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Seven Covenant Promises
“Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD.” (Exodus 6:6-8)
When I am discouraged because of some pressing distress, or cast down by the leanness of my own soul, when I am brought low by Satan’s assaults, my own barrenness of heart, or the circumstances in which I find myself, nothing is more refreshing to my soul in such times of trial and temptation than the blessed assurance of covenant grace. Like David, when he was about to die, I find strength for my soul and joy for my heart, when I can find joy and strength nowhere else, in God’s covenant grace and the stedfast and sure promises of that covenant (2 Samuel 23:5).
In Exodus 6:6-8 the God of heaven speaks of himself as the covenant God of his people. He encourages us to rest our souls upon him, to trust him implicitly, by reminding us of our covenant relationship with him, and of his covenant promises to us. The covenant of grace, so frequently portrayed in the covenants God made with his ancient people, is now confirmed and sealed to us in the blood of Christ and by the gracious gift of his Holy Spirit. And that which the Divine Writer of this blessed Book has said by his servant John (1 John 5:13) applies to this revelation of his covenant promises. — “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” As Robert Hawker stated, “We can never trust ourselves too little, nor our God too much.”
Verse 6 begins with the word “wherefore,” indicating that everything to follow is directly connected with that which has just been stated. Here are four reasons the Lord our God gives for us to believe the promises he has made. — Imagine that! The God of all grace stoops to reason with us. He whose name is Faithful and True stoops to give us reasons to believe his promises!
1. In verse 3 the Lord God pins his name to the promises he gives in verses 6-8. — He who is God Almighty (El-Shaddai), Jehovah, the one and only God, who is our Savior and Redeemer pins the honor of his name upon the fulfillment of his covenant.
2. In verse 4 he declares, “I have established my covenant with them.” It is, as David said, “ordered in all things and sure,” because it is God’s covenant. It is a covenant God has established. And it is a covenant God has established with his people, by his decree from eternity, by the death of Christ at Calvary, and by the seal of his Spirit in the new birth.
3. Then in verse 5, the Lord God declares, “I have heard the groaning of the children of Israel.”
Our God is never ignorant of our needs. Our Father’s ear is always open to our cries. Not only that, he hears our groans. Every tear we shed, he records in a book of remembrance (Psalm 56:8). He is touched with the feeling of our infirmities and sympathizes with our groans. He who hears the cries of the young ravens and responds to their cries in pity (Psalm 147:9) will hear our groans, even when we cannot put our cries into words.
4. “And,” in the last line of verse 5, the Jehovah our God, the Almighty, the Triune God declares, “I have remembered my covenant.” — We may often forget his covenant; but he never does! He will “ever be mindful of his covenant” (Psalm 111:5). Therefore he is ever “mindful of us” (Psalm 115:12).
In the light of these four facts, let us believe the seven covenant promises our God gives in verses 6-8. I do not make as much of the numbers used in Scripture as some; but it is obvious that some numbers are used in Scripture for specific purposes.
1. The number 3 seems to refer to God (The Three-in-One Jehovah) and Life. — On the third day God caused the earth to bring forth life everywhere (Genesis 1:11-13).
2. The number 6 is used repeatedly for man. — Man was created on the sixth day (Genesis 1:26-31). Six is the number of man, the number of weakness, frustration, and failure. The number of the beast is 666. And the Lord God appointed six cities of refuge for men.
3. The number 7 speaks of redemption, grace, perfection, completion, and rest. — There were seven appointed feast to be kept annually in the Old Testament. — The sabbath day was the seventh day. — The year of Jubilee to be kept every 50th year, after every seven weeks of years.
4. And the promises of the covenant are repeatedly set before us as seven promises. That indicates that the covenant of redemption and grace is perfect and complete. It is a covenant that brings rest. It is the Jubilee covenant of God’s Israel.
In Exodus 6, the Lord God specifically tells us, in verse 3, that the covenant promises of verses 6-8 are the very promises he made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in Genesis 17. There God made seven distinct promises to Abraham.
1. “And I will make thee exceeding fruitful” (Genesis 17:6).
2. “And I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee” (Genesis 17:6)
3. “And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee” (Genesis 17:7).
4. “And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession” (Genesis 17:8).
5. “And I will be their God” (Genesis 17:8).
6. “And I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him” (Genesis 17:19).
7. “My covenant I will establish with Isaac” (Genesis 17:21)
These promises are given again in Jeremiah 31, where God describes the “new covenant” (31:31) of grace, by which he saves his elect. Again, the promises of the covenant are specifically set before us under the number of perfection, grace, completion, and rest.
1. “After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts” (Jeremiah 31:33)
2. “And write it in their hearts” (Jeremiah 31:33).
3. “And will be their God” (Jeremiah 31:33).
4. “And they shall be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33).
5. “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord” (Jeremiah 31:34).
6. “And I will forgive their iniquity” (Jeremiah 31:34).
7. “And I will remember their sin no more” (Jeremiah 31:34).
Look at the seven covenant promises of our God in Exodus 6:6-8. These are God’s promises to his elect. They are the sure and certain promises of his free grace in Christ, covenant promises that come to us by the merit of Christ’s shed blood, “the blood of the everlasting covenant.”
“Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord.” — He is eternal in his being, immutable in his counsels, and faithful to his covenant. He is able to fulfil his promises. He can be trusted to do what he has purposed.
1. Deliverance — The Lord God has promised to deliver his people from all their burdens. — “I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians” (v. 6).
They may think nothing of this promise who know nothing of Egypt’s burdens. But to weary, heavy-laden sinners, crushed beneath the load of sin and shame, better news can never be heard than this. — “I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians!” If ever you are brought so low before God that you cry, like Job, “My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul” (Job 10:1), you will rejoice to hear the God of all grace speak of sure deliverance. Truly, “This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest” (Isaiah 28:12). — God himself declares, “I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians!”
