Bible and Theology
The Covenant-Making God
Michael Youssef, Ph.D.
Sep 6, 2019

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After ten years of waiting for God's promises to come true, Abraham needed assurance. He had faith that God would do what He said He would do, but at 85 with no children, it was getting difficult to see how God would make His descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky. Add to that the fact that Abraham and his wife, Sarah, had settled in Canaan at the Lord's calling but had yet to own any of the land God had promised him.

Read Genesis 15. In response to Abraham's questions, God did something that might seem strange to modern readers. He had Abraham bring some animals and birds, and Abraham cut the animals in half. In Abraham's day, a covenant was made based on a ceremony. The two parties making a deal would cut animals like this and arrange them in two lines across from one another. Then the two men would walk between the bloody carcass halves to symbolize that if either man broke the covenant, then what happened to the animals would happen to that man. And look how gracious God is! He came down to Abraham's level, to what was familiar to him, to what Abraham knew happened when people made contracts.

God assured Abraham that He is both a covenant-making and a covenant-keeping God.

But even more amazing, God didn't ask Abraham to walk between the animal parts. God alone passed through the pieces, while Abraham was just sitting tight, trying to keep the wild animals and the birds away from the sacrifice. Not only did God come down to Abraham's level, but God assured Abraham that He is both a covenant-making and a covenant-keeping God. God's promises did not depend on Abraham, but on God alone, so God took on the curse Himself to secure the promised blessing.

The good news is that God's promise to Abraham was met on the cross where Jesus Christ secured our salvation. God's promise does not depend on our obedience, but on Christ's perfect sacrifice. The name of every believer in Jesus Christ is written in the book of life not in ink, but in the indelible blood of Christ Himself. God's love is not dependent on whims and moods. God's love is not limited to a moment of time. God's love for us was always there before we were ever born, before we ever responded to His love. And no matter what we do, His love and promise of love is everlasting.

Prayer: Lord, thank You that You are a promise-making and promise-keeping God of love. Help me to more fully understand the depths of Your sacrifice for me out of that faithful, everlasting love. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram" (Genesis 15:17-18).