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Something's missing. You trust God's power. You know His promises. But inside you're wavering. How can you be sure He'll come through for you? To answer that question, you need more than a knowledge of God's power and promises. You need a personal revelation of a covenant of love.

"For God so loved the world that He gave..." and He gave...and He gave...and He gave.

That is the message the Bible brings us from beginning to end. It sounds simple enough. Yet few of us really comprehend it. We're comfortable with the idea of a God of power. We can understand a God Who desires to be served. But an Almighty God Who loves us so much that He desires, above all, to give to us? That's pretty tough to believe.

Everlasting, unconditional, never-failing love - God's love; our natural minds cannot grasp it. Yet, Paul prayed in his letter to the Ephesians that we might "...know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God" (Eph. 3:19). How is that possible? How can we comprehend the incomprehensible?

We can't! At least, not with simple human understanding. To know something as vast as the love of God requires a revelation given through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Revelation is comprehension imparted into our spirit from the Holy Spirit and transmitted into our minds. It doesn't pass from the head to the heart. It must come from the heart to the head.

For thousands of years, God has been working to drop the revelation of His love into the hearts of men. However, He's always faced the same obstacles; human beings that just couldn't bring themselves to believe His promises. He has faced human minds too small to grasp the greatness of His love.

The story of Abram is a perfect example. When God first began to make promises to Abram, he didn't understand God's love. Until God had approached him, Abram had worshiped the moon...and the moon had certainly never seemed interested in doing anything for him. Then Abram encountered El Shaddai, the greatest Being he'd ever had anything to do with, and the first thing this El Shaddai wanted to do was to give to him!

That's what was so astoundingly different about this Almighty God. He wanted to give. This was hard for Abram to believe. All other gods only wanted to take. They demanded to be given to. He wasn't accustomed to getting things from his god, but suddenly this Almighty God was promising him a child and a family of descendants that would outnumber the stars. And to top all that off, God was saying He would give Abram enough land to hold all of those children! (Gen. 15:4-5, 7).

That was just more than Abram could grasp. It seemed literally too good to believe. "Whereby shall I know that I shall inherit [the land]?" he asked.

At that point God needed a way to impress Abram's mind that this promise would really come to pass. Obviously, He found one. For in Romans 4:21, the Bible tells us that Abraham became fully persuaded that God was able to perform that which He had promised. "He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God" (v. 20).

What was it that convinced Abraham so completely that God's promise was true? What did God do that turned him into a faith-giant literally overnight?

You'll find the answer in Genesis 15. There God instructed Abram, "Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon" (v. 9).

Those instructions don't have the same impact on us today that they had on Abram. He knew instantly when he heard them that an awesome thing was about to take place. God Almighty was going to cut the covenant with him.

Blood covenants weren't foreign to Abram. He undoubtedly witnessed them before. He knew the blood covenant was the most powerful agreement that could ever be made, an agreement breakable only by death.

Imagine Abram's awe as he entered that agreement with Almighty God:

"And Abram took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land..." (vv. 10, 17-18).

Why did God make that covenant with Abram? Why was it necessary that blood be shed? Because God knew it would take something extremely serious to show Abram just how totally committed He was to him. It would require the most powerful thing that Abram knew anything about: the blood covenant.

The fact is that once the words, "So shall thy seed be" were spoken by God, they had to be true. Nothing, not even the covenant, could make them any more true. But Abram wasn't convinced. By cutting the covenant with him, God communicated His love to Abram on a level he could understand.

It means little to us today. We have "civilized" ourselves to the point of doing away with blood agreements, but Abram understood the significance of them. He realized God was giving him an absolute and unbreakable guarantee.

So that you can better understand it, let me give you the facts about blood covenant as Abram knew it. Then you'll see the serious nature of the agreement God made with Abram that day.

In that day and time, entering into the covenant of blood meant you were totally and forever giving yourself away to someone else. Nothing would ever be yours alone again. All that you were, all that you had or ever would have, became the equal property of your covenant partner. Your life was never the same again. A covenant of blood altered even the lives of your unborn children for generations to come.

Such a covenant was made between families or individuals based on needs, strengths and weaknesses. A covenant was not based on what they had in common. It was based on what they didn't have in common. For example, if Family #1 was strong intellectually, but weak at warfare, they would make covenant with Family #2 who was weak intellectually, but strong at warfare. By making covenant together, each filled in the gaps caused by the other's weaknesses.

Because of the serious nature of blood covenant, the families spent much time discussing the terms of their agreement. Then, once the terms were settled, the two tribes, or families, chose representatives and a place to formally ratify that agreement by cutting the covenant.

In preparation for the covenant ceremony, large animals, many times three or more, were selected to be sacrificed. These animals were cut differently from any other animal sacrifice of that day. A covenant sacrifice was cut in half - split from nose to tail. The halves were laid opposite each other on the ground and in the middle of the halves was a trail of blood. These were very large animals, so they produced a great deal of blood when they were killed.

Once the sacrificial animals were prepared, the covenant ceremony began. First, the covenant representatives exchanged coats with one another. Since the coat symbolized all of the authority of the tribe, or family, by exchanging their coats, each was giving the other his authority.

You can see a biblical example of this in 1 Samuel 18:3-4 where the covenant made between David and Jonathan is recorded. There the scriptures specifically state that Jonathan gave David his robe. When he did that, Jonathan (who was the son of the king) was actually giving David the benefit of his standing in the royal palace. In that same way, exchanging coats symbolized the exchange of authority among the tribes.

