Who knows what a promise is? What do you do what you make a promise? Do you shake hands on it? Do you do a pinky-promise? Do you spit?
When you hear someone say, “I promise,” what comes to mind? Do you sigh in relief or prepare to be disappointed? Your reaction most likely comes from your past—good or bad.
The truth is, people will sometimes let us down, but God is always dependable. He can be trusted. Our heavenly Father is always faithful to keep His promises.
God is a Covenant-making, Promise-keeping God!
2. LESSON: The Abrahamic Covenant
a. What is a Covenant?
God is a covenant-making God:
He makes promises with His people, and He keeps them!
A Covenant is:
More than a contract
2 parties/people becoming 1 (e.g. marriage)
What’s mine is yours; what’s yours is mine
Someone hurt you = someone hurting me
For life; till death do us part
Usually signed by blood or exchange of personal belongings (e.g. wedding rings)
Penalty for breaking covenant = death
There are 3 major covenants in the Bible:
Mosaic (Old) Covenant
New Covenant (like the name of our church, tNCC)
Today we will look at the covenant God made with Abraham
b. God made a covenant with Abraham (Gen 12, 15)
God had a special friend. His name was Abraham.
God loved Abraham very much and wanted to promise him many good things:
A Promised Land to call home
Abraham’s family will be a great nation
Abraham’s seed/descendent will bless all families of the world
God told Abraham not to be afraid because God was always with Him. “I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” (Gen 15:1). God is our protection and source of blessings.
All these were awesome promises! But there was only 1 problem … Abraham was already an old man (75 yrs old!) but he didn’t have any children! How was he to become a great nation?
God showed Abraham the stars in the skies. So many stars! Have you ever tried counting the stars? Impossible right? God told Abraham that he will have as many descendants as the number of stars in the sky.
Still Abraham wanted proof! “Lord God, how shall I know that I will inherit it?”
So God decided to cut a covenant with Abraham as a guarantee of His promise.
He asked Abraham to bring a:
3-year-old female goat
Abraham brought all these animals and cut them into 2 and placed them opposite each other.
The meaning? “If any of us break this covenant, we will end up like these animals … dead and split into 2.” That’s how serious a covenant was!
Abraham thought he was going to make the covenant with God. Quite scary right? If he broke his part of the covenant, he’d die like those animals!
But God, in His grace and mercy, put Abraham into deep sleep.
While Abraham slept, God walked through the animal parts all by Himself in the form of a smoking oven and a burning torch!
God was BOTH parties in this covenant. God cut the covenant to show Abraham how serious His promise was. He had promised Abraham a land, a great family nation and a Seed that will bless the whole world.
Abraham had no part to play in making or keeping it; he was just the beneficiary!
This covenant cannot fail because God cannot fail! Isn’t God amazing?
c. Abrahamic Covenant a picture of the New Covenant today
On the cross, Jesus’ death was the final fulfilment of God’s covenant with Abraham — the Seed that will bless the whole world.
On the cross, Jesus’ death was also the start of the New Covenant.
Jesus’ body was broken and bloody just like the animals.
God the Father walked through the broken and bloody body of Jesus to cut the New Covenant with us.
We had no part to play in making the New Covenant or keeping it. Hence we cannot break a covenant we didn’t cut.
We become part of the New Covenant by faith in Christ. We are just the beneficiary of the New Covenant!
This New Covenant also cannot fail because God cannot fail. Isn’t God amazing?
3. ACTIVITY SUGGESTIONS
Memory Verse Activity: Gen 15:1“I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”