Sermon: “Cutting the Covenant” (Genesis 15)
We apologize, but a ten-minute portion of the recording was lost. Near the 24:35 mark, the recording suddenly shifts to the very end of the sermon.
Our lives are full of disappointments. Even if we try not to, we perpetually develop expectations for how relationships, or investments, or careers, or our other plans will turn out. When reality does not meet our expectations, we experience disappointment—sometimes minor disappointments, and sometimes major disappointments. Beyond the emotional experience of disappointment, we also begin to question how to move forward. Should we stick with our current course of action, hoping and praying that the situation will improve? Or, should we cut our losses and quit what we are doing, hoping to avoid throwing good money after bad? What do we do when the honeymoon is over?
Perhaps more than anything else, disappointment puts severe strains on our faith. If God is good, and if God loves me, and if God is faithful to keep his promises to me, then why am I experiencing my disappointing suffering? Do I have any guarantees that my situation will improve, or should I cut my losses and try to find someone or something else when God does not seem to be keeping up his end of the bargain? Or, from the other perspective, what should I expect from God when I have failed to keep my promises and vows to him? After a lifetime of seeing people abandon me when I disappoint them, what hope do I have that God can still love me after what I have done?
Christianity is not wishful thinking or blind optimism. In the Bible, God tells us about the promises that he makes to us; however, he also acknowledges that our feeble faith needs something more than his word. God is faithful and true, so that he cannot lie. Nevertheless, we are weak and confused, so that we still struggle to believe him. Therefore, God meets us in our faltering faith with his covenant. By his covenant, God not only makes promises to us, but he solemnly binds himself to uphold those promises, no matter what the cost. Whether it seems that the honeymoon is over in our relationship with God because we have sinned, or because God seems to have failed to keep his word to us, God reminds us that he will unfailing keep his covenant promises. Even through the deepest suffering, God’s covenant gives us confidence, as we will see in Genesis 15: God’s covenant assures us in suffering that God will keep his promises.