(These are excerpts from a recent sermon from Genesis 15.)

Part 3: “Tension in the Covenant”

After delivering the good news (see Part 1 here and Part 2 here), God gave him the bad news: “Abraham, by the way, this covenant of blood, the one you have literally committed your life to —you will not be faithful to me in it.”

     “As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him. Then the Lord said to Abram, ‘Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here for the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.’ ” (vs. 12-16)

God was telling Abraham, “We’re about to make a covenant and sign it with our blood; and, incidentally, you are not going to be faithful to me in this.”

Can’t you just feel the tension building in Abraham here? “Okay, God, this is great. You’ve given me the covenant — I’m going to have a son. I’m going to have many descendants,” he must have thought. “I’m going to have this land, and I’m going to seal this covenant with blood. There is only one problem — I’m not going to be able to keep up my end of the bargain, which means, if I seal it with my blood, it will cost me my life. What am I going to do? I can’t tell God ‘no’ to a covenant He proposed.”

It would almost be like if Bill Gates came to you or me and said, “I want to make you an incredible offer. I want to give you all of Microsoft — all of our holdings, all of our money, all of our copyrights and patents, all of our buildings and campuses, all of our corporate jets — everything! I want you to have it.” That’s a great deal, right?

But then he adds, “There is just one tiny condition. You see, I have spent my life trying to rid the world of disease, so I’m very interested in eliminating germs from the campus of Microsoft. So you can have everything, as long as you promise that you will never sneeze in my buildings.”

That’s impossible! It’s a great offer, but I can’t live up to it.

Abraham had a great offer on the table, but he couldn’t live up to it. What in the world could he do?


(continued in part 4. Check out Part 1 here and Part 2 here.)