11 MARCH 365 Days with Calvin

Strengthening Covenant Promises

He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations. Psalm 105:8

suggested further reading: Genesis 15

God made a covenant with Abraham and by solemn oath also promised to be the God of Abraham’s seed. To give greater assurance of the truth of his promise, God graciously renewed his covenant with Isaac and Jacob. The effect of extending the vow to posterity is that God’s faithfulness might take deeper hold of the hearts of his people. Also, when God’s grace is renewed on recurring occasions, it becomes better known and more illustrious among men. Accordingly, this covenant is proved more steadfast and immovable, for what is affirmed concerning each of the patriarchs belongs equally to them all.

It is said that God “swore to Isaac.” Had God not before sworn that to Abraham? Undoubtedly he had. It is also said that it was established to Jacob for a law, and for an everlasting covenant. Does this mean the covenant was previously only temporal and transitory and that it then changed its nature? Such an idea is altogether at variance with the meaning of the sacred writer. By these different forms of expression the psalmist asserts that the covenant was fully and perfectly confirmed, so that, if the calling was perhaps obscure for one man, it might become more evident by God’s transmitting it to posterity. By this means the truth of the covenant was better manifested.

Here we are once more reminded that God with great kindness considers our weakness when, both by his oath and by frequently repeating his word, he ratifies what he formerly promised to us. Our ingratitude then appears fouler in disbelieving him when he not only speaks but also swears.

for meditation: The promises that God makes to his people also extend to their posterity, which includes sinners like us. How does each manifestation of God’s covenant promises help strengthen believers’ responses to their covenant commitments?[1]


[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 89). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

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