When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless. And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous.” 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.
In these uncertain times it is more important than ever that we remain rooted in the basic truths of our faith. This reading from Genesis helps us do just that. It tells of God’s covenant with Abraham, one of the most important moments in the Hebrew Bible. God promises to bless Abraham and to make him the ancestor of many nations in this everlasting covenant. It is a pretty extraordinary pledge. God commits to never abandon this promise, no matter how many times the Israelites disobey and turn away. Here at the very beginning of the Bible, we see a sign of God’s abiding faithfulness and God’s promise to be with God’s people always.
This covenant with Abraham reminds us that God is not distant and disinterested in the affairs of our lives but desires to be intimately involved in the reality of our human existence. As Christians we experience this aspect of God most clearly in the mystery of the incarnation, our belief that in Jesus God took human flesh and lived among us. And as we prepare to begin our journey with Jesus through Holy Week, we will again be reminded that Jesus was willing to endure the worst that humanity could offer for our sake.
God will never give up on us or abandon us and promises to be with us always. The one who calls us is faithful (1 Thessalonians 5:24). May we rest today in that faithfulness of God.
‘Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see; All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!’
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