God is a God of grace. He understands our failures and makes allowances for them (1 Jn. 1:8-9). Our High Priest, who was tempted in all points as we are – yet without sin, always makes intercession for us before the Father (Heb. 4:14-16). Our salvation is secure. We are God’s purchased possession forever sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise until we are taken to be with Him (Eph. 1:13-14). We should know that “God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Num. 23:19).
Well, what about Israel? Could the Jews ever do anything, anything, that would cause God to break His promise to them? I am speaking of national Israel. I do not mean the bride of Christ, the church. I do not mean spiritual Israel. I mean literal Israel, those who are members of the twelve tribes of Jacob. Is there any real hope for Israel as a nation today? Is there any chance that God’s promise to Abraham – sealed in blood – concerning the land that stretches from the Nile River all the way to the Euphrates, will ever happen (Gen. 15:18-21)?
As mentioned earlier, Israel has never possessed this land in its totality – never. But I digress! It is always good to check the fine print of any important document. It is in the fine print that important truths are often found. That is especially true when it is the fine print of God’s Word. Many jewels of truth are encased deep inside the large, seemingly complicated text of Old Testament scripture. It is within the deep waters of many words that beautiful gems often surface. Every word matters.
This is especially true when delving into what some have called the Palestinian Covenant. The beginning of this covenant was clearly stated by Moses in his writing of the second law, Deuteronomy. “These are the words of the covenant which the Lord commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant which He made with them in Horeb” (Deut. 29:1). Notice the words “covenant” and “besides the covenant.” These words are not written in red or highlighted in any way in my Bible, but they are extremely important.
Moses was clearly saying that this covenant was a different covenant. It was not the new covenant (Jer. 31:31-34). It was a covenant made in addition to the original covenant God made with Israel at Sinai (Ex. 20). Horeb is just another word for Sinai. This covenant teaches us clearly that God is truly a God of the second chance. Through this agreement, God was giving the Jews another chance to do the right thing with His law and with the land.
The Jews actually broke the covenant made with the nation (the Ten Commandments) even before God had finished giving it to Moses on the mountain (Ex. 32:6). For this reason, God made them wander in the desert for forty years. He later restored them to the land and gave them this new agreement. Moses asked Israel to remember their past, how they were enslaved by the pharaohs in Egypt for 400 years. He reminded them of their sin and all the trials and wonders that their eyes had seen. He asked them to recall the forty years in the desert. Their clothes and shoes did not wear out. A miracle! They did not eat bread or have strong drink, but they survived. When faced with powerful enemies, they came out victorious (Deut. 29:2–8).
Moses said that once again, they were all standing before God: the leaders, the elders, the children, the wives, and all the servants. Why were they all standing there? Because they were once again entering into a covenant with God: “That you may enter into covenant with the Lord your God, and into His oath, which the Lord your God makes with you today, that He may establish you today as a people for Himself, and that He may be God to you, just as He has spoken to you, and just as He has sworn to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (Deut. 29:9).
God had not gone back on His word, but Israel had. God’s desire was to make them a people for Himself, just as He had sworn to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The mention of their names reveals that this covenant was permanently tied to the original promise that was given to the fathers. It is one thing for a human to swear to tell the truth; it is another for God to swear to tell the truth. God swore an oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He will never go back on His word. God carefully reminded those standing before Him that day that this covenant was not being made just with them but with all those who would come after them. The Jews even to this day that are scattered throughout the world are those who would come after them. It never ends until God ends it (Deut. 29:9–15). Stay safe and stay tuned.