A COVENANT WITH GODPublished by admin on Tue, 10/23/2018 - 18:57
A COVENANT WITH GOD
Part 3 of "Why Christians Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles"
By: David Pawson
“Now the Lord had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’” (Genesis 12:1 - 4)
What does the above passage from Genesis tell us about the Lord?
It captures a key moment in the history of the human race; the beginning of God’s rescue of the human race from itself. The conversation was not two-way; God did all the talking, as He is a God who speaks! The universe came into being when God spoke it into being. We can rejoice that our God is a God who talks, who speaks, who communicates with us. Abram was a man who listened, which is the other side of communication. You only hear God if you’re listening.
Another thing this passage tells us is that God has a name. The name given here in Hebrew is the letters Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey, which in English is spelled “Jehovah,” but is often pronounced “Yahweh”. The significance of that name is this: It distinguishes our God from every other one who ever existed. He has a name, just as our name distinguishes us as unique from everyone else.
God is a commanding God. He has a right to command, because He created us. He makes our laws and has full right to tell us what to do and how to live.
He is a God of history. Only a God who can control history can promise to make a great nation out of someone, give them a great name, and then keep that promise, which He has done! Today, everyone knows the name Israel.
God is a God who blesses people; to do them good, make provision for their needs, protect them when attacked and bless them. He promised to bless Abram, and bless everyone else through him. That is a big promise, but our God is a God who delights in blessing his people.
But there is also a downside to it: God is also a God who curses people. Some people think this only applies to the Old Testament, but it carries right through the New Testament, too. Modern man does not like this and wants a God who only blesses, but God will curse those who disobey Him.
He is the Father of Israel who says, ‘What you do to my children, you do to Me – and I will do to you.’ Cursing is to speak harmfully about people, to damn them for the future. It’s a true fact of history that every nation, every empire, which has risen up against this little land of Israel, has in turn been cursed by God.
God is a very patient God. His covenant with Abram took hundreds of years to work out. In fact, with roughly half the Jewish people still living outside the Land of Israel today, God has a lot of work left to do to bring them back and give them what He promised. But He is patient and will be faithful to complete it. Time is relative to Him, and He is an Eternal God.
Finally, He is a caring God. His concern is for all the people He has made; not just for Abram, but for “all the families of the earth.” His plan involves EVERYONE, but it will reach them through Abraham and his descendants, and those like ourselves who look to him as our Father. God cares about the people He has created, and He wants to bless them too, through Abraham’s family!
Jesus was, is and always will be a Jew. My Bible is full of Jewish writing, so everything I value most I owe to the Jewish People. And this applies to every nation of the world; until the nations swallow their pride and bless the nation of Israel, they will not know the truth, nor have salvation.
God chose one nation, not just for their sake, but for the sake of everyone. God made this covenant with Abraham, which opened up benefits in which we all can enjoy.
We hope that as you reflect on the character of God and the covenant He made with Abraham, you will be able to enjoy this Feast of Tabernacles in a whole new way!