2. Liberty — The Lord God has promised to give the burdened soul in bondage the blessed liberty of grace. — “And I will rid you out of their bondage” (v. 6).
Israel in Egypt was in bondage, heavy, oppressive bondage. But the Lord God promised to rid them of Egypt’s bondage completely. And you and I were, by nature, in bondage in Egypt, in cruel bondage, under the heavy, oppressive yoke of the law. Just as Pharaoh required Israel to make bricks without straw, the law required us to produce righteousness, but gave us no aid and offered us no assistance. But just as the Lord God made a complete riddance of Israel’s bondage to Pharaoh’s yoke of bondage, our Lord Jesus Christ has made a complete riddance of our bondage by fulfilling all the law’s demands as our Substitute (Romans 8:1-4; 10:4; Galatians 5:1-4).
The law demands we pay our debt.
(Justice cannot forgive one cent.)
But grace points to the Lamb of God,
And says our debt He paid with blood.
The law provokes and stirs up sin,
And makes more hard the hearts of men;
But grace, (Almighty grace!), imparts
Life and melts rebel sinners’ hearts.
“Go, do the work,” the law demands;
Yet gives me neither feet nor hands.
But grace the gospel’s good news brings,
Says, “Fly to Christ,” and gives me wings!
With wings of love and wings of faith,
Sinners awakened from their death,
Fly to the throne of grace and see
God in His Son is all mercy!
My soul, on wings of faith, now fly,
And soar aloft to God on High.
Faint not, nor falter in the race;
But run, and work, and sing, “FREE GRACE!”
3. Redemption — This deliverance and liberty comes to us freely by the gift of grace; but it was obtained for us at a very great cost. It is deliverance and liberty bestowed upon us by redemption, redemption by power and by justice. — “And I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments” (v. 6).
The Lord God redeems his elect experimentally by the power of his omnipotent, irresistible grace in regeneration and effectual calling, giving life to the dead (Ephesians 2:1-9). But we could never have been redeemed by the power of our Savior’s out-stretched arm of grace, had he not redeemed us “with great judgments,” when he stretched out his arms upon the cursed tree as the Lamb of God, our sin-atoning Sacrifice (Romans 3:24-28).
4. Acceptance — The Lord God has promised to give his chosen everlasting acceptance with him. — “And I will take you to me for a people” (v. 7).
But have we not been accepted in Christ from eternity? Indeed, we have (Ephesians 1:3-6). Yet, God promises to make each of his chosen accepted. How can both things be true? The fact is, all that God promised he will do for us in time, in the experience of grace, he has done for us from eternity in Christ our Surety (Romans 8:28-31; Ephesians 1:3-7).
5. Knowledge — Next, the Lord God promises that the experience of his grace will come to his chosen by knowledge of him. — “And I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God” (v. 7).
Salvation is knowing him (John 17:3). And the only way we can know him is by him revealing himself to us (2 Corinthians 4:6). This is not a bare promise of factual knowledge. The Lord God promises that all who are his shall be made to know that he is theirs. What can be sweeter than the knowledge that Christ is my God, my Savior, my Redeemer, my Righteousness and my Salvation? (See Romans 9:25-28 and Jeremiah 9:23-24.)
6. Rest — Then, the Lord God promises to give his chosen rest, blessed, sweet rest in Christ. — “Ye shall know that I am the Lord your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians” (v. 7).
When the Lord God grants faith in Christ, he gives rest to the weary. This is that blessed rest that was portrayed in the legal, typical sabbath days of the Old Testament. It is Rest from labor and fear, and rest from all our foes (Exodus 34:24). It is the joyful, jubilee rest of faith in Christ our Sabbath. As the sabbath of old was for Israel alone, so Christ our Sabbath belongs to none but God’s elect; and all God’s elect find rest in him (Hebrews 4:3-10; Colossians 2:16).
If ever you find rest in Christ our Sabbath, you will “call the Sabbath a delight” (Isaiah 58:13), no longer doing your own ways, serving the pleasures and lusts of the flesh, and observing the laws of men, but honoring him alone as your Savior (1 Corinthians 1:30-31).
7. Inheritance — The Lord God has sworn and promised, in the covenant ordered in all things and sure before the world was made, that he will give his chosen an everlasting inheritance. That inheritance that is ours in Christ was typified by the land of Canaan. — “And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did sware to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for a heritage: I am the Lord” (v. 8).
Not only did the Lord bring his people out of the land of bondage, he brought them into the land he had sworn to give unto Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They were not consumed by the Amalekites (Exodus 17). Though Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og king of Bashan, gathered all their people together and went out against Israel (Numbers 21), though Balak hired Balaam to curse Israel, no weapon formed against them could prosper. The Lord God who made the promise performed it; and Israel came into and possessed the promised land.
So it shall be with us! The Lord Jesus Christ shall, at last, bring every chosen, blood-bought sinner safely into Heaven’s everlasting glory. The world, the flesh, and the Devil may array themselves against us; but not one sheep of Christ shall perish. We shall, every one of us, possess that blessed land of promise “for an heritage” by the free gift of free grace. All God’s elect shall possess it completely. All shall possess it freely. All shall possess it forever (Romans 8:16-18).
Did you notice, in reading these seven covenant promises, that each promise is prefaced by two infinitely precious words? — “I will.” The Lord God declares, “I am the Lord. I will bring you out. I will rid you. I will redeem you!” Let our hearts reply, “O Lord, do as you have said;” and pray, that he may give us grace to believe to believe him (1 John 5:10-11).