Thursday, January 08, 2009

Who is the covenant with?

In Genesis 16 Sarai deals harshly with Hagar. Hagar is seen and heard by YHWH. She is also told to go back to her Sarai and submit to her!

In Genesis 17 YHWH declares that the covenant that he has with Abram is that 'every male shall be circumcised' and it is made clear that this includes Ishmael first through the emphasis in vv.12f on how everyone under Abram is to be circumcised, and secondly in vv.24f where we are told that Ishmael was circumcised. However, God also states that the covenant will be established with Isaac vv.18-22 and definitely not with Ishmael.

There is a tension here. After all God is giving the sign of the covenant to those whom he is not going to establish the covenant with and helping the Egyptian servant looks with contempt on his chosen people! God is overflowing in his love and is not the property of Abram. However, Abram and his chosen line is given the pre-eminent rule, and special blessing.

Few things have changed. Abramham's Seed is still the one with whom God establishes his covenant. He is the one to who we should submit, so that we can share in his blessing.

[I ought to read Dumbrell's Covenant and Creation again, because I cannot remember the technical meaning of 'establishing a covenant'.]

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