God’s Covenant with Abram
Gen 15:1 After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”
Gen 15:2 But Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?”
Gen 15:3 And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.”
Gen 15:4 And behold, the word of the LORD came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.”
Gen 15:5 And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
Gen 15:6 And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.
Gen 15:7 And he said to him, “I am the LORD who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.”
Gen 15:8 But he said, “O Lord GOD, how am I to know that I shall possess it?”
Gen 15:9 He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.”
Gen 15:10 And he brought him all these, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other. But he did not cut the birds in half.
Gen 15:12 As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him.
15:17 When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces.
Gen 15:18 On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates,
HOW IS A COVENANT CUT ?
First, several animals were cut in half and arranged along a path. Their purpose was to symbolize the penalty for breaking the covenant. The two men entering into a covenant relationship walked between and around the animal parts in a figure eight. (An eight on its side is the symbol for infinity.) This was to show that they understood and accepted the penalty and that the agreement committed them forever. (When God entered into His covenant with Abraham, promising him an heir and giving him the Promised Land, He was the only one who walked between the animals. This meant that only He was bound to the terms. There was nothing Abraham had to do. In fact, God put him to sleep so he couldn’t participate. The land was given to Abraham and his descendants unconditionally and in perpetuity
God, represented by the smoking oven and the burning torch, passed through the animal parts by Himself; God showed this was a unilateral covenant. Abram never “signed” the covenant, because God “signed” it for both of them.
COVENANT BETWEEN JONATHAN AND DAVID
1Sa 18:3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul.
1Sa 18:4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armour, and even his sword and his bow and his belt.
Each man handed his outer garment to the other, symbolizing that everything belonging to one also belonged to the other.
Robes, cloaks or coats were given or exchanged by the covenanters. A person’s status, position and occupation could often be determined by the clothes that they wore. So, your clothes represented you with all your abilities and skills. In giving your garments, you were saying to your covenant partner: “I give you myself with all my abilities, skills and talents.”
Exchanging belt, sword, bow, and other weapons indicated that each was pledging himself to the other’s defence; placing his power, as it were, at the other’s disposal.
A belt was used to hang your weapons from the belt. The significance of this exchange was giving what your weapons represented to your covenant partner: your protection, strength and support.
BLOOD THAT SEALED THE COVENANT
They each cut themselves in the wrist to make their blood flow and then joined their right hands and forearms together in a gesture from which we get the modern handshake. The idea here was that the blood from one was now mixed with the blood from the other. The two had become one.
When the cut had been made and the covenant partners rubbed their blood together, scars would be made. The scar would usually be on the hand or on the wrist. A substance of colour would be rubbed into the wound. It would welt up and leave a permanent, visible scar. The scar served as a seal and reminder of the covenant – the commitment, promises and obligations. It reminded you and warned others that you were in covenant. Making the scar, you said to your partner: “This visible scar is the seal and an ever-present reminder to all that I am in covenant with you.”
DAVID REMEMBERS HIS COVENANT WITH JONATHAN
2Sa 4:4 Jonathan, the son of Saul, had a son who was crippled in his feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel, and his nurse took him up and fled, and as she fled in her haste, he fell and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth.
David’s Kindness to Mephibosheth
2Sa 9:1 And David said, “Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”
2Sa 9:2 Now there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba, and they called him to David. And the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” And he said, “I am your servant.”
2Sa 9:3 And the king said, “Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God to him?” Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in his feet.”
2Sa 9:4 The king said to him, “Where is he?” And Ziba said to the king, “He is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar.”
2Sa 9:5 Then King David sent and brought him from the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar.
2Sa 9:6 And Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and paid homage. And David said, “Mephibosheth!” And he answered, “Behold, I am your servant.”
2Sa 9:7 And David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always.”
2Sa 9:8 And he paid homage and said, “What is your servant, that you should show regard for a dead dog such as I?”
2Sa 9:9 Then the king called Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said to him, “All that belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master’s grandson.
2Sa 9:10 And you and your sons and your servants shall till the land for him and shall bring in the produce, that your master’s grandson may have bread to eat. But Mephibosheth your master’s grandson shall always eat at my table.” Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.
2Sa 9:11 Then Ziba said to the king, “According to all that my lord the king commands his servant, so will your servant do.” So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table, like one of the king’s sons.
2Sa 9:12 And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Mica. And all who lived in Ziba’s house became Mephibosheth’s servants.
2Sa 9:13 So Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he ate always at the king’s table. Now he was lame in both his feet.
NEW TESTAMENT PROMISE
Heb 6:13 When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself,
Heb 6:14 saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.”
Heb 6:15 And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.
Heb 6:16 Men swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument.
Heb 6:17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath.
Heb 6:18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged.
Heb 6:19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain.
Heb 6:20 where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.
The Bible recognised blood as the life principle long before it was scientifically proved to be (LEV 17:11-14; DEUT 12:23; 2 SAM 23:14-17 [MES]). In entering into a blood covenant, the two parties became one in sharing one covenant life. In the blood covenant, the shedding of blood does not just signify death as such, but it suggests giving life!
Heb 13:20 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant,
In a sense, the Father walked through the broken and bloody body of Jesus to establish His covenant with us, and God signed it for both of us. We enter into the covenant by faith; we don’t make the covenant with God.
God cut covenant with Himself through Jesus. It is the work of Jesus that saves and keeps us, not our works. The covenant is based on God’s good character and actions, not our so-called good works.
Heb 8:6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by so much He is also the Mediator of a better covenant, which was built upon better promises.
Heb 9:14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
Heb 9:15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.
Heb 9:16 For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established.
Heb 9:17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive.
Heb 9:18 Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood.
Heb 7:25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.