Summary: Trying to see one of today’s great political standoff from a Biblical position, this message presents a look at the Abrahamic covenant and why this ancient promise has such great influence on world politics 3000+ years later.
God’s Politically Incorrect Promise
Introduction: Israeli vs. Palestinian. Christian vs. Muslim. Jew vs. Everybody in the Middle East. Why is a small country, whose population barely matches the combined populations of Dallas, Houston, Ft. Worth, and San Antonio (all in Texas, of course) carrying such great influence in the foreign policy of the United States? Indeed, there’s hardly a country today in Europe that makes any foreign policy moves without considering the Israeli/Middle East effect. It is important for us as Christians to understand that much of the conflict our world is experiencing is not a product of the 20th century, but extends all the way back across the centuries to when God established His covenant with Abraham. By studying this covenant, we shall see that God’s basis for developing a people for Himself was done in a way that is very "politcally incorrect", especially by today’s standards.
Four Characteristics of God’s Covenant/Promise That Are Offensive In Today’s World:
1. The Most Offensive Characteristic: Its Exclusive Nature
The Promise applies only to Abraham & his descendants 17:7
Who are the descendants of Abrahamy?
Muslim view– line of Ishmael & the Arabs
Jewish view– only physical descendants
Biblical view– “many nations” 17:4
The Bible clearly states that Abraham is “...the father of all those who believe” Romans 4:11
2. The Most Misunderstood Characteristic: It’s Perpetual Nature
It is an everlasting covenant 17:7
Christianity does not replace biblical Judaism but is the fully matured state of biblical Judaism. By this it is meant that true, OT-based Judaism looks to Christ as its Messiah.
The New Covenant: " Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah --not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD.” Jeremiah 31:31-32
Four thoughts here:
*the New Covenant does not destroy the old one, but is in fact the realization of all that is promised by the old.
*the Old Covenant was broken by people, not by God;
He stays faithful
*the New focuses on internalizing the principles of the Old
“But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts...” Jeremiah 31:33
*both covenants have the same goal
“...and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”
This phrase, appearing in various forms in both testaments, ties the entire message of the Bible under one distinct goal: an eternal, intimate relationship between man and God.
3. The Most Neglected Characteristic: It’s Relational Nature
God’s promise is not based on “you do your part, and I’ll do mine.God’s faithfulness to keeping His end of the promise is not
*based on performance, nor
*based on heritage
But rather His faithfulness depends on His own nature: