COVENANT KEEPING GOD – PART 3
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).
One distinguishing characteristics of God’s covenant is that it is associated with blessings. In the same manner, God’s covenant also carries with it some responsibilities. In other words, God covenant would always set out the conditions under which it would operate. The blessings embedded in His covenant do not exist in isolation; it works with the fulfilment of your own side of the contract.
The story of how Noah got God to enter into an everlasting covenant with him is important to the understanding of the ways God’s covenants work. We read that God told Noah in Genesis 6: 11 -21 about His plan to destroy the wicked world and commanded him to prepare an ark with specific instructions of the dimensions and other preparations and separation. We read in Gen. 6: 22 that Noah did everything just as God commanded him. Of course, we know that a time came in Gen. 8: 21 when God entered into a covenant with Noah. Dearly beloved, what can we learn from the life of Noah that can help us to get God to smile at us and enter an everlasting covenant with us and our descendants?
The first thing that we learn in the life of Noah is that he walked with God blameless. In Gen. 6: 9 we were told that Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God (NIV). God can never lie and whatever He says He sticks to and would want His children to recognise this. God cannot walk with anyone who is not prepared to live a consecrated life for Him. If you would recall, one of the conditions that God required of Abraham before the fulfilment of His covenant with Abraham was that he would walk before Him blameless. We read in Gen. 17: 1-2 that “when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, "I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless. I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers." These two accounts and the accounts of Enoch tell us the importance of walking with God blameless. Brethren, there is no way God would enter into covenant with a wicked fellow. It does not matter your earthly religious position. God is not moved by your earthly religious titles or positions in the church. God has no respect for a General Overseer; He only has respect for those who are blameless. In 1 Thes. 2: 11-12 Apostle Paul wrote “for you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory” (NIV). Brethren, if you would desire God to visit you and enter an everlasting covenant blessing with you, then you must be ready to walk with God blameless.
Secondly, Noah was obedient to God absolutely. In Gen. 6: 22, we were told that Noah did everything just as God commanded him (NIV). God loves obedient children and is ready at all time to reward those who are obedient to His command and instructions. As a matter of fact God honours obedience to His command and instructions above rendering of sacrifice to Him. The bible made it clear that King Saul was rejected by God because of disobedience and as recorded in I Sam. 15: 22. We were told that “but Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. There are many bible references that confirm the fact that our God desires obedience above sacrifices. Some of these references include Psalm 40:6; 51: 16; 51: 17; Pro. 21:3; Isa. 1:11; Jer. 7:22; 7: 23; Hos.6:6; Matt.12:7; Mk. 12:33; etc. According to Prov. 21:3, “to do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice” (NIV). Dearly beloved, you must determine and purpose in your heart to obey God absolutely if you want Him to enter into a covenant of blessing with you and your descendants.
Lastly, Noah sacrificed quality offering unto God. Of course, God loved quality offering. We cannot overemphasise the importance of quality offerings. Quality offering/sacrifice is important and necessary but it is not sufficient, except you accompany your sacrifice with obedience. A quality offering unto God is like the icing on the cake of obedience to the word of God. Just as icing adds to the quality of presentation of any cake, quality offering would bring to prominence your perfect obedience. According to Gen. 8: 20, “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).
The combine result of all of these is that God entered an everlasting covenant with Noah that has remained till today. In Gen. 8: 21 we were told 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).
Brethren, do you desire that God would enter into an everlasting covenant of blessings with you? If your answer is yes, then you must be ready to walk with God blameless; be absolutely obedient to His command; and be prepared to give to Him at all time sacrifices and offerings that are qualitative.
I pray that the Lord would give unto you the grace to do these things in Jesus name.
Dr. Yinka Okude
RCCG, Jesus Sanctuary, Northampton