It’s all about covenant
Did you know the word ‘testament’ as in New and Old is another word for ‘covenant.’ Everything about God goes back to a covenant and too many people do not understand the nature of a covenant. The Bible describes God’s relationship with His people as a covenant relationship. We can go back to the original covenant with Abram:
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household 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,
and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you. ”
When we first look at this covenant, it appears to be God’s promise to Abram and all that He would do for Abram and his descendants, but I want to draw your attention to the very first words that came out of God’s mouth. God tells Abram to leave his country, his people, and his father’s household. Now, there was no facebook, facetime, iphones or ipads. There were galaxies, but God was the maker, not Samsung. When Abram left, he cut them all off. He cut off all of his family, his people. He left his home. He left his heritage. He left his inheritance. He left everything. Would God still have kept His promise to Abram if Abram would have said, “No, I don’t want to go?” The answer to that is simple-NO.
A covenant, unlike a promise, is a two-way agreement. There is a requirement on both parties to uphold their part of the covenant. Abram left his people and God blessed him and protected him. Later, we would understand that Abram leaving everything behind put him in a position where he had to trust the Lord. This is the essence of the covenant. God would eventually give Abram(Abraham) a sign of the covenant which was circumcision which represented a cutting away of the flesh which represented sin or self-reliance.
Covenants were ‘cut’
In those days, covenants were said to be ‘cut.’ This was a reference to the ceremony. Instead of signing a contract as we might do now, they would take animals and cut them in half. Then they would lay half of the animal on one side and the other half of the other animal on the other. With all of the animals sacrificed, cut in pieces, and separated like this, they created a walkway where the two people entering the covenant would walk through the path together. It was a ceremony which stated if either did not uphold their part of the covenant, may they be cut in pieces just as these animals were. Take a look at this ceremony between God and Abram:
9 So the Lord said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon. ”
10 Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half. 11 Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.
12 As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. 13 Then the Lord said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there. 14 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. 15 You, however, will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age. 16 In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”
17 When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. 18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates — 19 the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”
Jesus fulfilled our part
Even though the covenant was between Abram and God, God did not have Abram walk through the path with Him. Instead, God put Abram to sleep, then two things appeared: a smoking firepot and a torch. The KJV translates the torch as a lamp. Lamps represent the church (Revelation 1:20) or us. The firepot was the source of the fire and the torch/lamp/candlestick held the fire. God is the fire and we are the lamps. But also, among the seven lampstands of Revelation representing the churches stood Christ (Revelation 1:12-16). Christ was both God and man.
This is significant because Abram’s part of the covenant was to cut away flesh or sin. This is impossible for us to do. God must do this in us. We must comply and surrender ourselves to Him, but only God can do it. So Abram, on his own, would have been unable to fulfill this covenant. God has a blazing torch or a lamp representing Christ who was God and man to walk through the path with Him, the firepot. Christ would be the man who could fulfill the covenant for all mankind and only through Him can we remain in covenant.
So what did Abram actually do? He gave sacrifices and when the birds tried to steal the sacrifices, he protected them. The reason we give sacrifices and offerings to the Lord is to remind us that God is the source of everything so if we give back to Him, we don’t have to worry. We can trust Him to take care of us anyway. Even today, when we give our offerings to the Lord, it is God’s method to help us remember that God is our source and we can trust Him to take care of us no matter what may happen. This is our part of the covenant-to trust the Lord.
We must protect the sacrifices
Trusting the Lord is about so much more than money. It is trusting His direction for life. It is trusting His wisdom in our decisions, His ways in our relationships, His commands in our self-discipline. It is only through Christ that we remain in the covenant, and we will never be perfect, but we must protect the sacrifices meaning we must always be working to trust the Lord more and more. When we obey the ways of God, it is a sign that we are trusting Him as God. For example, if you on the top floor of a building on fire and the firemen below have a little target they are holding and with a bullhorn, one of them yells, “Jump.” How do you know if you trusted those firemen? Well, you jump. You might be filled with fear and doubt and all kinds of emotions as you jump, but ultimately, your behavior revealed a trust. The same is true with the Lord.
All of Scripture is the Lord teaching us His ways and calling us to this covenant so that if we trust Him, He will fulfill His part. And this brings us to our Verse of the Day. I know that some of you were wondering when I was going to get there. Well, I’m there. Ok. Are you happy now?? 🙂
7 The Lord is good,
a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in him,
Our trust…His help
The Lord rescues us in times of trouble according to our level of trust. The more you trust Him, the more you will see His promises manifest in you. How do we trust? We obey. God’s promised to bless us. This was the original covenant. If you want to be blessed even as you endure times of trouble, learn to trust Him more and more. Trust does not equal prayer. Prayer is helpful, but prayer is not trusting. Trust if found in our behavior just like jumping out of the burning building. If you want to blessed in times of betrayal, God says to forgive 70 times 7 (Matthew 18:21-22). If you want to be blessed, honor the Lord with your wealth (Proverbs 3:9-10). If you want less drama in your life and less trouble, trust the Lord with all your heart (Proverbs 3:5-6). My latest book With All Your Heart goes into great depth of what it means to trust the Lord with all your heart that you might enjoy the full measure of God’s blessing.
Leave me a comment and let me know where you struggle to trust the Lord. I would love to pray for you and with you.
Please keep sharing and forwarding. The Word never returns void (Isaiah 55:11).
And be sure you always Live Blessed and Be a Blessing!
Pastor Lee is a pastor and Biblical life coach. He has been helping people through counseling, pastoring, teaching, and preaching for 20+ years. His ministry focuses on helping people overcome the strongholds of the past and press on into God’s plan for an abundant life. He has been married to his wife, Amy for 28 years. He has three sons and one daughter-in-love. For more about Pastor Lee or to get some Biblical advice, go to the About page.