Sermon #11                                                    Exodus Series


     Title:          God Remembers His Covenant

     Text:           Exodus 2:23-25

     Subject:      God’s Remembrance of His Covenant

     Date:          Tuesday Evening — February 14, 2005

     Tape #        Exodus 11

     Readings:   Bob Poncer and Larry Brown



Has the Lord God sent leanness into your soul? Has he brought you low? My message tonight is specifically intended for you who may be in painful distress and heavy hearted. Turn with me to Exodus 2. I have a message for you, even if your soul’s trouble is the result of your own waywardness. We will begin in verse 23.


(Exo 2:23)  “And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage.”


The children of Israel had been oppressed under Pharaoh for many years. At last, Pharaoh died. They must have hoped for relief from the new Egyptian king. But their miseries were only increased. They had, no doubt, sighed, and groaned, and cried much during their bondage in Egypt. But we are not told that they cried unto God until now. Is that the case with you? How often it is! We all sigh, and groan, and cry because of trouble. But our heavenly Father’s chastening rod is intended to graciously force us to pour out our souls to him. When our trials bring us to our Savior’s feet, lay us low, and keep us there, then our trials have been blessed and sanctified to our souls (Heb. 4:16).


(Heb 4:16)  “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”


Many cry because of trouble and groan because of sorrow, without regard to their sin, which is the great cause of trouble and sorrow. Theirs is a repentance to be repented of. Job tells us, that they cry, but cry not to God (Job 35:9-10).


(Job 35:9-10)  “By reason of the multitude of oppressions they make the oppressed to cry: they cry out by reason of the arm of the mighty. (10) But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night;”


There is no crying to God, without crying because of sin. Do we cry out to our God in repentance; or do we just cry? Do our troubles lead us to repentance, or do they only lead us to sorrow? Blessed are they who are constrained by God’s grace to cry out to him, looking to him alone for deliverance by his own free grace in Christ.


Now, look at verses 24 and 25


(Exo 2:24-25)  “And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. (25) And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them.”


Here we see the order by which God’s grace comes into our souls.


1.    God’s covenant is the source and cause of all mercy and grace.

2.     God remembers his covenant.

3.     God hears the cries of his chosen.

4.     God looks upon his own.

5.     God has respect unto his elect, because he has respect unto his covenant. — “The Lord was gracious unto them, and had compassion on them, and had respect unto them, because of his covenant” (2 Kings 13:23).


Proposition: I want you to see, believe, and rejoice in this one thing. — God remembers his covenant.


He may chasten us; but he always remembers his covenant. He often hides his face, but he always remembers his covenant. He sometimes appears to forget us, and even appears to forsake us; but he always remembers his covenant (Isa. 54:4-10; Ps. 89:28-34).


(Isa 54:4-10)  “Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more. (5) For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called. (6) For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God. (7) For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. (8) In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer. (9) For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. (10) For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.”


(Psa 89:28-34)  “My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. (29) His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven. (30) If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; (31) If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; (32) Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. (33) Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. (34) My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.”


Yes, though we often forsake him, he will never forsake us. Though we often forget him, he will never forget us. Though “we believe not, yet, he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself” (2 Tim. 2:13).


Psalm 106


I want you to see, and see it clearly for yourself, that I have not stretched the meaning of the words stated and the promises implied in our text beyond the intent of God the Holy Spirit. If you will turn for a moment to Psalm 106, you will see in that Psalm that David was inspired to praise God for his goodness and mercy, ever remembering his covenant, in spite of the many sins and failures of his saints.


In verses 1 and 2, he calls us to praise our God and give thanks to him.


(Psa 106:1-2)  “Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. (2) Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD? who can show forth all his praise?”


Then, he asks God to remember him, and teaches us to do so (vv. 4-5).


(Psa 106:4-5)  “Remember me, O LORD, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people: O visit me with thy salvation; (5) That I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance.”


Next, David begins to confess the sins of Israel, celebrating God’s faithfulness and goodness, his mercy and grace, to such a sinful, undeserving people (vv. 6-7, 13-15, 19-25, 28-29, 36-39, 43). Remember, throughout this Psalm, David is talking about our experience of God’s grace in this world. Israel’s whole experience typified ours.


(Psa 106:6-7)  “We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly. (7) Our fathers understood not thy wonders in Egypt; they remembered not the multitude of thy mercies; but provoked him at the sea, even at the Red sea.”


(Psa 106:13-15)  “They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel: (14) But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. (15) And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.”


(Psa 106:19-25)  “They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten image. (20) Thus they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass. (21) They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt; (22) Wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red sea. (23) Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them. (24) Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word: (25) But murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the LORD.”


(Psa 106:28-29)  “They joined themselves also unto Baalpeor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead. (29) Thus they provoked him to anger with their inventions: and the plague brake in upon them.”


