Nov 222015

BCaD week 3

Welcome to week 3 of the #BCaD project. Still going strong, and there’s now a wonderful bunch who are chatting through their thoughts each day on both Twitter and Facebook. It’s a lot of fun, God is moving, and it’s not too late to join in! If you’re wondering what this is all about, head here! I have not stopped blogging about other things, and you can expect to see other stuff here soon, too.

Genesis 15

This is the way covenants are made. Promises made, commitments required, animals cut in two and then God walks between the pieces. What? Why? This is the statement being made: if Abraham (or his offspring) breaks the covenant, they are giving God permission to tear them in two and do to them what has happened to the animals. That’s the agreement. But the amazing thing is that when they do break the covenant (and when we do, again and again) it is GOD who gets broken as He suffers at the cross, Him taking the punishment required by the covenant. Such a powerful picture!

Genesis 16

(First things first, yes this is my first #BCaD post with a typo (‘I’ should be ‘in’). And thank you to the person who pointed this out to me in the most lovely and unsarcastic way. Now then…)

A prime example of someone stepping outside of God’s will. Yet God has promised to bless Abram’s seed, so He will bless them even when it is not the seed He meant. He doesn’t walk away from us, or from the people that are hurt because of us just because it is a mess. He isn’t afraid of mess. He steps into mess and even redeems mess. I find that deeply encouraging, because I know that I am often a mess!

Genesis 17

Circumcision isn’t a covenant of works. It’s always God’s work. And something someone pointed out this week, which I’ll try to word delicately. The covenant to Abraham (not Abram anymore!) is based on offspring, and now the covenant is marked by a weakness being given to the very part of the body through which offspring would be created. It isn’t EVER Israel’s strength, fertility or vigour that will achieve the covenant. It is always and only God. And that is still the same for us.

Genesis 18

Abraham seems to be a little rude, like a child bargaining or demanding things of a parent they have no right to demand. This story has never sat well with me. Maybe that means my view of prayer is a little too tame. How dare I bargain with God, right? Or maybe it’s because Abraham is being a little cheeky and I’m right to react that way. But God is very gracious and responds. The sad thing here, of course, is that however low Abraham and God set their expectations, the people still can’t meet them. And maybe that’s the lesson for us…

Genesis 19

The angry God. God the judge. God the just. This is the God we worship and we mustn’t forget it. What a disgusting place where violence, threats and rape are the welcome Lot and his family receive. And Lot offering to give up his daughters to appease it. It is a total, brutal mess of a picture of how bad we can be. Humanity at it’s absolute worst. And that carries consequences. I choose not to let that get my back up. Instead it sobers me to the seriousness of sin.

Genesis 20

The very thing he did at the outset of his journey with God (in chapter 12) he now does again! Abraham is the one in the wrong, Abimelech is the one who broadly is in the right. And yet we see the covenant is not lifted, and it is Abraham’s prayer to God that leaves Abimelech and his people healed. When Abraham accidentally curses Abimelech, Abimelech is cursed. When Abraham blesses, Abimelech is blessed. God is faithful to His promises to Abraham.

Genesis 21

After all of this soap-opera since the promise was given, the promised son is finally born. A couple of reminders here for me. First, God’s timing is not our timing. Sometimes we must wait, and in the waiting we prove whether we are patient and faithful, or whether we try to achieve ourselves what we really should be letting God achieve for us. Second, it is all God’s grace, His faithfulness to His promise. How does the birth story start: “The LORD dealt with Sarah as he has said, and the LORD did for Sarah as he had promised.” God’s word stands. Trust His promises. They are all true.

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