Genesis 15: Righteousness and the Blood Covenant

Songdove Books: burning_oil_lamp

As we carry on in Genesis, it is important to remember that everything happening so far is all “pre-law”.  In other words, the interactions, the faith, the belief toward God, the obedience, it was all happening outside the bounds of what we will be introduced to later in the Books of the Law.  As a result, it is important to notice what God considers worthy of being called righteousness.  Remember that righteousness is “right living” and that right living involves not merely where we go, what we do, what we say, what we see and what we hear, but it also involves the state of our heart and mind before God.  We come to this verse:

Genesis 15:6  And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

There are many who will tell you that if you don’t keep all tenets of the Law, that you will miss out on God’s righteousness.  This is preached quite heavily by some who go so far as to say that if you are not keeping the 10 commandments, you will go to hell regardless of your status in the faith.  As already observed in a previous blog post on this subject, Christ completed the Law, and tells us that if we keep the two greatest commandments, we keep the law without even focussing on it.  Therefore, God could say to Abram before the Law was delivered, that his choice to whole-heartedly believe God was counted to Abram as righteousness.  Man looks on the outward appearance but God looks on the heart.  There are times to rightfully judge if a person’s daily life reflects their faith or not.  Christ pointed this out to the disciples.  However if they are keeping the two greatest commandments and if their heart is pure before God, they will hear what God said to Abram just as Abram did.

Songdove Books: burning_oil_lampThen we come to the first recorded moment when God chooses to cut a blood covenant with a human being.

Genesis 15:17-18  And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces.  18  In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:

A blood covenant is the most lasting of any human covenant, as it can only be broken when one of the parties to the covenant dies.  In ancient times, both parties would pass between the pieces of these animals, signifying this lifetime covenant.  If one of those parties died, the other person was released from it and could move on.  But notice in this passage, Abram didn’t get a chance to pass through the pieces.  He was not cutting covenant with God, God was cutting covenant with him!  God never dies!  He always has been and always will be!  His covenant to give Abram the land He showed him, from the borders He described, has not fully come to pass yet.  Many Christians write off Israel based on the lies perpetrated by those trying to drive them out.  Israel has never been a perfect nation, as we will discover going through the pages of Scripture.  But this status as the difficult child has never caused God to disown them.  Scripture says that one day God will bring about all promises related to Israel and her land.  One day, God’s covenant with Abram, now called Abraham, will be completed and brought to fruition.

Until then we are to pray for the nation of Israel, and pray for the peace of Jerusalem, whose maker and builder is God, who was presided over by Melchizedek the High Priest King after whom Christ is ascribed in the book of Hebrews.  If we truly believe that all God’s promises are yes and amen to those who love Him, then we need to remember the promises made to the patriarchs of old and believe that God will follow through on those promises as well.  God keeps ALL His promises!

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