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Genesis 17:1-27

Tuesday, 16 August 2022

“As for me this is my covenant with you…’ -Genesis 17:3

The word ‘covenant’ is very rarely used in modern times, having been replaced with the word, ‘contract’ because one can back off from a contract at any given time according to the individual’s whims and desires. Whereas, if one enters into a covenant with another, it’s a life-long commitment and there is no turning back.

Today we read of a God who enters into a covenant with man, knowing fully well that man is prone to break his side of the commitment; yet God being who He is, will keep His word at any cost (Numbers 23:19). Who is this God who called a mortal man to enter into a covenant with Him? Today’s reading highlights 2 distinctive characteristics of God that make His covenants reliable and trustworthy:

God of the Universe initiates the covenant [Vs 3]–This covenant we read of today is a reconfirmation of the covenant initiated by God at first with Abraham in Gen.15: 17&18. God promised Abraham then that He would give him and his descendants the land of Canaan as an inheritance. Now Abraham was childless and when the promise tarried, Abraham heeded his wife’s advice for an heir, a step undermining God’s covenant with him. Did this act of Abraham cause God to go back on His Word? No!!! We see God appearing to Abraham again [V.1] to reconfirm His Covenant with him. But this time with an ‘ENDURING COVENANT.’ He promised Abraham that he would be ‘Father of many nations,’ by changing his name [V.5] This was a promise that Paul speaks of in Gal. 3:8- Scripture foreseeing that God would justify the gentiles by faith preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand saying ‘In you all the nations will be blessed.’ God’s promise about the seed of the woman that God promised Eve in Gen 3:15, He fulfilled by blessing Abraham with a Seed who is the Christ (Gal. 3:16). Today all of us who believe in the Lord Jesus are sons of Abraham by faith (Gal 3:7). Praise be to God for this privilege!

God of the Universe establishes an everlasting Covenant [Vs.7&18] One thing the world lacks today is trust. Politicians rise up giving false hopes of a secure, corruption-free society, but they fail miserably. Families are breaking down because of lack of trust between parents and children / husbands and wives. Who do we trust? Who has a word that will prove true forever? But Jesus says: “Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will never pass away.” We see His word fulfilled in the lives of His chosen people.

When God made an everlasting covenant with Abraham and his descendants that the land of Canaan will be theirs it meant it would be theirs forever. Though for a time due to their sin they lost their nation, through history we see God establish them and the covenant given to them through Abraham will stand forever.

As children of Abraham by faith, we have been called by God to receive from Him through Christ, The Mediator of the New Covenant – ‘ AN ETERNAL INHERITANCE’ (Heb.9:15); An inheritance that can never spoil of fade [1Peter 1:4] : an inheritance of the Holy Spirit (Eph.1:14) , an eternal inheritance in heaven (John 14:1&2), a reward as an inheritance as we serve Him (Col.3:24) heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:16) – these promises are everlasting.

This is God’s covenant to us. How must we respond to this? As He expected of Abraham:

  • To walk before Him and being blameless—meaning to be loyal and devoted to Him.

  • A circumcision of the heart –The first circumcision was in the body but Rom. 2:29 calls for an inward circumcision- of the heart – by the Spirit that results in obedience to God’s command.

When we take such a stand we see God’s faithfulness manifested in our lives and we will inherit a blessing so that we would be a blessing to others (1Peter 3:8).

Think on: “I will not break my covenant nor alter what my lips have uttered.” (Ps. 89:34)

Listen: 'God of Abraham'

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