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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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A Covenant New Year

2014He remembers his covenant forever, the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations, (Psalm 105:8 ESV)

As we approach the year 2014, many of us wonder what this year will bring. We all have concerns for our jobs, families, health, and security. But, as Christians, how should we manage all these sources of worry?

Often, the primary foundation of our anxiety is spiritual. We have little confidence in our standing and relationship with God. Therefore, we lose hope. Christians often forget or misunderstand the fact that we have a covenant with God.

Let us take a moment to consider our covenant making God. From the beginning, it was God’s plan to create for Himself a people. We see this clearly in God’s relationship with Abraham. God goes to Abraham and establishes a relationship with him; He establishes a covenant.

A covenant is not just a mutual agreement or contract. It is a binding agreement between two parties that can never be broken on pain of death. God’s covenant promise was to redeem His people and to be their shield and great reward.

The Holy Child, whose birth we celebrated last week, brought the fulfillment of God’s covenant promise. God came to redeem His people and fulfill His covenant with Abraham. Therefore our standing with God is established forever through Jesus Christ.

Even in our rebellion and sinfulness, God pursues man. God is not content to simply exist in some corner of the kingdom of heaven; He has not wound the world up like a clock and then walked away. Our God is intensely personal. Paul writes to Timothy, “if we are faithless, he remains faithful – for he cannot deny himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13 ESV)

God’s covenant with Abraham was singularly one-sided. During the time of Abraham, the practice of making a covenant was to take a few animals and cut them in half from head to tail. The halves were then positioned to form a path between them. The two people making the covenant would walk the path between the severed pieces; saying in effect, “If I break this covenant, may my flesh be ripped apart like these animals.”

When God made covenant with Abraham, however, only God walked the path between the split animals. The Bible tells us, “When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire-pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces.” (Genesis 15:17 ESV) Abraham did not walk between the pieces because Abraham was not capable of keeping the terms of the covenant. God made a unilateral covenant. Even if Abraham and his descendants could not keep their side of the covenant, God would keep His.

Christian, this is God’s eternal covenant with you. God is working out His purpose for each of us. Your life has meaning and God rules over it. The Scriptures teach us, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 ESV)

God will make good His promises and fulfill His covenant with us. We should meditate on this throughout the coming year. We serve a God who saved Abraham’s son and, yet, did not save His own Son from the sacrifice of the cross. God has given us an incredible gift and an amazing future through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Samuel at Gilgal

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