Listen to Episode #60 of Moments with Moni
At the end of our last story, The Abrahamic Covenant Part One, Abram and Sarai had taken matters into their own hands and used Sarai’s maidservant to be a surrogate mother so the two could “fulfill God’s promise to them." After all, they thought they were getting too old for something like this and it was the custom of the time to have a child this way if you were unable to have them. Surely God would bless our efforts.
After Hagar returned with Ishmael from running away because of being treated harshly, she submitted herself to Sarai once again.
At this time Abram was 86 years old.
Have you ever run ahead of God and done things for Him rather than waiting for Him to do what He had promised? One verse, and four years later, God reappears to Abram and says, I am the Almighty God, walk uprightly before me. And I will make my Covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.
Abram fell on his face and listened to God reiterate what He had promised to Abram. Sometimes we need to hear the promises of God repeated, and God is always good to do just that, when we stop and listen.
This Covenant is between God and Abram
This is my covenant with you Abraham, and with your descendants and this will be the sign of the covenant. You and every man child among you are to be circumcised as a sign of this covenant, your children by birth and those that are bought or servants. Signs were an important part of a covenant.
Ephesians 2:10-13, explains more about how the Jews and the Gentiles were reconciled through Jesus during New Testament times. This is another reason to see that the New and the Old Testaments work together and cannot be separated if we are to see God’s plan clearly.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. So remember you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands) remember that when you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the “covenants of the promise”, without hope and without God in the world.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Circumcision today is of the heart. And that will be made more clear when we get to the New Covenant.
Back to Sarai:
As for your wife, her name will also be changed from “Sarai, to Sarah” Matthew Henry’s comments on the name change confers a sense of changing from “my princess, to princess of multitudes,” signifying that the Messiah, the prince, even the Prince of the Kings of the Earth were to come from her. God continues to tell Abraham.
But then Abraham brings up the other son who he has come to love, and inquires of God, Oh that Ishmael might live or be declared by You.
But God replies, No for Sarah:
God continues to speak to Abraham: But, My covenant with you I will establish with Isaac, which Sarah will bear to you at this time next year.
When God was finished speaking with Abraham, that very same day, Abraham, those born in his house, and those who were bought, were circumcised.
Now being reminded of the promises, the eternal, unconditional Covenant with God, Abraham was instantly obedient in all things that God had told him.
And it came to pass just as God had said. Abraham and Sarah gave birth to a child and named him Issac, and when the child was eight days old, the circumcision took place, the symbol to remind them of the covenant with each new generation.
When little Issac was weaned, some scholars say three some say up to five years old, Abraham made a feast to celebrate. During this time Sarah was an eye witness to Ishmael mocking Issac.
It looks as if Hagar and Ishmael were welcome to remain until this point. It was Sarah who went to Abraham and said, Cast out this bondwoman, and HER son for the son of this servant will not be heir with MY son Issac.
This grieved Abraham, for he had become attached to his son of the the flesh, Ishmael. Ishamel may have been Isaac’s buddy and school mate, but he was not a fellow heir to the inheritance.
God told Abraham not to grieve over Ishmael, listen to your wife, and put him away, for I will make of Ishmael a nation, because he is your seed.
As Matthew Henry shares in his Commentary on this passage:
“If Hagar and Ishamel had conducted themselves well in Abraham’s family, they might have continued there but they threw themselves out by their own pride and insolence, and were justly chastised.”
Again we see an opportunity to have obeyed God in the things He tells us, or to walk in our own ways. We were made in the Image of God. While here on earth we have and earth suit, this flesh that covers the real us, the spirit within. There will always be a struggle between the flesh and the spirit for control.
Are you lost? I was the first time I heard all these things. It took me awhile to connect the dots of all this History and prophecy which is still History and some is yet prophecy.
This account of History was not a written account by Abraham, but God had Moses write it down many years later. Early tradition of passing down historical accounts was through story telling in most cultures, just as we still do in our our family today. It usually goes somewhat like, “Omi, tell me a story about when Grandpapa was little.” Which means those glorious little grandchildren want to hear those funny stories about Grandpapa, and then they go to him to find out those tales of old about me, which after many tellings becomes exhagerated for the fun of it.
The difference between our family stories, which, reminder to myself, I must write down the actual details to pass them on correctly, and the stories that Moses wrote down in the Pentatuch, the first five stories of the Bible, is that Moses was guided by the Holy Spirit with information from God.
So Moses has given us an accurate account of:
Hagar & Ishamael and Sarai & Issac were also an allegorical way of explaining the flesh and the spirit. The Apostle Paul explained this in the letter he wrote to the Galatians. Paul marveled at how the Galatians who have now tasted of grace, are now placing them selves back under the law. Paul really gets his point across when he shares….Oh foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that you should not obey the truth when some of you saw with your own eyes the crucifixion of Jesus Christ!
They obviously understood the gospel at one time, but were now confused by it so he reminds them of the covenant with Abraham once more, in how God rejects the works of the flesh. This letter to the Galatians was written around AD 54, and credits the Covenant even though it was established 430 years before the law, shows us the promise of this Covenant was still in effect.
Paul asks the Galatians, why would you want to put yourself back under the old ways, the law, when the perfect has come and He is the better, the BEST way?
Do you not remember what was written, that Abraham had two sons? One son was by a servant woman and was born according to the flesh, and the other son to a free woman born into the promise.
