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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.

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God’s Politically Incorrect Promise

Genesis 17:1-8

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:

"I will accept you as a sweet aroma when I bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you have been scattered; and I will be hallowed in you before the Gentiles. Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for which I raised My hand in an oath to give to your fathers. And there you shall remember your ways and all your doings with which you were defiled; and you shall loathe yourselves in your own sight because of all the evils that you have committed. Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have dealt with you for My name’s sake, not according to your wicked ways nor according to your corrupt doings, O house of Israel,’ says the Lord GOD. " Ezekiel 20:41-44

4. The Most Controversial Characteristic: It’s Territorial Nature

17:8 “..._all the land_ of Canaan”

Genesis 15:18: On the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: "To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates --

{AT THIS POINT I SHOWED A DOWNLOADED MAP, SHOWING MODERN MIDDLE EAST AND A BOX ROUGHLY DELINEATING THE BORDERS SPOKEN OF IN GEN. 15:18. FWIW--A BIG CHUNK OF IRAQ IS INSIDE THE BORDERS}

Is God going to insist on keeping this aspect of His promise??

’Thus says the Lord GOD: "I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel." Ezekiel 11:17

Thus says the Lord GOD: "When I have gathered the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and am hallowed in them in the sight of the Gentiles, then they will dwell in their own land which I gave to My servant Jacob.And they will dwell safely there, build houses, and plant vineyards; yes, they will dwell securely, when I execute judgments on all those around them who despise them. Then they shall know that I am the LORD their God. Ezekiel 28:25-26

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