Genesis 12-15: Calls and Covenants

Back in Genesis.  Back to regular, narrative pros.  The one thing about reading the Bible chronologically that I hope you will come enjoy is the switch that occurs between poetry and pros as we move through, especially as Psalms and Proverbs begin to enter into the mix through Samuel, Chronicles and Kings.  It can provide a welcome change of rhythm as you read.  But for now, we are entering into a longer section of narrative as we work through the rest of Genesis, then Exodus through to Ruth.  This is the story of a family, a family that eventually becomes a nation.  And it is a story with a tonne of ups and downs, a tonne of triumph and tragedy, a tonne of  success and failure.  Most importantly, it is the story of God’s interaction with humanity, the story of God’s redemptive plan.  Consider asking yourself the question: does Jesus show up in this passage of scripture? as you read.  I’ve included it in the questions below.  The pre-incarnate Christ does show up in the Old Testament, arguably in the person of the “Angel of the Lord”.  Remember that He is present prior to his incarnation!  He certainly shows up in prophesy, and in

As for today’s reading, it continues two Biblical concepts that are important to pay attention to as we continue this journey together; the concepts of call and covenant.   These first show up with the story of Noah, and they continue with Abraham.  God calls people specifically, in certain times, in certain places and in certain circumstances, to accomplish his will on earth.  It is a certainty that none of us are born by accident into the times and places that we live in.  It is also not an accident that God calls people to specific tasks at specific times.  As we move forward into the story of Israel as a nation, this becomes more and more apparent as more and more people hear God’s call.

Secondly, the concept of covenant becomes very strong.  A covenant is a sworn agreement between two people that defines what they will do, who they will be and how they will act.  A covenant is an active agreement that is specific.  When I say active, I mean that it defines character, it defines action, and often requires specific behaviour or character.  Often times, a covenant made by God contains within it blessings and consequences (called curses in the Bible) for keeping or breaking the agreement.

Both of these concepts are rich and blessed things all through scripture.  They show us that God is interested in humanity, both in the broad-strokes, but also in us as individuals.  The covenant that God makes with Abraham in Genesis 12, 15 and 17 is a great example of this.  It speaks to Abraham specifically, it speaks to the nation that God will birth through Abraham, but it also speaks to humanity at large and the blessing that will come to the whole earth through Abraham.

  • What was familiar from this passage of scripture?  What was something I already knew?
  •  What was new from this piece of scripture?  What was something that really stood out for me that I have never paid attention to before?
  • Does Jesus appear in this passage of scripture?
  •  How does this passage apply to my life, here and now?  Do I need to do anything about it?
  •  What prayer would I offer up to God after reading this piece of scripture?

Tomorrow’s Reading: Genesis 16-18

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