(Psa 106:36-39)  “And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them. (37) Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, (38) And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood. (39) Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions.”


(Psa 106:43)  “Many times did he deliver them; but they provoked him with their counsel, and were brought low for their iniquity.”


Now, watch this. In verses 8, 44, and 45, David tells us why God is so faithfully gracious to us.


(Psa 106:8)  “Nevertheless he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known.”


In verses 44-45, David refers to our text in Exodus 2:24-25.


(Psa 106:44-45)  “Nevertheless he regarded their affliction, when he heard their cry: (45) And he remembered for them his covenant, and repented according to the multitude of his mercies.”


There is something very powerful about the cry of a child to its father and mother. And there is something very powerful about our cries to our God, the most tender of all fathers…


Such pity as a father hath

And shows his children dear,

Like pity shows the Lord to such

As worship Him in fear.


I have said all that to say this. — Kiss the hand that wounds you and that hand will bind you up. Cry out to your heavenly Father, and he will turn unto you in loving kindness, because God remembers his covenant.


(Exo 2:24-25)  “And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. (25) And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them.”


Why did the Lord hear the cries of his afflicted children in Egypt? Why did he have respect to his people in their trouble? — “God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.” He looked to the covenant he had made of old with their father, Abraham, when he said, “Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.” Because that promise had gone out of his mouth, he would not withdraw it! Hear me now, and rejoice in this fact. — Our God finds the reason for his mercy to us in himself, and in himself alone! Therefore, we have reason to believe and to believe confidently, that he will ever be gracious to us. He remembers his covenant. Though there is nothing in us to fetch his mercy, there is everything in the covenant. He remembers his own covenant and, for his own name’s sake, he deals with us in mercy!


Our text does not say, “God remembered their covenant.” They broke every covenant they made, just as we do. Our text says, “God remembered his covenant.” — “Nevertheless, for their sake, he remembered his covenant.” And his covenant is a covenant of pure, free, sovereign grace!


The Lord said to Abraham, “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.” That same covenant, after being made more fully known in his promises to Moses and many others, was stated anew in Psalm 89. — “I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah.”


Since then the Lord has given us promises, by his Prophets and Apostles, and specially in the Person and ministry of his own dear Son, affirming that same, blessed and everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure. It is this covenant that God remembers that is the great foundation upon which all our hopes are built.


The Covenant


Blessed be his name, our God has made for us an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure. And this is all our salvation, and all our desire. The covenant God remembered was made long before the mercy was needed. Our text speaks of a covenant remembered. It could not have been remembered, had it not been made beforehand. In love he remembered the covenant as an abiding thing. Our God declares, “My Covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.” What shall I say about this covenant? How does the Word of God describe it?


This covenant is an everlasting covenant (2 Sam. 23:5).


(2 Sam 23:5)  “Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.”


This covenant which our God has made for us from eternity is a covenant of pure, free grace. Everything in it speaks of grace (Jer. 31:3, 31-34; 32:37-41).


(Jer 31:3)  “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”


(Jer 31:31-34)  “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: (32) Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: (33) But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. (34) And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, 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: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”


(Jer 32:37-41)  “Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: (38) And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: (39) And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: (40) And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me. (41) Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul.”


This everlasting covenant of grace is a covenant made in anticipation of, not as a reaction to, our needs (Isa. 48:4-8). When God chose Abraham and made him his friend, he knew what failures there would be in Abraham and in his seed. He made his choice deliberately, knowing the end from the beginning and foreseeing all the provocations which he would endure for 40 years in the wilderness, and how they would provoke him to anger, again and again in the Land of Canaan. God’s choice of his redeemed was made deliberately and the promises made to us in Christ were given in the full knowledge of all our unbelief, lukewarmness, backsliding, selfishness, folly, and sin!


(Isa 48:3-5)  “I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I showed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass. (4) Because I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and thy brow brass; (5) I have even from the beginning declared it to thee; before it came to pass I showed it thee: lest thou shouldest say, Mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image, hath commanded them.”


(Isa 48:8)  “Yea, thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; yea, from that time that thine ear was not opened: for I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb.”


“He saw us ruined in the Fall

Yet loved us notwithstanding all.”


The covenant is not according to what we deserve, but according to the greatness of God’s grace and the immutably of his promise!


This covenant of grace was sealed and ratified, made sure and certain by Christ our Surety, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.


Do you remember, when God revealed his covenant to Abraham, sacrifices were slain and divided? Then, the image of a burning lamp passed between the pieces. What a solemn night that was! When Awoke from his sleep, he saw vultures attempting to devour the sacrifices, and drove them away. — Thus the covenant was symbolically ratified before him. But when the triune God made his covenant for us, the seal he gave was infinitely greater and infinitely more precious. He took from his bosom his only-begotten Son and gave him to be a Covenant to us (Isa. 49:8).


