Genesis 13:5-15:21; Matthew 5:27-48; Psalm 6:1-10; Proverbs 1:29-33
So much stuck out to me in today’s scripture that it’s hard to narrow down to what I want to focus on in this post. I guess that’s a good problem to have.
Let’s start with what I was most interested in: the Abramic covenant we read about in Genesis 15. There are several covenants in the Bible and the cool thing is, we are going to read about them all! So, keep your eye out. In fact, we have already actually read through a big one, the Noahic covenant (in which God uses a rainbow to mark a covenant between him and all mankind never to again flood the earth. See Genesis 9,10 read on January 4, see post for that day here).
One of the common threads in all these biblical covenants is the sacrifice of animals, blood, and some kind of fire used to make a burnt offering. We saw that as part of the covenant made with Noah in Genesis 9 and we see it here again as part of the covenant made with Abram. From the very beginning of scripture, we see the sacrifice of life and blood as part of the way to enter true relationship with the Almighty God. Sacrifice didn’t just start with Jesus, or even the Israelites, it’s been there from the beginning, set up by God to be a way to enter more fully into relationship with mankind.
Knowing this, as we read through the Bible this year, will serve to make Jesus’ ultimate offering of life and blood that much more meaningful for us. I have included artist Gerald Hoet's 1728 rendering of what this covenant in Genesis 15 might have looked like.
Okay, moving on to the New Testament. I love everything about the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus is giving in Matthew 5. I especially love the way that it highlights how serious Jesus is on sin. Many people, in fact even Christians, today like to make Jesus just this big love guy who really doesn’t care that much about how you live your life as long as you show love and kindness to others. But that isn’t really who Jesus is portrayed as in the Bible. Sure he wants love and kindness, but he is also the one who says, “if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than your whole body to go to hell” (Matt. 5:30). And even more direct in Matthew 5:48, Jesus says, “Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Sin is a big deal to Jesus. Sin is a big deal to God.
So, the big to truths I come out with today are: 1.) God loves to make covenant with his people to be in deeper relationship with them, and 2.) God is serious about sin. And here’s the really good news: that’s the gospel!! Because God is so serious about sin, and because it’s so impossible for us to actually be perfect like our heavenly Father, Jesus is our blood covenant with God to make us sinless and perfect in his eyes so that we can be in right relationship with him!
Repeatedly, scripture will affirm to us this good news, this gospel. I can’t wait to keep reading. How about you?
- Mary Matthias