Ally in Gods covenant
God is perfect and the problem with people is that they are not. Unfortunately we all know broken relationships or ruptures under believers. In this newsletter we read about covenant relations between people and Gods covenant with Israel. About Gods love that is not whimsical or dependent on emotions, but based in covenant!
Trickery of the Gibeonites
When the inhibitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua did to Jericho and Ai, they acted with trickery. They went to Joshua…and said: we came from a far country. Now then, make a covenant with us (Joshua 9:1-4, 6).
Joshua was convinced and made a covenant with them that he would let them live. After three days however they find out that the Gibeonites decieved them because they actually live closeby. Moreover, Joshua is not going freely because he did not consult God first (Joshua 9:14).
Promised is promised
Our western reasoning would be ‘This covenant is not legal because we were deceived. Also, we are not allowed to make a covenant with the inhibitants of this country (Exodus 34:12). God can not bless this and that is why I do not have to keep our agreements’.
Joshua’s covenant: ‘We swore an oath by the Lord, the God of Israel. That is why we can not touch them’. And so the Gibeonites they alive, despite the deception ánd Joshua’s mistake. They become lumberjacks and water carriers for the house of God (Joshua 9:23). Isn’t it miraculous, that these people end up working in the temple, in Gods direct presence? In our eyes that’s unheard… and still it happens.
God Himsélf battles alongside
Then five kings with their armies are going to battle to Gibeon. And the Gibeonites ask Joshua for help (Joshua 10:6). What would you do? You just were deceived and now you are supposed to defend those deceivers? How special: again, Joshua is faithful tot he covenant! And also God Himself battles alongside them by sending enormous hailstones from heaven. Gibeon has sought his salvation with the God of Israel and He defends them, like they were always a part of them. The city Gibeon even gets a special status: it becomes a city of priests (Joshua 21:17).
Covenant break 400 years later
During the reign of David, there was a famine for three successive years; so David sought the face of the Lord. The Lord said, “It is on account of Saul and his blood-stained house; it is because he put the Gibeonites to death.” (2 Samuel 21:1).
Do I see this right? Is there a famine because Saul violated the covenant? Dear people, we are over 400 (!) years later in time! Still, God is still taking Joshua’s covenant seriously, despite mistakes and despite the fact that the covenant never should have been there!
The most important covenant in the Bible is the covenant between God and Abraham: in Abraham all peoples of the earth will be blessed (Genesis 15:9-10). And so God made a blood covenant with Abraham (Genesis 15:9-10): it can not be broken and is stronger than death. The covenant is eternal and also the land Canaan is promised as an eternal possession (Genesis 17:7-8). It is unconditional, God WILL do it, even if Israel is unfaithful.
In the desert God also makes a conditional covenant and He gives the law. However it goes wrong very fast. Israel wants a king, just like the other peoples and God says: “They have rejected me for being King over them” (1 Samuel 8:7).
Gods eternal faith
Despite Israels unfaithfulness God later announces a renewed marriage covenant. A covenant direct in the heart of Israel: “I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people…. and I will remember their sin no more.” (jeremiah 31:31-34).
And so 2000 years ago on Pesach Jesus died as a sacraficial Lamb. By His blood the marriage covenant between God and Israel was renewed. During Pentecost (Sjavoeot, exactly 50 days after Pesach) the Holy Spirit falls: Gods covenant is written in their hearts! And so not only Jews come to fiath, but also non-Jews.
Become an ally?
The result of Gods covenant is not yet completely visible in Israel right now. But He will finish it! How? He wants to use His Body, you and me, as ally in Gods plan! Petach Tikvah wants to involve young people in this plan and connect churches to Messianic ministries/communities in passing on the message of Jesjoea tot heir own people. For example we work together with Revive Israel (www.reviveisrael.org) and we represent them in the Netherlands.
Joshua’s covenant álso dares us. Satans strategy is to disconnect people in the Kingdom. By misunderstanding, sin, differences and emotions he breaks relationships. As we say being connected in Jesus, then Joshua’s covenant challenges you to walk together as allies in óne front. To be an ally you need mercy and forgiveness! Because to stay faithful to imperfect people, we need to choose the cross; for sacrificial love and showing mercy when the other makes mistakes. That is painful. That requires faith, but that is covenental love! Are you helping us?