Monday, July 28, 2014

Because of Covenant

I was reading through 2 Kings 13 this morning.  So many things drew my attention.  The kings of Israel are leading the people in sinful patterns and because of that God puts them under the hand of the king of Aram and his son.  Elisha is dying of an illness.  Yet on his death bed, he is consulted by King Jehoash and gives his final prophetic directive.  He is such a powerful man of God that after he dies a dead man is thrown into his tomb by some raiders and when his body touches Elisha's bones the man comes back to life.  What a shock that would be!

But there is one phrase that struck me the most since it explains so much in our current day.  If you understand Israel's modern history at all, you know that it should not exist today.  They have faced wars on multiple fronts several times; been outmanned by the armies surrounding them; and have withstood political pressure to give in each time they are attacked and they defend themselves.  Yet they are still there.  A recent news article clearly outlines the goals of radical Islam against them and America.  Please read the full article here:

Here is the statement in 2 Kings that struck me:  22 Hazael king of Aram oppressed Israel throughout the reign of Jehoahaz. 23 But the Lord was gracious to them and had compassion and showed concern for them because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To this day he has been unwilling to destroy them or banish them from his presence.

Because of the covenant God made, He showed concern for Israel. It was not because Israel had done all things right or were following faithfully. He did it because He made a promise, a covenant, with Abraham and was and is carrying through with it. We talk today and preach that when we love or respect our spouse, we do so even when they are not lovable or respectable because of the vow we took before the Lord. The point here is parallel.  In fact, just as the Lord's heart is expressed in 2 Kings toward Israel, so it is toward all believers in 2 Timothy 2:

If we died with him, we will also live with him;
12 if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
13 if we are faithless,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot disown himself

Why does He remain faithful to us when we are faithless?  Because He has made promises that He will not break.  He will fulfill the covenant He made with Abraham and his seed just as He will the new covenant He made through the blood of Jesus.  And those two covenants are interlinked through the faithfulness of Him who made them.

We as a people of the covenant have a heart to see all people reached, including those who oppose Israel.  At the same time, we also stand side by side with Israel against all people who seek to cause her destruction.  We stand with her, not because Israel does everything right always.  We stand with her because the God of the Covenant stands with her and is unwilling to destroy her or to banish her from His presence.

The forces that seek to destroy Israel are also seeking the death of Christians as well.  So we must understand that the covenant people are under attack by those who serve false gods.  That is why we are Israel and Israel is us (see Romans 9-11). We are both people of the covenant.  And our hope, as well as their hope, is in the God that made a covenant with us.  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem and pray for the soon coming of Christ.

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