Have you ever spent time researching your family history?

Both my Step-Mom and my Mother-in-Law spent several years writing letters of inquiry, visiting reference sites and gathering data on our family tree. Each of them put hundreds of names, dates and places into a three ring binder, and I’ve got copies of both of them. I’ve spent some time searching for a few missing pieces and have even been able to fill in a few blanks.

Tracing your generations backwards can give you a sense of your history. One side of our family tree has generations traced as far back as Normandy, France in 1456. The other side has generations ending in Augsburg, Germany in the 1440’s. I found at least three Bishops in our family tree, including a distant cousin who is currently serving a diocese in southwestern France.

But even going back into the mid 1400’s is only counting sixteen generations. Hardly a drop in the bucket when you consider today’s verse …

Wow! A THOUSAND generations! That’s a lot of generations. And actually more than you might think. Because when the bible uses numbers like “a thousand” or “ten thousand” it is not usually trying to communicate an exact sum. The message here is NOT that generation 1001 is out of luck when it comes to God’s faithfulness. The real gist of what is being communicated is something more like “generations after generations, on and on and on for much longer than you can even begin to comprehend.” In other words, a LOT!

The key point is the first five words of the verse – HE IS THE FAITHFUL GOD. Saying that He KEEPS HIS COVENANT FOR A THOUSAND GENERATIONS is merely an illustration of how incredibly faithful He is.

The topic of covenants is very deep, and I’m only going to skim the surface of it here. Depending upon how you wish to count, the bible contains between five and eight covenants between God and His creation. Simply put, a biblical covenant is a promise from God and guaranteed by His oath. There are different types of covenants, some are conditional and others are unconditional. The conditional ones are temporary, but the unconditional ones last forever. Making a covenant clear involved a formalised legal framework that defined the type of covenant being made. It was sealed by offering a sacrifice or giving a precious gift.

God’s covenants with us are awesome and incredible. Each of the four covenants I’ll mention here are eternal, and each one builds upon the one that goes before it and ADDS an incredible promise. All of them are what is known as royal grant covenants, in which the stronger party (the king) grants rights and protections to the weaker party. It is an unconditional covenant, a promise made by the king and sealed by his honor. It binds the king but requires no specific action from the one who receives the promise.

God made a covenant with Noah never again to destroy the entire earth with a flood. It applied to Noah and his family after him throughout the generations. (Or, as today’s verse puts it, FOR A THOUSAND GENERATIONS.) It set the stage for the covenants that were still to come.

Abraham was given a covenant of blessing from God, that he would become a vast nation as innumerable as the stars of the sky. The nation God created through Abraham was the people of Israel. God promised that all the peoples of the earth would be blessed through them. The ultimate fulfilment of this promise is, of course, found in the Messiah of Israel, Jesus Christ.

The covenant that David received from God was that a son in his lineage would rule forever. Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, rules eternity and perfectly fulfills that covenantal promise. He has ruled, does rule and will rule eternally; for He rules in a realm beyond time itself.

The last and greatest covenant is known as the Messianic Covenant, it promises a Redeemer who will write His covenant on our hearts. That is a picture of faithful love, changing our inner being. Spoken through multiple prophets, the blessings of the Messianic Covenant are like facets of a diamond reflecting the light of His great love.

The Messianic covenant promises that God will place His Holy Spirit upon us and within us, and He tells us that His Spirit will not depart. God promises that His words that He Himself will put in our mouth will always be on our lips. Praises, prayers, prophecies, words of wisdom, and more — all ours! And these words will also be on the lips of our children and on the lips of their children—forever.

In His Messianic Covenant, God promises that He will put His laws in our minds and write them on our heart; and so we will be His people and He will be our God. Our relationship will be intimate and close. That is only possible because He promises to forgive our wickedness and remember our sins no more. What a promise!!! What a covenant!!!!


Ezekiel the prophet recounts even more blessings God promises to us under the Messianic Covenant. Consider this litany of blessings, piled one upon the other, each one containing God’s promise by Him saying “I WILL” …

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean.
I will cleanse you from all your impurities.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you.
I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
I will save you from all your uncleanness.
I will call for the grain and make it plentiful.
I will increase the fruit of the trees and the crops of the field.
I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant.
I will establish them and increase their numbers.
I will put my sanctuary among them forever, My dwelling place will be with them.
I will be their God, and they will be my people.

And, as if this were not more than enough, He then ADOPTS those who receive this covenant as His own children.

Every covenantal blessing in the Messianic Covenant can be yours.

His offer is open to you. Take it.


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