The word “covenantal” simply describes this idea found here: that God said to Abraham, “I will be your God and you will be my people.” That was the covenant that God made with him. This covenantal relationship meant that Abraham (and his family) would be set apart from the rest of the world. It also means that Abraham would, in a manner of speaking, be a partner with God – a co-worker or co-laborer with God.
Additionally, God promised, as part of the covenant, that he would pour out blessing upon Abraham for his faithfulness. Listen to these verses…
Genesis 12:2-3 - “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. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
Genesis 17:6 – I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you.
And then, in the verse right before our verse, God reiterated his promise to Abraham…
Genesis 18:18 – Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.
You see, it was through Abraham and his descendants that the Messiah would come – the Lord Jesus Christ. The whole world would indeed be blessed through Abraham.
Another aspect that we need to understand about Abraham’s relationship with God… is that Abraham actually becomes God’s friend. His friend! That’s amazing! The God of all the universe – the sovereign God of heaven and earth stoops to call a mere (and sinful) mortal his “friend.”
2 Chronicles 20:7 – O our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?
James 2:23 – And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.
What I want us to see this morning is how this interaction and relationship between God and Abraham provides us with a picture of how God works with us. You see, the way God treated Abraham is also the way God is with us. We love God because… why? Because we’re so smart? Because we’re so righteous? Or, because God first loved us? That’s the answer. God’s love is always previous to anything we do. He’s the One who first wants a relationship with us and who calls to us through his Holy Spirit to enter into that relationship.
I wonder… Do you have a personal relationship with God? One thing fathers (and all of us for that matter) can learn from this is that God is calling us to be in this same kind of relationship with him too. More than that, God calls us friends. Listen to these words from our Lord Jesus…
John 15:15 – I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
Because Abraham was God’s friend, God let him in on his business. He told Abraham what was about to happen to Sodom and Gomorrah. Well, Jesus says that because we – as his disciples – are his friends, he has let us in on our Father’s business.
Are you God’s friend? If you have, by grace, responded to God through faith in his Son Jesus Christ, then God declares that you are his child, his heir, and his friend.
Stay tuned for Part 3 of "Passing the Baton of Faith."
Grace and Truth,