodus 34:28 “So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.” You can read the words of this covenant between God and the Israelites in Exodus 20:1-17 or Deuteronomy 5:6-21. This covenant was a good covenant, but the Israelites did not continue in the covenant. Hebrews 8:7-9 “For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: ‘Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah — not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord.” God decided to make a new covenant with His people.
Christians are the true Israelites or Jews of today. Romans 2:28-29 “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.” When you and I are circumcised, not in the flesh but in the heart and in the Spirit, we become the true Israelites. Therefore, the new covenant God has made is our covenant. Let us look at our covenant with God.
Hebrews 8:10-12 “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” This passage is quoted from Jeremiah 31:31-34.
“I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their heart.” The first covenant with God’s people was the Ten Commandments – laws written on tablets of stone. These laws were external to the people and, over time, they chose to disobey them. Now, God promises to write His laws in our minds and on our hearts. They are no longer external, but internal and very much a part of us. From our very minds and hearts we choose to obey God’s laws. We know what He wants us to do and what not to do.
“I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” We are now His people, His children.
“None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.” Under the old covenant, Israelite children were born into the covenant with God; male children were circumcised on the eighth day. They had to be taught about the Lord; many never came to know Him. Everyone who enters the new covenant with God must have faith in Christ, repent of their sin, and submit to the will of God by being buried in baptism as a sign of the death to the old life and a desire to walk in newness of life. We enter the new covenant knowing the Lord. Of course, we come to know Him more and more as we grow in His grace.
“I will be merciful to their unrighteousness.” Ephesians 2:4-5 “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).” Psalms 145:8 “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy.” Even when we sin, God is merciful to us. He is slow to anger. He is a loving Father.
“Their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Isaiah 43:25 “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.” God is all knowing, so He knows all things that have happened. He chooses to not remember our sins. 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The past is over and He does not hold it against us. He only looks at us in the here and now.
What a wonderful covenant you have with God! He promises to put His laws into your mind and write them on your heart. You know the Lord and can come to Him anytime in prayer. He is merciful to your unrighteousness and He will not remember your lawless deeds. I encourage you to love your God because of the great love He has for you.