Erecting a Covenant

“I will erect my covenant between me and between you and between your seed who come after you through their generations as an everlasting covenant—to be God to you and to your seed after you.”

(Genesis 17:7)

Even the language that God uses here denotes the permanent nature of this covenant. He says, “I will erect…” The verb that he uses here denotes the idea of building a castle tower, something strong and permanent that stands for all people to see. In addition, the Hiphil form of this verb is used, which reflects that God is causing something to take place—God is the one erecting this covenant, Abraham has no part in its building (and as we saw in chapter 15, no part in its completion). In addition, the eternal nature of God’s unchangeable purpose (Hebrews 6:17-18) and character (Malachi 3:6) provide this everlasting covenant its absolute permanence.  Because God is, this covenant stands even today despite the wickedness of the heart of man. Friends, that is something to rejoice about.

Notice too, the language about the seed of Abraham. This is a reference to his children and to his children’s children throughout the generations. Some would try and suggest that this language of seed only applies to Jesus, as Paul says that the Seed is Christ (Galatians 3:16). Yet, while the covenant is clearly fulfilled in and by Christ, to see Christ as the only end of this promise is to take the language out of context. God is clearly promising this covenant not only to Abraham, but to his covenant household—hence the sign of the covenant that will be given a little later in this chapter will be placed not only on Abraham and not only on those in Abraham’s household old enough to accept the covenant on their own, but also on their children and infants. Thus, in the New Testament age, we place the covenant sign of baptism on the children of believing parents to indicate that they are part of the blessings of this covenant because of their parents.

Loved ones, cherish God’s covenantal promises to you—he will be God to you and will never abandon you. This promise is more valuable than anything else on the whole of the earth. It is permanent and established in stone and God will never fail to bring it about in your lives. In addition, the covenant is not just about you, but it is about your children and your children’s children after you. Rejoice in that and raise your children up knowing these great promises of God that one day they too may accept them as their own. Sing of the might of our God, for these promises do not rest on the work of men, but upon the character and plan of God. He has established them in stone, confirmed them in blood, and will renew them in your life—day in and day out.

Come, let us use the grace divine, and all with one accord,

In a perpetual covenant join ourselves to Christ the Lord;

Give up ourselves, through Jesus’ power, His Name to glorify;

And promise, in this sacred hour, for God to live and die.

-Charles Wesley

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