Monday, December 14, 2009

God is Faithful

My salvation starts and ends with the faithfulness of God. It isn't dependant on what I do or say, but it is dependant on what God says and does.

I was reminded of this truth as I reflected on Genesis 15. This is a chapter that is often overlooked, but I believe is so essential in having a proper understanding of God.

What we have in Genesis 15 is God providing Abraham with greater detail to the promise God made to Abraham in Genesis 12, that through Abraham's family God would bless the entire world.

In Genesis 15 God promises Abraham that he would be a great nation, a nation who God will use. The Bible tells us that Abraham believed God's promise, and because of his faith God counted Abraham as righteous.

The narrative then takes a strange turn. God has Abraham get some animals, and then instructs Abraham to cut the animals in half. Through this ancient ritual God establishes a covenant with Abraham. In a covenant both parties have certain responsibilities they are to perform, and to demonstrate their commitment to the covenant they would walk between the halves. By this they would basically be saying, "If I don't fulfill my responsibility may I be cut in two."

Here is the strange thing that happens in Genesis 15, God shows up in a vision of a torch and a fire pot and passes through the halves twice. Abraham doesn't walk between the halves! What God told Abraham by doing this, is that He would be responsible for both parts of the covenant. God would be faithful for His part, and He would be responsible for Abraham's (and his descendants) part.

Flash forward to Jesus, a descendant of Abraham, who is faithful in His obedience to the Law. Jesus' faithfulness and obedience fulfills the conditions of the Law, and yet, because of the unfaithfulness of Israel the curse of the covenant still had to be met, and so God in the flesh, took the curse, and went to His death.

Yes, this is just a very basic sketch of God's faithfulness, but hopefully it reminds us that God is committed to His promise to bless the world through Abraham. Which is Good News because if it depended on us then it would fail. We have hope, not because of our faith, but because of God's faithfulness. It is there that we must anchor our lives.

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