(Isa 49:8)  “Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;”


The covenant was made sure by “the blood of the everlasting covenant,” by the blood of the Lamb, our Surety, accepted and trusted from eternity. Our Savior says, as we hold the cup at the Table, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood.” His blood, accepted before God and accepted by our God from everlasting has made us accepted and has procured for us all mercy and grace from everlasting (Rom. 8:29-30; Eph. 1:3-6).


(Rom 8:29-30)  “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”


(Eph 1:3-6)  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (4) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (5) Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, (6) To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”


Can God deny his promise to his bleeding Son? Can he turn back from the promise he made to the Son of his love in his death? Never! — “By his knowledge shall my righteous Servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” Can these promises fail? Impossible! The very thought of such a possibility is blasphemous! This covenant, ratified and made sure by the death of our great Surety and Sacrifice, can never be repealed, neglected, changed, or forgotten!


Hear me, my brother, my sister. — This everlasting covenant of grace will and must stand forever, because the very glory of the triune God stands or falls with it (Eph. 1:3-14). He declares, — “This people have I formed for Myself: they shall show forth My praise!


(Micah 7:17-18)  “They shall lick the dust like a serpent, they shall move out of their holes like worms of the earth: they shall be afraid of the LORD our God, and shall fear because of thee. (18) Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.”


(Eph 2:7)  “That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”


I fully agree with Spurgeon, who wrote, “God is more glorified in the Covenant of Grace than in creation, or in Providence—in fact, creation and Providence are but the temporary scaffold of the great house which God is building, even the God who inhabits the praises of Israel! The Lord cannot break His Word, nor forego His designs, nor forget His promises. Do not even think it! The crown jewels of God are staked and pawned upon the carrying out of the Covenant of Grace!” Blessed be his name, it is not possible for God to break his covenant, no matter what strain is put upon it, even by us! The covenant and purpose of our God to save his own stands fast, come what may. — “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” They that trust in the Lord, notwithstanding all the enormous weight of their sin, shall find him faithful to his covenant. He will keep his covenant forever!


We Forget


God ever keeps his covenant; but how often we forget! It appears that the children of Israel had forgotten the covenant, while they were in Egypt. Whether that is absolutely so or not, this is. — We often forget! How often, because of sin and sorrow, when we are laid low, we say, “The Lord has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me.” When we do, the Lord our God, our covenant keeping God asks…


(Isa 49:15)  “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.”


These are the terms of our marriage covenant.


(Hosea 2:18-20)  “And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely. (19) And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. (20) I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD.”


Though we forget, he declares


(Ezek 16:60-63)  “Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant. (61) Then thou shalt remember thy ways, and be ashamed, when thou shalt receive thy sisters, thine elder and thy younger: and I will give them unto thee for daughters, but not by thy covenant. (62) And I will establish my covenant with thee; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: (63) That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord GOD.”


I want to be my Master’s messenger to you, to remind you that he is still God in covenant with you. Though he causes grief, yet will he have compassion. He has said, “All things work together for good to them that love God,” and he will keep his Word. He has also said, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” Depend upon it. He will preserve you!


(Psa 55:22)  “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”


“What cheering words are these!

Their sweetness who can tell?

In time and to eternal days,

‘Tis with the righteous well.” 


In wrath, our God ever remembers mercy. Oh that we could learn to say, with Job, in the darkest night of our most difficult trials, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him!


(Hab 3:17-18)  “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: (18) Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”


God Remembers


Though, to our shame, we often forget, our God always remembers his covenant.


(Exo 2:24-25)  “And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. (25) And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them.”


Because the covenant is always before him, he remembers it, stands to it, and performs it. But I want to send you home rejoicing with the most practical understanding of this fact. Because he remembers his covenant…


·       The Lord our God hears the groanings of our hearts (Rom. 8:22-27).


(Rom 8:22-27)  “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. (23) And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (24) For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? (25) But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. (26) Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (27) And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”


·       He ever looks upon us with tenderness and compassion, with the pity of a loving father.


(Psa 103:13-14)  “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. (14) For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.”


·       Because he remembers his covenant, our great God always has respect unto his own. — That is to say, he always loves us, knows us, owns us as his own, accepts us, approves of us, and cares for us.


(Isa 63:9)  “In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.”


Because of Christ, with whom the covenant of grace was made, in whom it stands, who is forever the Father’s delight, the Father has compassion on us! God remembers the covenant because he remembers Christ. And he would have us remember it.


(Heb 9:15)  “And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.”


(Heb 10:9-14)  “Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. (10) By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (11) And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: (12) But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; (13) From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. (14) For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”