Summary: Looking at covenants in the life of Abraham

Intro: How do you like telephone telemarketers? They are one of my least favorite occupation of people I deal with. What I especially hate is their low level of integrity. First, I wonder how they can always catch me sitting down at a meal. It never seems they call at a time when you say, “Oh, I’ve got half an hour to kill, tell me all about your product.” Normally they call our house during mealtime. And the last thing I want to do is let my food get cold while I’m arguing about why I don’t want to pay $75 to join a book club.

About two months ago I got a call from one of my credit card companies. They started out, “Mr. Rhine, we’re calling on behalf of your GM card. As a thank you for being such a valued customer, we’re sending you absolutely free vouchers for $50 worth of free gas at the station of my choice” To which, knowingly, I said “Thank You!” Then he went on telling me he would also enroll me in a travel club or some other program that would be conveniently billed to my credit card account.

I declined to join the club, but said, “I’ll just take the free gas.” He said I couldn’t do that, and got mad because I wanted my FREE gas but wouldn’t sign up for the club. I berated him over his lack of honesty in advertising.

We all know many who fail to keep their promises. Sometimes it’s a credit card company or other telemarketer. Sometimes it’s a boss who has been promising us a big raise real soon. Sometimes its a spouse who promised to be faithful “till death do us part.” And sometimes the promise breaker is the face that stares back at us in the mirror. Did you ever promise yourself: “Just one more cookie!”?

#Mrs. Love: now this is the last biscuit I’m going to take -- 7 times

But sometimes our promises we break to ourselves have much more serious consequences than adding a few calories. Sometimes we promise we are going to give up a sinful habit and lifestyle and become committed to God: we want to make a new start. Yet even then, we end up breaking our promises: to ourselves, and to our God.

This morning we want to look at the fact that our God is a God who makes promises. He makes conditional promises that are binding: he calls them covenants. We make these all the time. We put our money in the bank and they say, “If you will pay us 8% interest, we’ll loan you the money for a car.” But if we stop making payments, they come to repossess the car. A covenant -- and both parties have a role to play, a part to keep in the agreement.

God is a God of covenants. Let’s read in Genesis 15.

Read Genesis 15 - whole chapter -- PRAY!!

Here in Genesis 15 we see that God is a God of covenants. He comes to Abram and makes some promises. And they are some pretty amazing promises. When God comes through, he really comes through in a great way. What does he tell Abram?

*1-He reminds Abram there is nothing to fear about relationship with the Lord. He is not someone to flee from, but rather one to run to. This morning what is your view of God? Yes, we are to fear the Lord, in the sense of respecting him and obeying him. But he is not a mean tyrant or bully. He is on our side. He is a shield and a reward for us. He desires to protect us and provide for us. Who would run from a God like that. Often we make our promises to God out of fear. Foxhole prayers: God, get me out of this, and ... --just fill in the blank. We’ve all been there before. But that’s not the type of promise God wants. It would be like someone marrying a foreign girl who didn’t have a VISA. Is she marrying you for love, or is she just desperate to stay in the USA. God tells Abram he has nothing to be afraid of.

*2-The second thing we see about God’s covenant with Abram is that God can bring blessing into our lives, even when we don’t see what he could possibly do. Last week, they were predicting a 100% chance of snow. The predictions were from 6-8 inches or more. I thought, we probably won’t have church. But what happened? We only got about 2”.

God comes to Abram, and Abram is complaining because he has no heirs. Even when God promises blessings, sometimes we think he is a liar. We tend to plot and scheme because we don’t think we can trust him. Look at verse 3. Abram makes plans for an heir. Read vs.3. This morning, ask yourself a few questions.

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