Covenant of Faith
I commuted from the Muncie, Indiana, area to Dayton, Ohio, to seminary. Two classmates and I drove together. The trip was about an hour and a half each way, and we usually made three trips a week. We were all three student pastors and grew to be great friends.
The trips were often uneventful. One of the guys usually slept in the back seat when it was not his turn to drive. One time we got stopped for speeding, and the driver received a warning ticket. (I'm not telling which of us it was! Just that it wasn't me!) One time we drove in such dense fog that we drove through a red light before we could see it and stop.
But the worst drive of all was one winter day coming home. It was snowing. And it got worse. And then it got even worse. I was driving that day, and between the fierce wind and the heavy snow, it ended up being white out conditions. I literally could only see about six feet in front of the nose of my car, and we crept along at five to ten miles per hour for a l-o-n-g time.
By being careful and creeping along, we finally made it to the first guy's house in Muncie. The hour and a half drive had taken about four hours. I ended up spending the night and driving home the next morning because of the conditions. Only a desire to get home kept us going when we couldn't the way ahead - even on familiar roads.
The God of the Bible is a God of Covenants. He calls us into a relationship of faith, and asks us to follow, even if we cannot see the way. That's what happened with Abraham and Sarah. God promised Abraham his descendants would become a great nation, and God would bless the world through them if Abraham would leave his home and his people and follow Him. And they did just that.
There was just one catch concerning the great Covenant God made with Abraham. When God made the promise, Abraham was 75, Sarah was 65, and they were childless. They were not exactly prime candidates to be the start of a great nation!
But God was faithful to His promises. He is like that. Abraham and Sarah had a son, Isaac, who was the beginning of the fulfillment of God's promises. The final fulfillment is still working itself out. Abraham and Sarah gave birth to Isaac when Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90, after 25 years of walking by faith. Isaac fathered Jacob, who had 12 sons, who became the patriarchs of 12 tribes, who became the nation of Israel.
And one of Abraham's descendants, Jesus of Nazareth, was the Savior of the world. All nations are being blessed by Him, and one day people of every nation, tribe and tongue will live with Him forever. What a Covenant promise!
To fulfill his part of the Covenant, Abraham had to walk by faith. The Bible says something powerful about Abraham: Abram believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness. (Genesis 15:6 NIV) God credited Abraham with righteousness because he walked in faith. Abraham received the promises of God as he followed in trust, even when he could not see the way ahead and the path was difficult.
We, no less than Abraham, are called by God to a Covenant of faith. We can see the way ahead a little more clearly than Abraham could in the big picture, because we have the benefit of the revelation of Scripture and the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. But day-to-day, we walk by faith. The old cliche is true: I may know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future. And I walk by faith in Jesus Christ.
God does not typically show us much of the future. Most all of us have made plans and had hopes for the future that never materialized. I, for one, am glad God chooses not to show us too much of the path ahead. If I knew all the hardships I would face, I might shrink back. If I knew the successes I would have, I might think I could achieve them without God.
The future may be shrouded in white out conditions, but that's okay. The point is to walk by faith. The point is to trust the God who is never surprised by what lies ahead, and always faces it alongside me. Like Abraham and Sarah, we are called to leave behind what holds us back, and follow Jesus one day at a time. One step at a time. Constantly depending on Him.
The future? It's in Good Hands. I'll walk into it trusting the One who promises to walk through it with me, no matter what comes.