COVENANT KEEPING GOD – PART 2
TEXT: Leviticus 26:9 - 'I will look on you with favour and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you (NIV).
God’s covenants are borne out of His love for mankind. Brethren, have you ever wonder why God is interested in man considering man’s failings and unfaithfulness? For instance, after God wiped out the wicked generation in the days of Noah with flood, He promised in Gen. 9: 15 that “I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life” (NIV). This shows us that our God is a loving father who is not happy when He has to wield the big stick. If you would remember we were told in Ezek. 33: 11 that God does not take pleasure in the death of a sinner but that they should turn from their way and live.
Dearly beloved, one thing that we have come to realise about our God, who is a covenant keeping God, is that you can provoke Him to enter into an everlasting covenant with you through your actions. For instance, we were told in Gen. 8: 21 that “the LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: "Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done” (NIV). If you look at what moved God’s hand in this passage, it was the smell of a pleasing aroma from the sacrifice of Noah. What is special about the sacrifice offered by Noah? I believed that it must have definitely been the quality and the quantity of the sacrifice. What are the conditions that were fulfilled by Noah that made his sacrifice to bring out a pleasing aroma?
One of the special things about the sacrifice of Noah is that it was a quality sacrifice. We were told in Gen. 8: 20 that Noah “then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it” (NIV). Building an altar for the sacrifice of God tells us that Noah made a very good preparation for the offering he offered unto God. It was not a careless offering. In addition, we were told that Noah offered clean animals and birds. This tells us that for God to find our sacrifices pleasing and to enter into an everlasting covenant with us, we must ensure that we give God our best. In addition, we must always go into the presence of God prepared, ensuring that the altar of our heart is in good state as for God to accept an offering from such a heart. This would confirm what our Lord Jesus Christ said in Matt. 5: 23 -24 "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift (NIV). This tells us that our God is interested in the altar upon which sacrifices offered to Him are made on. God cannot accept a sacrifice offered from an unclean and unholy altar.
Again, we also see that God is interested in the quality of your offering. You must offer unto God sacrifices that would cost you something. You must offer clean and quality offering that is devoid of stains. No wonder God told David in II Sam. 7:5 that he would not build a house for Him inspite of his good intention. Why? God rejected David’s offer to build Him a house because God knew that David’s hand has been stained with the shedding of blood. Of course, because David’s case was peculiar and some of the blood he shed were of God’s enemy, God recognised his good intentions and counted it for righteousness to the extent that it provoked God’s decision to enter into an everlasting covenant with David. God told David that because he willingly and cheerfully desired to build a house for Him, He would let his son that has not been stained by the shedding of blood to build Him the house. God pronounced in II Sam. 7: 12-13 that “When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (NIV).
This confirms the importance of a clean hand and a clean heart. That is why David says in Psa. 24: 3-5 “Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God his Saviour (NIV).
Brethren, do you desire to provoke an everlasting covenant between you and God that would extend to the generations after you? Then, offer God quality sacrifice from a pure heart.
Dr. Yinka Okude
RCCG Jesus sanctuary, Northampton