He Remembers Forever His Covenant, which He Made Binding for a Thousand Generations

Can you even fathom a thousand generations? By today’s standard of 20-25 years per generation, we would go back, from today, 20,000 to 25,000 years. Calendars didn’t even exist then, to mark the years as we do today. Let’s just agree it is a very long time. By God’s standard, it is an eternity.

God made covenants with Abram, Noah, and others. An unbreakable promise of fidelity. Today we enter in “contracts” of many kinds: credit card company terms; a mortgage on our house; contracts between two parties to collaborate on an issue; employment terms or simply promises made — and on and on. So, what’s the big deal.

Here’s the big deal – a promise made or a contract broken is one person to another. I break my contract with you, and you either forget the contract or sue me for breach. God, on the other hand, will not! That is the nature of covenant. I forget to love and honor others, or to obey his precepts; he does not forget us. God cannot and will not, break his promises to us, regardless of careless attention to our part of the deal.

The covenant God made with Abram was profound. Abram’s name will be changed to Abraham to signify that something different is happening and Abraham will have descendants as numerous as the stars. All from one son who will be born to him and Sarah (Sarai) in their very old age.

Today, we celebrate the New Covenant given us by Jesus with the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper. The old covenant given by God (the sacrifice of bulls & other animals) is replaced with something more precious, the sacrifice of his Son. Jesus’ own body and blood for our spiritual food. His own! And again, though we constantly sin, constantly ignore what is good for us, Jesus does not forget us! His covenant is binding to a thousand generations. How small, how insignificant our own lifetimes in comparison.

You may recall that the covenant with Noah was sealed by a bow – a rainbow in the sky – a promise that God will never again destroy humankind in such a way. Whether or not you believe the story of the great flood literally, or figuratively, doesn’t matter. God made a covenant promise that will stand forever. And Jesus will never, no matter what we do, withdraw the great gift of himself given as the New Covenant.

Sometime last year, I recall, backing out of my garage and turning to drive from the parking area. As I turned the car, there in front of me, in the early morning sky, was the largest, most beautiful rainbow I had ever seen. It was so vibrant and seemed so close; I thought I could reach out my car window and touch it. I was so excited! It was gorgeous. I tried to call my neighbor to look out to see it, but I fumbled because I didn’t want to lose sight of the rainbow before it faded.

Every time I see a rainbow, I am mindful of the great promises of God and his fidelity to us. I believe this phenomenon of nature was designed to do just that. To help us to remember the great love of God and his Son for we simple, humble beings. How could we not be excited?

God Bless.

Contact the author

Jeanne Penoyar, an Accounts Manager at Diocesan, is a Lector at St. Anthony of Padua parish in Grand Rapids, MI. Jeanne has worked in parish ministry as an RCIA director, in Liturgy, and as a Cantor. Working word puzzles and reading fill her spare time. Jeanne can be reached at jpenoyar@diocesan.com.