There are plenty of examples of covenants of commitments, and while we will not go into all of them in this book, we will pick out examples that show the greatest traits and attributes that project the best lessons that we could take and apply in our lives.
First and most familiar is the covenant of God to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They are known as the patriarchs of Israel – the forefathers and first fathers, if you will. It started when the Lord called Abraham, then Abram, out to leave where he was and go where God was showing him:
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s family. Go to the land I will show you.
2 “I will make you into a great nation.
And I will bless you.
I will make your name great.
You will be a blessing to others.
3 I will bless those who bless you.
I will put a curse on anyone who puts a curse on you.
All nations on earth
will be blessed because of you.”
4 So Abram went, just as the Lord had told him. Lot went with him. Abram was 75 years old when he left Harran. 5 He took his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot. They took all the people and possessions they had acquired in Harran. They started out for the land of Canaan. And they arrived there.
6 Abram traveled through the land. He went as far as the large tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were living in the land. 7 The Lord appeared to Abram at Shechem. He said, “I will give this land to your family who comes after you.” So Abram built an altar there to honor the Lord, who had appeared to him. (Genesis 12:1-7)
After the instruction came the promise. And usually when God gives us a promise, it comes with something He wants us to do. Herein enters the commitment. As the Lord commits to do what He has promised, we must also commit to do what He is asking of us.
As the Lord commits to do what He has promised, we must also commit to do what He is asking of us.
The changing of name from Abram to Abraham is also an act of the covenant. Abram means father of one nation, while Abraham means father of many nations. The time in which this transition happened to Abraham is also an affirmation of the promise. And as always with God, there’s more:
When Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to him. He said, “I am the Mighty God. Walk faithfully with me. Live in a way that pleases me. 2 I will now act on my covenant between me and you. I will greatly increase the number of your children after you.”
3 Abram fell with his face to the ground. God said to him,
4 “This is my covenant with you. You will be the father of many nations.
5 You will not be called Abram anymore. Your name will be Abraham, because I have made you a father of many nations.
6 I will greatly increase the number of your children after you. Nations and kings will come from you.
7 I will make my covenant with you last forever. It will be between me and you and your family after you for all time to come. I will be your God. And I will be the God of all your family after you.
8 You are now living in Canaan as an outsider. But I will give you the whole land of Canaan. You will own it forever and so will all your family after you. And I will be their God.”
9 Then God said to Abraham, “You must keep my covenant. You and your family after you must keep it for all time to come.
10 Here is my covenant that you and your family after you must keep. You and every male among you must be circumcised.
11 That will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.
12 It must be done for all time to come. Every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised. That includes those who are born into your own family or outside it. It also includes those bought with money from a stranger.
13 So any male born into your family or bought with your money must be circumcised. My covenant will last forever. Your body will have the mark of my covenant on it.
14 Any male who has not been circumcised will be separated from his people. He has broken my covenant.” (Genesis 17:1-14)
When the Lord said then that the covenant will last forever, it was true, as here we are millenniums later and the covenant is still intact.
Here was when the Lord showed Abraham the fullness of the plans He had for him. When the Lord said then that the covenant will last forever, it was true, as here we are millenniums later and the covenant is still intact, with Abraham being recognized as the father of the Jews in modern times.
Canaan did go on to become his and his descendants, but as mentioned, the covenant with God was two-way and Abraham had something to do. In this case, it was the circumcision of the males. And as the Lord asked Abraham to keep it for all time, so he did. We still find this practice today in many cultures, not just necessarily in the Jewish customs.
When the Lord makes a commitment, He means it, and He means it for all generations to come.
When the Lord makes a commitment, He means it, and He means it for all generations to come. When He says that the covenant is for a thousand generations, we can trust that it truly is for a thousand generations. If He says that it is for this certain lineage and family, we better believe that up to this day there is favor among the ascendants of these people.
The amazing thing about the covenants of God is that they are not just for us, but they are also for the generations after us. It creates an opportunity to have discussions and conversations with the Lord about the possibilities that the future holds. It gives us an avenue, of sorts, to invent what is to come as long as we remain true to the covenant that we have made with the Lord.
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