Next, the covenant representatives made another vital exchange, the exchange of weapons. Through this they were saying, "Your enemies are now my enemies. I'll fight your fights as if they were my own."

Once these two rituals were completed, then came the walk of blood. Twice the representatives would walk through the path of blood between the animal halves. On each pass, they would stop in the center and stand in the midst of the blood. There they pronounced their pledges. They pledged their loyalty to one another, even to death. This pronouncement was called the blessing of the covenant.

When the actual covenant was cut, the representatives cut their hands and wrists so that blood would easily flow. Then they bound their wrists together, allowing the blood to intermingle. Lifting their arms, they swore by their gods. The purpose of raising their hands to swear was so that both families could see the blood and know that the covenant had then been cut.

The common practice was standing in blood, mixing their own blood, swearing by their god, thus making their god third party to the covenant. It was understood that if one party broke the agreement, the other's god would kill them in retribution. That is how serious a covenant was in Abram's day.

Also, at this time, a curse was pronounced. It was agreed prior to the cutting of the covenant that should either party break the terms of the agreement, they and their families would be cursed. The curse was the protection each party needed to ensure that they would not be taken advantage of by the other party.

Once their fidelity was sworn, a name exchange took place. Family #1 became Family 1-2, and Family #2 became Family 2-1. This custom is still practiced in some societies. It explains the meaning behind many of the hyphenated names you see today, particularly among Europeans.

Once the ceremony was over, the families ate a covenant meal of bread and wine together. The elders served and fed each other the bread and said, "This signifies my body. I'll die before I will let anything happen to you." Then they took the wine which signified their own blood and pledged, "This represents my lifeblood. I am offering you my very life."

Out of this covenant was born a relationship that was stronger than that of blood relatives - a relationship based on a willingness to serve and to meet one another's needs. Each family swore to treat the other better than they treated themselves. They pledged their loyalty and fidelity to each other, and the penalty for breaking that pledge was death.

This was why God chose to make covenant with Abram. It was the only way He could impress upon him the intensity of His desire to serve him. El Shaddai wanted to bind Himself to Abram and his descendants in a relationship that could not be broken. He wanted to exchange His authority, His strength, and His weapons with humanity in order to fill in the gaps of our weaknesses. He wanted to bless mankind and to lavish His love upon man because He is love.

Abram comprehended the Lord's love because he knew the solemnity and gravity of a covenant agreement. It convinced him that God wasn't lying. It forever settled the question of whether or not it was really God's will for Abram to receive all that God had to give.

Years after that divine covenant was cut, the long-awaited promise was fulfilled. Isaac, the son of promise, was born to Abraham. Then God did a very strange thing. After a few years, He asked Abraham to place his only son on the altar of sacrifice. Since we aren't covenant-minded people, such a request would probably wipe out most believers today. Abraham, however, knew that God was faithful. He remembered the peculiar smell of the blood of those animals as it mixed with the grass and dirt out in the field that day. The solemnity of their covenant was still alive in his heart. He knew God could not lie.

Why did God ask such a strange thing of faithful Abraham? First of all, He knew that when one covenant partner agreed to a certain thing, it obligated the second partner to do the very same thing. By asking Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, God was opening the way to sacrifice His only begotten Son. The reason God made covenant with Abraham in the first place was so that He could have a channel through which to provide redemption for man's sin. When Abraham placed Isaac on the altar of sacrifice, God became forever obligated to make Jesus the Lamb slain to take away our sin.

Hebrews 11 tells us that Abraham received Isaac raised from the dead in a vision. He was so fully persuaded that he had become the father of many nations that when he raised the knife to slay his son, he believed God would raise him from the dead! Of course, we know that the Lord stopped Abraham. Isaac did not have to be sacrificed. The willingness to do it was enough to obligate God, Abraham's covenant partner, to sacrifice His Son. That was all He wanted.

How does all this apply to you and me? Like Abraham, we have a covenant with Almighty God. But it is a better covenant than Abraham's"with better promises. A covenant ratified by the blood of Jesus, God's own Son!

At Calvary, Jesus became the sacrifice that established our covenant with God. And He rose again to become our covenant representative. He even gave Himself as our covenant meal.

"I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.... Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:51, 53-54).

Think about what you've gained through that covenant! Jesus has exchanged His strength for your weakness. He's exchanged His boundless supply for your need. He's taken your sickness and disease and given you divine healing. He's given you a robe of righteousness in exchange for your sin.

You are now His joint heir. He has given you His Name (John 16:23). He has given you His authority (Matt. 28:18; Mark 16:15-18). He has given you His armor and weapons so that He can win your battles and give you the victory (Eph. 6:10-17). Jesus has bound Himself through faith in His blood.

Meditate on the covenant God made with you. Celebrate it around the Communion table. Do it in remembrance of the covenant Almighty God has cut with you through the blood of Jesus Christ. As you do, you'll draw closer and closer to comprehending the all-surpassing, never-failing love of God.

Source:  Excerpt permission granted by Eagle Mountain International Church, Inc.
aka: Kenneth Copeland Ministries

Author Biography

Kenneth Copeland
Web site: Kenneth Copeland Ministries
For the last 50 years Kenneth and Gloria Copeland have been passionately teaching Christians all over the world how to apply the principles of faith found in God’s WORD to their lives.

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