Summary: God loves people and commits himself to them. It was out of the friendship between God and Abraham that the covenant was cut! He found a man considered barren by biological analysis and made promises to last a thousand generations! This covenant became
Memory verse: Acts 13:26 "Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent".
Background: God loves people and commits himself to them. It was out of the friendship between God and Abraham that the covenant was cut! He found a man considered barren by biological analysis and made promises to last a thousand generations! This covenant became the foundation of God’s dealing with man. It is important for us to understand it if we are to benefit from it.
In this study, we will look at the realities of the covenant.
1. Initiated by God Genesis 11: 31-12:5, Deut:7-9
a) Born out of His love - It is God who takes the first step. As Abraham was attending to his everyday affairs, settling down in Haran, God revealed Himself. As Moses was tending to his father-in-law’s flock in the desert, God showed up! When the disciples were busy fishing and in the frustration of catching nothing, Jesus walked up to them! As Paul was on his way to persecute Christians, God met him. What of you?
b) Established by God - The covenant is not a contract between two equal parties. God established and decided the terms. Abraham did not see beyond his old age and Sarah’s barreness. Many times we are blinded by our immediate circumstances that perplex us. If God is to wait till some of us are ready, we may never enter into His rest. Thank Him for Jn 15:16.
2. A covenant of relationship not rules Eph 2:11-22
The thrust of the covenant was God bringing man back to Himself in the Father-son relationship intended in Eden. The rules, laws and commandments came after man continually grieved God. God knows that laying down rules will not get us to live right, but a relationship will. He therefore decided that the laws will be written on our heart and as we give our hearts to Him, we receive the capacity to obey and trust Him! Jer 31:33. Obedience comes in response to the relationship
3. The relationship is open to all Gen 17:10-27, Jn 3:16, Rom 10:9 -13, Rev 3:20
Abraham was the contact that was needed and through him, anyone who believes becomes partaker of the divine nature. Abraham had to put aside the security he was used to and trust God for a new beginning. Many other religions acknowledge Abraham’s encounter with God, but unfortunately, have not moved beyond that knowledge. They relate with Abraham’s obedience without wanting to put their own obedience and trust on the line.
The relationship has gone beyond the Jewish nation. God has over time renewed the covenant with various instruments that became available to Him. Compare Gen 17:20 & 21
4. The place of circumcision Gen 17:10-14, Lk 1:59, Lk2:21,1 Cor 7:17-20
God required circumcision as a mark of obedience and response to the covenant.
Circumcision leaves a permanent mark on the body. It can not be undone. It was a mark that separated the Jews from Gentiles. Circumcision brought blood into the covenant and seals it. However, there was a lot of purification that still needed to be done.
God has demanded that our circumcision should be of the heart and not the flesh.
Once we give our lives to Him through Jesus Christ, Satan loses his legal title over our lives!
Next Week - THE NEW COVENANT