Psalm 111 affirms that God is ever mindful of His covenant. This is pregnant with meaning. And a quick overview of the concept of covenant in the Scriptures will set us in good stead to extract the substance of this small sentence. There is a wealth of knowledge, history, and experience behind this brief statement. He speaks of things that are somewhat familiar because we have heard them spoken of in our church experience. However, their particular relevance in the passage is not immediately obvious unless we take time to flesh them out. One such is the statement, ‘He remembers His covenant forever.
Despite appearances, the issue here is not about God’s memory capacity and its integrity but about His faithfulness, dependability, and reliability, about the certainty of His assistance and the definiteness of His commitment. It means a lot to Israelites. Why? Because the entire basis of their relationship with God is covenant, not just assistance, but assistance based on covenant. Indeed, the entire relationship of mankind with God is one of covenant, and that includes New Testament believers.
In fact, the Bible is a book of the covenant. If that is so, it behoves us to know what a covenant is. A covenant is a binding agreement between two parties, sometimes equal, sometimes not, us and God, for instance. In this binding agreement, each party commits to function in a certain way and takes on specific obligations with respect to the other party. If they do not meet those obligations, the consequences would be dire. So all the promises of God towards man are more than mere promises. They are made in the context of a binding covenant whereby non-fulfillment was not a possibility.
The covenant with Noah
The Lord tells Noah He will make a covenant with him, and he was to go into the Ark. When he comes out of the Ark, God proceeds to confirm His covenant with Noah and his descendants, in other words, the whole of humanity (Genesis 9.8-17). The promise of the covenant was that there would no longer be a flood that would wipe out the whole earth.
The covenant with Abraham
God also cut a covenant with Abraham. Covenants are actually a fairly widespread practice among ancient peoples. When God called Abraham, He made some very strong commitments to him. He told him He was going to make his name great, make him a father of many nations. He was going to give him land. He told him that his descendants would be a blessing to the Earth.
God committed Himself to do everything He had promised to do. For Abraham, with his oriental mindset, a man who knew the power of covenant, this must have been huge. He must have felt, my fate is now settled because he has made a covenant with me. God goes to great lengths to convince us that He will do what He promised to do.
Later, when he is 99 years old, still waiting for the promise to be fulfilled, the Lord appears again to him and reiterates His commitment.
How wonderful that He has His covenant on His mind! This is equally valid for New Testament believers today, and we shall see why shortly. Prayer begins from a place of assurance, as He is fully cognisant of the commitments He has made. You don’t even need to say, Oh Lord, do you see me? Do you know me? Do you hear me? It’s always on his mind. That’s what the psalmist wants us to understand; that this God is not only kind; He’s not only faithful, but He’s constantly thinking of the good that He has promised to do to humanity. We must also have the covenant on our minds.
The Mosaic covenant
This covenant builds on the Abrahamic covenant. It involves a special relationship between God and the children of Israel and included the establishment of a body of laws and ritual practice for worship. The people prepared to encounter the Lord by fasting and abstinence, and another theophany occurred on Mount Sinai. This time, the presence of God was awe-inspiring.
God had come to do them good, offer them a special relationship. The priesthood was established, the sacrifices and rules of worship were put in place.
God is interested in people. If we can only understand how good He is. We would bend over backward to please Him rather than complain about His requirements. Why would one want to displease such a wonderful Father? Sometimes we let the devil mess us up when we have a faithful Father who signed a covenant with us. He did that with us in the New Covenant. God came down, not in fire and smoke, but in the Person of Christ.
The Davidic covenant
David, moved with zeal for the Lord, wanted to build Him a temple. But the Lord stopped him through the prophet Nathan. That task would fall to his son, Solomon. But in return, God promised to build David a house. His descendants would be on the throne forever, and from his lineage would emerge the Shepherd who would lead God’s people. And that promise would find its fulfilment in Christ.
The New Covenant
These covenants all point to Jesus. Even the ritual aspect of the Mosaic covenant, with the tabernacle and its sacrifices and utensils, in one way or other, represents Jesus and foreshadows His redemptive work. It does not surprise us that He has the covenant on His mind, as everything is all laid out and planned in advance. A detailed study of the tabernacle reveals a mind-boggling depth of correspondence with the work of Christ. God has put more thought into religion than anything we can imagine.
The greatest of all, and the final covenant, is the New Covenant in the blood of Jesus. Jesus, Himself, calls it His blood of the New Covenant, in Matthew 24. The sacrificial animal is replaced with the sacrifice of Jesus. He is the lamb that was slain before the foundation of the world. His blood was shed for us to reconcile us to the Father. It is the sign of the inauguration of a new covenant between man and God. By this covenant, our sins are forgiven, and we now have access to God and can come boldly to Him. Every person who is born again is a partaker of that covenant. And we thus have confidence before God.
And so when we read in Psalm 111 that the Lord remembers His covenant, we can adapt that to our own selves and say that He remembers that there is a covenant in the blood of Christ that binds us to Him now, by which we are reconciled, by which we are forgiven. We are creatures of a new covenant. We don’t have to carry guilt any more. Our guilt has been washed away. This is so powerful for a Christian to know that God is ever mindful of His covenant, and we are connected to the blessings of Abraham.
Galatians 3:13-14, 29
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us because it is written: Everyone who is hung on a tree is cursed. The purpose was that the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles by Christ Jesus so that we could receive the promised Spirit through faith…… And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise.
A covenant of divine intervention, love, protection, help
It means we have a relationship with God that guarantees His intervention in our affairs and guarantees His direction in our lives. We know without a shadow of a doubt that when you, as a child of God, have a covenant with Him, He will never tell you, live your life, do whatever you want to do. I don’t have time for you.
There is no other way to relate to God today, except via this new covenant, the agreement that He has signed and by which He has committed Himself to save anyone who will come to Him through the blood of Jesus.
I encourage you now to yield to the Holy Spirit as He is touching your heart and commit your life to Jesus. Pray to repent of your sins, express your faith in His saving work on the cross, and ask Him to save you. Commit to follow, obey and serve Him.