Monday, September 18, 2017

eschatology: Covenant's Conditions (Gen.16-17)

It's obvious that mankind is impatient and selfish and likes to be in control.  Just look at all the world religions that people have created which involve many rules about how one MIGHT be able to work their way up to some sort of utopia or nirvana or their version of heaven.  But to get to heaven, where there is a holy God, we must be perfect.  Which is impossible - unless it is through God (Jesus).  How is it that we think we know better than God?

Just so, Abram got tired of waiting for God to deliver and took matters into his own hands and had a son through his wife's servant.  This not only caused issues within their marriage and family but it also caused issues for the entire future of all their descendants - hence, all the unrest in the Middle East that we see today.

It's easy to forget that God is able to bring about miracle births!  And God does deliver on His promises.  God also understands what we need, since He created us!  He knows we need some "ownership" in things.  For example, below, God gives Abraham directions in his part in the covenant.  The act of being circumcised physically sets one apart forever, just as a Christian is forgiven of sins and is set apart and has eternal life.  As a child of God, what should be most evident to the world - is that we are obedient - that we "act like it" (although not ACTING, our motives should be sincere love and should be pure), but you get the idea.  People should be saying, "You remind me so much of your Dad!!!"

With Christianity, even though we're saved and sealed for eternity, while on earth, we will still make mistakes.  This does not cause us to lose our salvation, but habitual and un-confessed sin affects the relationship we have with God and each other, which affects our quality of life (because there are consequences).  Just so, the Israelites have an eternal covenant with God, even though they made/make mistakes.  This does not negate the covenant, but it does affect the relationship with God, as well as their quality of life...

(Genesis 17:1-27)  Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him,
“I am God Almighty;
Walk before Me, and be blameless.
“I will establish My covenant between Me and you,
And I will multiply you exceedingly.”
Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying,
As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you,
And you will be the father of a multitude of nations.
“No longer shall your name be called Abram,
But your name shall be Abraham;
For I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.
I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings will come forth from you. I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”
God said further to Abraham, “Now as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. 10 This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you.12 And every male among you who is eight days old shall be circumcised throughout your generations, a servant who is born in the house or who is bought with money from any foreigner, who is not of your descendants. 13 servant who is born in your house or who is bought with your money shall surely be circumcised; thus shall My covenant be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14 But an uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”
15 Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.” 17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old? And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before You!” 19 But God said, “No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. 20 As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him, and will make him fruitful and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 21 But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this season next year.” 22 When He finished talking with him, God went up from Abraham.
23 Then Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all the servants who were born in his house and all who were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s household, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the very same day, as God had said to him. 24 Now Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 26 In the very same day Abraham was circumcised, and Ishmael his son. 27 All the men of his household, who were born in the house or bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.

Today's takeaway:  I kind of said it at the start of this entry, but these verses nicely sum it up...

(Colossians 2:6-15)  Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.  See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 10 and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; 11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.

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