How many times have you been let down in relationships? How many times have you let others down in relationships? We crave relationships, yet relationships can be such a source of pain and disappointment. Sometimes we’re tempted to give up, aren’t we? There’s just no point in trying anymore. Loneliness and isolation can seem very attractive. I’ll just live by myself and for myself.
When we open the Bible, though, we hear five of the most profound words in the universe: “I will be your God.” God is saying, “I want a relationship with you.” He says that in multiple different ways in the Bible. Listen to how he says it in Genesis 17:6-10.
GOD WANTS A RELATIONSHIP WITH US (6-8)
Look at the words I’ve highlighted: “And I will establish my covenant between me and you… an everlasting covenant, to be God to you…and I will be their God” (7-8)
God made us because he wants a relationship with us. And even after Adam and Eve divorced God, he designed a plan to fix what we ruined. The whole Gospel plan was designed to make “I will be your God” come true.
Sin says, “You will not be our God,” but the Gospel responds, “I will be your God.”
Is this relationship all one sided?
GOD WANTS A TWO-WAY RELATIONSHIP WITH US (9-10)
God wants a two-way relationship, a mutual relationship. “As for you, you shall keep my covenant” (9). When we hear God say, “I will be your God,” God wants us to say in response, “We will be your people.”
God had given Abraham multiple covenant promises. Again and again he said to Abraham, “I will be your God.” But Abraham kept messing up. God was saying, “I will be your God,” but Abraham was saying, “We will not be your people.”
Therefore God gave him three helps to encourage him in this relationship: promises of multiplication, a new name, and circumcision (10). God covenanted to multiply Abraham. God re-named Abraham. God circumcised Abraham.
We looked at the first two helps yesterday. The third, circumcision, was a way for Abraham and his family to say, “We will be your people. We will be cut off from the world in order to join ourselves to you. We will keep your covenant.” The cutting off of the skin and shedding of blood was a painful yet memorable way of Abraham and his family saying, “We are committed to this relationship.”
Now, of course, we don’t have circumcision now; we have something even better. We have baptism. In baptism, God says, “I will be your God,” and we say, “We will be your people.” God says, “You will be separate from the world and joined to me,” and we say, “We will be separated from the world and joined to you.”
Why do I say this is better? Because this time all the painful blood-shedding is on God’s side.
In circumcision, through painful blood-shedding and separation, Abraham showed his commitment to make this relationship work. At the cross, through painful blood-shedding and separation, God showed his commitment to make this relationship work.
LIVING THE BIBLE
When God says, “I want to be your friend,” or “I want to marry you,” or “I will be your God,” he means it. If you doubt his commitment, look to the cross and respond, “We will be your people.”
This episode of Living the Bible lines up with Expedition 4: Day 5 in Exploring the Bible Together: A 52 Week Family Worship Plan and Exploring the Bible: A Bible Reading Plan for Kids. You can catch up with previous episodes of the Living the Bible podcast here or subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, and Google Podcast.