My Thomas Nelson Bible Foot note for Galatians 4:25 explains this well and leads us into the next Covenant on our List.
Hagar is Mount Sinai means, Hagar stands for MT Sinai, Hagar corresponds to the then current Jerusalem or Judisam. Paul views Hagar and Judiasim in the same way, for as Hagar and her offspring were in social bondage, so Judiasim and her adherents were in spiritual slavery to the law. Christianity is represented by Jerualsem which is above, that heavenly city. The Christian community is described as being free, that is not under the law.
For those that are free in Christ, are free indeed!
I have already mentioned the Sign of the Covenant, but there was also the exchanging of names. God took on the Covenant Names, “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob and the God of Israel. It’s just like being part of a family isn’t it?
We can see the lineage of the Covenant here.
I remember my dad telling us, you are part of this family and I expect you to represent us well.
How are we representing our heavenly Father?
Are we acting as ambassadors for His Kingdom and sharing the truth “unveiled” if we know it already? How are we using the time and the gifts and the talents that our Father has given us?
Have we taken the time to learn about our family history?
I know I have searched through the Ancestry accounts to look for anyone in my family tree that I may have missed, but now I am looking forward to meeting the Head of the Family, and the One who makes it possible for me to get there one day.
I have take on his name, Christian, and He one day will give me a new name when
I arrive in the Heavenly realm to see my Savior face to face! What a glorious day that will be. No more sorrow, no more pain, no more tears, and no more shame. I will bow at His feet and place the crowns that He gives me at His feet for it is only by His grace that I will be there.
And after the Ancestral view let’s take a look at the history page.
Have we been studying the Historical accounts of our biblical families roots?
A quick re-cap gives us a look into what God has been doing on our behalf.
In Genesis God created humanity who rebelled and yet God chose Adam, then Noah, and then Abraham, through which God would bless all the nations through his family. However this family will end up in slavery in Egypt.
As we follow the Covenant with Abraham to it’s future end, we that Abrahams benefactors, the beneficiaries of the promise to his physical seed, receive the real Promised Land.
There are a few more Covenants in-between the here of Abrahams’ Covenant and the now of today. The Covenant points to History’s end for it’s ultimate fulfillment, as the promise of the land was given to Abram, then to Issac, then to Jacob, and future generations. Israel became a Nation about a Millenium after Abraham’s day, about 1,000 BC during the time of David. Then Israel was overrun by the Assyrian Nation, and Israel was deported and and resettled outside of Caanan. The Jewish State of Israel was re-established in 1948. Between 586 BC and 1948 AD no Jewish state existed. But even in the darkest part of Israel's History, they looked forward to the fullfillment of God’s promise.
Are you familiar with Isaiah chapter 9? It is read many times at Christmas for it speaks of the Birth of the Savior of the Nation of Israel and they are still looking forward to that day. A day when their Savior is born and will grow to rule and reign on the earth. Israel missed the boat first when Noah left without them, and then again, when they rejected this Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, this Prince of Peace that came to rescue them once more, but they sent Jesus to the cross to be crucified instead. There were more prophecies through Jeremiah and Ezekiel Of the same manner.
The entire land that was granted to Abraham and his descendants has never been occupied by the ancient Israeilites or the modern Jewish people. The Covenant and the promise of the land has yet to be fulfilled. However, after walking through these few Covenants already, we know that God keeps His word and that He loves us, and that we can trust Him. We know this is a Covenant of grace, that it invites a response of faith, it implies God’s Sovereignty and that it foreshadows the work of Jesus Christ.
We know that this covers the Jewish people, the descendants of Abraham but if we are not physical descendants of Abraham, where does that leave us?
Well, I don’t want to spoil the ending, but time is of the essence in these last days of this Church Age. So let’s take a side tour of Hebrews Chapter 11 where we read....
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. For by faith the elders, those that have gone on before us, have obtained a good report. It’s by FAITH that we understand that the world was made just by God speaking it into existence. By FAITH we understand The ages which were prepared are now visible.
The Chapter goes on to tell of the History from beginning of time and many Old Testament saints that by FAITH did what God asked of them as they looked forward to and believed in the promises, the Covenant promises of God. These all died, not having received these promises, but died in faith, seeing the fulfilment of these promises in their future, and the future country, a heavenly country that God has prepared for them.
Since we have such a great cloud of witnesses that have gone on before us, that have been our examples, LET US, look to Jesus, the originator and perfector of our FAITH. Because WE, those who look to Him in FAITH, are the JOY that was on his heart as He went forward to perfect and fullfill the covenants once and for all so that those who TRUST in the finished work of Jesus can join Him in our forever Home with Him and while we are still here, lead and point others to that heavenly country as well.
And let’s finish with these words from Paul that focus on the spiritual account after reading the ancestral and historical accounts.
“Paul says that the Galatians must choose between their slavish observance of outward ritual and a simple faith in the finished work of Jesus; and exhorts them to cast out Hagar and Ishmael, which savor of the flesh, and to give themselves to the service of the Spirit, which stands for freedom, peace and joy in God. Let us also guard against a religious subservience to the outward, and cultivate a quick sensitiveness to the Holy Spirit.
There is much more to the story and it’s difficult to give you a reader’s digest version, so make time to read the Bible, God’s love letter to you, for yourself until we meet again to take a look at the Mosaic Covenant.
If you have any questions or comments, you can join us in the the Moments with Moni Community Group to continue the conversation.