God called Abram and led him to a land that by faith he and his descendants would possess, but it would be hundreds of years later under Joshua’s leadership before Abram’s descendants actually realized the scope of the land God had given them.
God had promised Abram that He would bless him and his descendents. As with any walk of faith, Abram stumbled on his journey, struggling to believe in a God he couldn’t see. God never promised Abram that “farming” in Canaan would be easy, but that His blessing would be on his efforts and that every place he put his foot down would be his inheritance.
When famine hit and farming got tough, Abram fled to Egypt and presented Sarai as his sister instead of his wife. Even in this major lapse of faith, the blessing still persisted and Abram left Egypt blessed! But he had to go back to where God had met him last – to Bethel (House of God) to start again.
God once again met with Abram and decided to give him an experience that would illustrate once and for all His commitment to him. He used an ancient practice of blood sacrificial covenant to prove His point. He put Abram in the position to rest and receive by placing a deep sleep on him, then proceeded to enact the ritual of covenant.
There are three essential elements to this enactment:
- God initiated the covenant.
- God provided the blood sacrifice.
- God assumed the responsibility for keeping the covenant for both parties. Normally, both parties would be responsible for keeping the covenant in force and if one reneged on this responsibility, it was understood that the fate of the sacrificial animal would be their fate.
On Golgotha, once again God initiated a covenant with man. He initiated this covenant. He provided the blood sacrifice. And, He assumed responsibility for keeping the entirety of the covenant. All we have to do is have faith in the Keeper of the Covenant! All too often, we assume that we have to keep up our end of the covenant and don’t understand that we can’t! It’s not our responsibility – it’s God’s! If we were responsible, our fate would be that of the sacrificial animal in the Old Testament – death!
In Matthew 5, Jesus is teaching the Beatitudes and He begins each with “blessed are…” Because we have entered into a covenant relationship with God, we are blessed just as Abraham was. The meaning of the word used both in Genesis regarding Abram’s blessing and in the Beatitudes denotes something worthy of great celebration.
We have been greatly blessed! We just have to keep placing our foot and taking the territory that God has given us for our inheritance. If we have faltered in our faith in the God of Covenant, let’s return to our spiritual Bethel and reconnect with the faithful God, and move forward to realize the full scope of the inheritance we have been given… WE’RE BLESSED! Let’s celebrate our Covenant keeping God!