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The Everlasting Covenant



In Genesis chapter 17 we see the two descendants of Abraham, Ishmael who would go on to be the father of the Arab peoples, and Isaac who would go on to be the father of the Jewish people. At this time, Ishmael had already been born and was about 13 years old. He was Abraham's son by his wife's Egyptian handmaid. But this is not the son that the Lord would make his covenant through. No, God specified that the covenant would be made through Isaac, who had not even been born yet. God came to Abraham and said to him that he would have a son by his wife Sarah. “And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.” Genesis 17:16 vs 8: “Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, ALL THE LAND OF CANAAN AS AN EVERLASTING POSSESSION; and I will be their God.” In another chapter and indeed repeated in many places, God defined that the "promised land" would stretch from the river of Egypt all the way to the Euphrates river which is in present day Iraq. All this land would belong to Abraham's son through Isaac, and then through his son Jacob, and to the descendants in this line forever - an everlasting covenant. (Genesis 15:17) But Abraham loved his son Ishmael and naturally wanted God to grant that the covenant might be through him. Vs 18: "And Abraham said to God, 'Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!'” But God said no, and that a son would be born next year to his wife Sarah, and it is THIS son, yet unborn, that the Lord will establish his covenant with, and that this would be an EVERLASTING covenant. Vs 19: "Then God said: “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish my covenant WITH HIM for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him." But he honored Abraham's love for Ishmael and told him he will also prosper, however that the covenant will be through Isaac. Vs 20-21: "And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly… But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year.” And thus is the beginning of the Arab/Israeli conflict. Ishmael would go on to hate Isaac, and this hatred continues to this very day. Sometimes the will of God is not what we want. You'd think the covenant would be with the firstborn, but God chose it to be through the son not even born yet. Mankind is divided when man's will conflicts with God's will, and this may be the very reason God had it this way - to divide mankind into two groups. 1. Those who will bow to the Word of God even when it conflicts with what man thinks it "should" be, and 2. Those who insist on their own way and hate God when he doesn’t do things the way they think he should. “'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways,' says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.'" Isaiah 55:8-9 Accept the will of God in your life even, maybe especially, when he doesn’t do things the way you think he should. You’ll discover in the end that his way accomplished far, far more than you ever imagined. More: Israel's Covenant