Day 9

The Abrahamic Covenant

from the Genesis reading plan


Genesis 15:1-21, Genesis 16:1-16, Galatians 3:15-4:7, Hebrews 6:13-20

When my brothers and I were young, our father read to us all of the great Greek myths. It was a nightly ritual. Some families read Brothers Grimm, others preferred Harry Potter or Narnia; but for us, it was Ulysses and the Cyclops, Perseus and Pegasus, Jason and the Argonauts. Whatever the tale, one thing remained fairly clear to me: the gods were not to be trusted. No matter their realm of divine influence, they were frequently subject to fits of rage and envy, strife and jealousy. The gods were not gods because they were good. Far from it. They were the gods because they were powerful.

In that world, striking a deal with the gods was incredibly risky. It might have proved temporarily helpful, but it always came with strings attached or hidden catches. To petition a god was to lay your needs before a divine loan shark. Usually you could get short term help, but eventually someone was coming to collect (and they weren’t planning on asking nicely).

What a stark contrast this strikes with the sort of covenant God established with Abraham. In calling His people through the patriarch, God established a one-sided covenant. No strings attached. No hidden agenda. The entire deal was to benefit the people He loved so dearly. God had nothing to gain, and everything to give.

In the Ancient Near East, covenants between two equal parties were established by cutting several animals in two. The two halves were laid upon either side of a walkway. Both parties would then pass between the animal parts. This was a very serious sort of handshake. In their passing through, the men were announcing, “If I break my word, let what happened to these beasts occur to me.” It was bloody, gritty, and sobering.

The crazy thing about Abraham’s covenant with God is that Abraham never passed through the animal halves. In fact, he observed a manifestation of God sealing the covenant for both parties. Instead of baiting Abraham into a bad deal, God laid the foundation of redemptive history in the most selfless way possible.

It may seem like a simple reminder, but we serve a GOOD God. Not just a powerful God, but a truly good and selfless Creator. Whether you’ve read much mythology or not, you may still think of God in a Greek way: powerful, but not necessarily having your best interest in mind.

Let the story of Abraham challenge those assumptions, even if they’re buried deep down inside. From the beginning, God has set out to take on the risk and responsibility, leaving us with nothing but the reward. The daily grind tends to obscure this reality, but an eternal perspective helps us remember that our fate is not determined by our inability to enact our covenant roles. Rather, the fullness of God covers it all.

We can always cry out for help. We can always admit failure. God’s aid and care comes with no strings attached. His provision is perfect and loving, because He is good.

Written by Andrew Stoddard

Post Comments (14)

14 thoughts on "The Abrahamic Covenant"

  1. Howard K says:

    Unlike me God is selfless and good to the very core which I need to be more like His Son Jesus Christ. God does not require us to pay him back when he provides for us. We just need to be very thankful and love Him with all our heart, soul and mind and also love one another.

  2. Howard K says:

    Man can not be trusted as we can trust God. We can be weak in our trust in God. Man should strive to be more like Jesus Christ and surrender our lives to the one who has saved us from sin. I believe if we can do this we will change the entire world but until we all can figure this out life will always be full of challenges.

  3. Howard K says:

    God keeps His word and by sending His only Son to die for us shows his love for use and that we are eternally saved as long as we believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  4. Howard K says:

    By stopping self doubt and be afraid of life and putting my trust and belief in God that He will take care of me and my family. I really have to believe. Easier said than done and in struggle everyday with this total surrender my life to Jesus idea and funny thing it is should be so easy. God did the hard part my part should be the easy part by thanking Him and loving him and loving one another.

  5. Howard K says:

    God I am truly thankful for all you have done for me and my family. I am sorry that I can be selfish and sinful in my actions and I ask for your forgiveness. I ask that you guide me in the path of righteousness and help me to live by your Will only and not mine. I ask this in your Son’s name Jesus Christ, Amen.

  6. Jeremy Hill says:

    God is loving and trusting.

  7. Jeremy Hill says:

    Man relies on God.

  8. Jeremy Hill says:

    The Gospel story is about God who loves you.

  9. Ricky May says:

    We need to trust more that God has what’s best for us in store and that he keeps the promises he makes. He’s not out to get us.

  10. Ricky May says:

    God spoils us though we are not deserving. And he keeps his promises.

  11. Ricky May says:

    Yet another example of us being totally undeserving of the amazing gifts God gives. So awesome.

  12. Ricky May says:

    Being grateful and working to remember his promises and know that he is not like the Greek gods

  13. Ricky May says:

    Thank you God that you are looking out for me! And that you’re not a jerk like the Greek gods but awesome and loving and looking out for what’s best for your children. Please help me remember this and tell it to others!

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