Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you, and to your offspring after you, the land where you are now an alien, all the land of Canaan, for a perpetual holding; and I will be their God.”
God said to Abraham, “As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations.”
Seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his presence continually.
Remember the wonderful works he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he has uttered,
O offspring of his servant Abraham,
children of Jacob, his chosen ones.
He is the Lord our God;
his judgments are in all the earth.
He is mindful of his covenant forever,
of the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations,
the covenant that he made with Abraham,
his sworn promise to Isaac,
Very truly, I tell you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.” The Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, and so did the prophets; yet you say, ‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’ Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets also died. Who do you claim to be?” Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, he of whom you say, ‘He is our God,’ though you do not know him. But I know him; if I would say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know him and I keep his word. Your ancestor Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day; he saw it and was glad.” Then the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.” So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.
It is an amazing thing that anyone could hear the words of Jesus, promising eternal life, and desire to kill him. But yet, we look to destroy Jesus, or his words, or the life that he has given us all the time. Through Abraham, God has given us a wonderful promise: that he will be our God, and we will be his people. To be his people, he gives us laws that keep us safe and directed on the road to relationship with him. To keep his law is to love him. Every time we fail to love him, every time we reject his laws, we take ourselves out from underneath his protective hand. And our God loves his people. He does not want to see us hurt by our turning away from him. Even when we break the covenant, he remains faithful. Even when we throw stones, he still promises eternal life when we return to him.
It is a wonderful thing that we have a God who speaks to us so plainly. He is a God that does not accuse, nor does he demoralize, but he does not sugarcoat his speech. He tells us when we are in error. To the Pharisees, he tells them that they are lying about their relationship with God. To each of us, he points out every day the things that get in our way with our relationship with him. Let us follow the urging of the psalmist and seek the Lord and his strength. Let us seek his presence today and honestly listen in our hearts for what the Lord urges from us today. All he wants is us. He simply wants our hearts and our dedication. Let us pledge ourselves to him again and surrender more of our hearts. Then we keep him as our God, and then we let him keep us as his people.
Prayer: O Lord, help me turn to you more and more each day. As I seek your presence, fill me with the joy of your Spirit. Show me the ways that I put obstacles between us and give me the grace to repent of these things. Thank you for your kindness and compassion. Thank you for your mercy that is ever new. Amen.