All too often, we Christians want to complicate Christianity. We come up with rules we think must govern what it means to be a Christian. We make up rituals and rites and all manner of complication that have nothing to do with the Christian life.
It is our purpose in this series to cut through all the rituals and rules and expose the true essence of Christianity. Hopefully, by the time this series is complete, everyone reading it will see how truly simple Christianity is.
If you have not read the earlier posts on this subject, find the “Categories” list in the right-hand column of this page and click on “Christianity 101.” This will pull up all the previous posts so you can read through them in order.
We have covered the Adamic, Noahic, Abrahamic and Mosaic Covenants in earlier posts. Today we’ll take a look at what is referred to as the Palestinian Covenant. Like the Mosaic Covenant, it is directed at the nation of Israel, but, as with the Mosaic Covenant, we Christians can learn and take comfort in this one.
This covenant is given in the 30th Chapter of Deuteronomy, but to understand it, we need to take a look at the final verses of Chapter 29. Both passages below are from the New American Standard Version.
25. “Then men will say, ‘Because they forsook the covenant of the Lord, the God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them out of the land of Egypt.
26. ‘They went and served other gods and worshiped them, gods whom they have not known and whom He had not allotted to them.
27. ‘Therefore, the anger of the Lord burned against that land, to bring upon it every curse which is written in this book;
28. and the Lord uprooted them from their land in anger and in fury and in great wrath, and cast them into another land, as it is this day.’
The curse listed above took place centuries before the birth of Jesus. From that time until the middle of the last century, there was no independent nation of Israel. It was subjugated by one conqueror after another until the nation finally ceased to exist. At the time I was born, during World War II, there was no nation of Israel. Jewish people were scattered to the corners of the earth.
Now, let’s take a look at Chapter 30. What a wonderful promise.
1. “So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind in all nations where the Lord your God has banished you,
2. and you return to the Lord your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons,
3. then the Lord your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you.
4. “If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back.
5. “The Lord your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers.
6. “Moreover the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live.
7. “The Lord your God will inflict all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you.
8. “And you shall again obey the Lord, and observe all His commandments which I command you today.
9. “Then the Lord your God will prosper you abundantly in all the work of your hand, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your cattle and in the produce of your ground, for the Lord will again rejoice over you for good, just as He rejoiced over your fathers;
10. if you obey the Lord your God to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law, if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul.
11. “For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach.
12. “It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’
13. “Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross the sea for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’
14. “But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it.
What a promise. Who other than the Creator of the heavens and the earth could gather up people scattered among all nations and bring them back together to restore their homeland? The history books tell us that it was the United Nations, at the urging of Great Britain, that brought this about, but the United Nations was merely the vehicle God used to accomplish His purpose.
In 1948 a tiny remnant of Jews gathered in the area designated for them. Despite the hatred and constant attacks from Muslim Arabs, they held their territory. The attacks before they even had a chance to organize a government, but they prevailed. In 1967 and again in 1973, the combined forces of the Muslim nations of the Middle East attacked Israel, and in both cases the Israelis won decisively.
Do we think they were able to organize and sustain a nation just because of their superior intelligence and military superiority? They may have that superiority now, but they certainly didn’t have it at first. They were able to create and sustain their nation because of the promise of God in the Palestinian Covenant.
We Christians have a unique opportunity to see God’s power at work here. The promise was made over three millennia ago, and some of us got to live through the fulfillment of it. For those who were not around in 1948, it is still recent history. We can all take comfort in knowing that our God can enforce His promises and protect His people.
How does seeing God’s faithfulness at work in these covenants make you feel?
If you abide in Me and My word abides in you, then you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
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