"LORD, I PROMISE YOU ..."
Help me as together we focus our minds. I want all to establish a mutual focus by reading
together Genesis 15:7-17.
And He [God] said to him [Abraham], "I am the Lord who brought you out of Ur of the
Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess it." He said, "O Lord God, how may I know that I will
possess it?" So He said to him, "Bring Me a three year old heifer, and a three year old female goat,
and a three year old ram, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon." Then he brought all these to Him
and cut them in two, and laid each half opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds. The birds
of prey came down upon the carcasses, and Abram drove them away. Now when the sun was
going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, terror and great darkness fell upon him.
God said to Abram, "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not
theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. But I will also judge the
nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with many possessions. As for you,
you shall go to your fathers in peace; you will be buried at a good old age. Then in the fourth
generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete." It came about
when the sun had set, that it was very dark, and behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a
flaming torch which passed between these pieces. And on that day the Lord made a covenant with
- The context of the situation:
- The five kings in the area in which Lot lived rebelled against four kings who
controlled the area (Genesis 14).
After that occurred, God came to Abraham in a vision to encourage him.
- The five kings lost the war.
- Not only was their territory plundered, but Lot, his family, and everything he owned
was captured and taken.
- Someone who knew Abraham reported what happened.
- Abraham took his own private fighting force, surprised and defeated the forces of the
four kings, and freed everything and everyone including Lot.
Abraham said, "How are you going to do that, Lord?"
- "Do not be afraid, Abraham."
- "I will protect you and reward you."
God said, "That will not happen."
- "You promised me a son long ago, and I still do not have that son."
- "If I don't have a son, a slave is going to become my heir."
- In the place Abraham lived, a childless man's heir was a slave he chose.
- "You will have a son to be your heir."
- Verse 5 said God had Abraham go outside and look up at the stars.
- He asked Abraham to try to count them.
- Then God promised Abraham's descendants would be as numerous as the stars.
- Abraham believed God, and God made Abraham's trust to be righteousness.
- God said, "I brought your out of your homeland to this place.
- "I give this land to you.
- "One day your descendants will live here."
Abraham asked, "Lord, how do I know you are giving me this land?"
- To make the agreement in a way that Abraham clearly understood, God had
Abraham to prepare for a blood agreement or covenant.
- God gave these instructions to Abraham: "Bring me a three year old heifer, a three year
old female goat, a three year old male sheep, a turtledove, and a young pigeon."
- God wanted Abraham to understand the certainty of His promise, so God had
Abraham prepare for a blood agreement.
- The animals were cut in half, placed so the blood drained downward to form a path
- When such agreements were made, the two making the promise, agreement, or
covenant walked in the blood between the halves of the sacrifices.
- Apparently this act said, "If I do not keep my promise, may I be killed just like
these animal were."
- This was a terrifying occasion for Abraham.
- How can a human swap promises with God?
- God will never fail to keep any promise He makes.
- A human can never keep a promise as God does.
[Song #31 "Be still and know that I am God."]
Read with me again. This time I want to read a New Testament scripture about a covenant that
involves you and me. I now read to you Hebrews 10:26-29.
For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer
remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which
will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on
the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will
deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of
the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?
God said to each of us who are in Christ Jesus, "I promise you that you will live in
heaven with me. Your salvation is as certain as My promise."
- "You cannot save yourself, but I can give you salvation--just like I gave Abraham
Canaan, I give you salvation."
The writer of Hebrews had some things to say to Christians because they entered a
blood agreement with God.
- "This time I bring the blood sacrifice for our agreement, covenant."
- "Just as it was a blood agreement when I gave Abraham Canaan, the agreement I make
with you is a blood agreement."
- "Abraham brought animals for the blood of our agreement.
- "I bring the blood for the agreement I make with you.
- "It is the blood of my Son."
- These Christians were very discouraged and were considering ignoring their blood
agreement with God.
- "You would enter a blood agreement with God and deliberately ignore that agreement
by continuing to sin?
- "If you deliberately keep living like a sinner, the only thing ahead of you is God's fury.
- "You know what happened when an Israelite removed himself from God's mercy.
- "How much worse punishment do you think you will receive if you walk on God's
sacrifice (the body of His Son) and walk through Jesus' blood as if it were just mud?
- "What do you think will happen if you insult God's spirit of grace?"
[Song #176 "Lamb of God" by Twila Paris, 1985]
Read with me a third scripture. This statement is written by the author of Hebrews to those same
Christians. It is very relevant to our blood agreement with God. The scripture is Hebrews
Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a
new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we
have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of
faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure
water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is
faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking
our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the
more as you see the day drawing near.
There are times when I witness a baptism or assist in a baptism that I am very afraid.
- God is not the reason for my fear.
The person entering a blood agreement with God is the reason for my fear.
- I have every confidence in God's love, God's mercy, and God's grace.
- No sin is too difficult for God to forgive.
- No life is too messed up for God to transform.
- No person is too unholy for God to sanctify.
- No wicked life is too black for God to purify.
- God can do and will do what He promised to do.
- When a person gives me reason to think that he or she does not know what he or she is
doing, I am afraid.
- When a person places his or her confidence in their act instead of God's act, I am
- When a person thinks or says, "God is promising everything and I promise nothing," I
- When I see men or women who were immersed into Christ, who made a blood
agreement with God, live and act like that agreement does not exist, I am afraid.
My terror does not come from being scared of God. God's mercy and grace are
dependable. My terror comes from being scared of us. We are not dependable.
Do you, as a Christian, ever ask yourself, "What am I doing? What am I doing here?
What am I doing with these people who care nothing at all for God?"
When Abraham offered the animal sacrifices of Genesis 15, he walked in animal blood.
When you were immersed into Christ, God washed you with the blood of His son. In your everyday life, how often do you ignore your blood agreement with God? Do you exist in that
agreement as you thank God for His mercy and promises?
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Morning Sermon, 10 March 2002
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