Jane’s Blog – The Story, Chapter 2
This past weekend, in Pastor Sean’s message (check it out on podcast if you missed it), we were reminded that God’s ways are not our ways. He often uses those we least expect, including an old couple who were well past child-bearing years named Abraham and Sarah. But with their story I was also reminded of another.
When my husband accepted a new job in San Diego in 1998, I chose to stay in Illinois for the better part of a year. The impetus that finally decided the move for me was ‘covenant.’ I had made a covenant vow when I married my husband, and I knew I could not break it.
In the story of Abraham (Chapter 2 of The Story) we see God making a covenant vow to build a nation. It’s not the first covenant found in Scripture. (It won’t be the last!) In fact, the biblical covenant that appears first is called the Edenic covenant – named for the “covenant of works” that God made with Adam in the garden of Eden. But that covenant provided no method of restoration. When Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they were driven from the garden. To win them back God inaugurated another covenant, this time a “covenant of grace”, by cursing the serpent.
Then comes (you guessed it!) the Noahic Covenant. “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” (Gen. 9:12-13) “Never again will waters become a flood to destroy all life.” (Gen. 9:15)
The Abrahamic Covenant is different. This is a covenant of the flesh (circumcision). It is God’s promise to make Abraham and his descendants his chosen people. “These covenants,” according to the definition of ‘covenant’ in my Holman Bible Dictionary, “provide a unifying principle for understanding the whole of Scripture and define the relationship between God and man…Each new covenant forms a new phase in one overarching divine plan.” In other words, our God is a covenant-making, covenant-keeping God. That’s The Upper Story. God’s story.
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