Text – Genesis 17:1-7:
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. 2 And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous.” 3 Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, 4 “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations.
5 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. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. 7 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.
Lent is rooted in the promises of God. We are remorseful because we realize how far we often go from our covenants with and promises to our Creator. If we are Israel returned from exile, to look back on the covenants that God made with Abraham, Moses, Noah, and others, we are reassured of God’s steady faithfulness in spite of our rebellion toward God.
In this text God visits again the promise he had already made with Abraham. “I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous.” It is good to be reminded, as Abraham was, that the covenant with God is two-sided. “Walk before me and be blameless,” is our part of the covenant.
During Lent we are led to the greatest expression of God’s covenant God ever made – the Cross. Jesus told his disciples, in that regard, that we should take up our own crosses and follow him. Not the little gold ones we hang around our necks, but more like death row at San Quentin. Which is made glorious when we realize that God’s covenant ultimately leads to Resurrection and Life.
God who keeps covenants with God’s people. We come before you during this time of Lent. Of 40 days of reflection and rededication. We ask you to help us remember what we have promised to you when we were baptized. When we take the bread and wine of Communion. When we pray before you as your people. May we be as faithful to you as you are to us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.