Holy Spirit is reminding us that we must always “remember the Lord our God’s covenant that He commanded for a thousand generations, the covenant that He made with Abraham ~1 Chronicles 16:14-16.
Many may think, that God’s covenant with Abraham was the covenant of circumcision, as given in Genesis 17:10-11, for the Hebrews’ religious practices, practise this rigorously and even Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day.
But the apostle Paul shows us in Romans 4:9-12 that circumcision is only “a seal of the righteousness that Abraham had by faith while he was still uncircumcised ~4:11, and Genesis 17:11 also agrees, that circumcision is merely a sign of God’s covenant.
So, what is this covenant that the Lord our God made with Abraham that king David says, we must remember, and are commanded to remember for a thousand generations?
To find out, we must refer to the very site that the apostle Paul refers to in Romans 4, that is: ~Genesis 15:6 “And Abraham believed the Lord and He counted it to him as righteousness”. For, in this context where the Lord promises Abram a son, the Lord also confirms His promise to Abram for his descendants that they will inherit their lands.
The process where the Lord our God confirms and establishes the covenant He made with Abraham, is simply wonderful and extremely important for our faith.
~1 The Lord instructs Abram to prepare a sacrifice, by preparing five animals and laying them out in order. Some time elapses, as Abraham waits upon the Lord ~15:7-11.
~2 The Lord puts Abram to sleep! A ‘dreadful and deep darkness’ falls upon Abram in his sleep and the Lord speaks to him in his sleep ~15:12-16.
~3 A smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passes through the pieces of the sacrifice that Abram had prepared, and God himself seals the covenant while Abram is still asleep.
How wonderful is that!
There’s all sorts of parallels that can be drawn from the process God used to establish this covenant with us – cp. God commanded that it’s to be observed and remembered for a thousand generations ~1 Chronicles 16:15 – but only one is most important, and that is that God himself sealed the covenant. God took the initiative. God made it, and not man.
No covenant would ever be effective if it was left up to man to establish and maintain it. That very fact – this eternal truth that mankind can never uphold an agreement with God – was proven by God giving us His law, and it was the purpose of the law, to show us that only God can justify anyone. Anyone’s meditaion on Romans 3:19-26 will show us so!
“Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by the works of the law no human being will be justified in His sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it – the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.
“For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as the peacemaking, sacrificial offering through his blood, which offering is to be received by faith.
“This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus ~Romans 3:19-26.
If it is God who justifies you, then no man can condemn you! If it is God who has established His covenant in the blood and body of Christ with you, then no man can take it away from you. Just like the smoking fire pot and flaming tourch of Abram’s ‘dreamtime sleep’, the Lord your God ‘did it all while you were asleep’.
For, “the righteousness of God” is “for all who believe” ~3:22.
There is no longer any distinction between Hebrew believers who practice law and others who do not ~3:22-23, because “all have sinned ..but… are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” ~3:23-24.
The “smoking fire pot and flaming tourch” with which God has cut this covenant for us, is that life of Christ that is offered to us for our justification, for the correction of our wrongs – the perfect Life that was lived in our place and was sacrificed for our sins, but was raised by the Spirit of Holiness in order to give us His virtue and position, not ours but His complete and perfect life, postion and virtue, given to us through our faith in Him.
God did it, while we were asleep!