Identifying The Problem
Rock of Offence Commentary
"MY PEOPLE ARE DESTROYED FOR A LACK OF KNOWLEDGE." (HOSEA 4:6)
Earlier we talked about God's ways. A lack of knowledge, or a wrong knowledge of God's ways, brings destruction into our lives. The Bible teaches that God never moves outside of His ways and against his own character. God never violates His Word. Never! One of the reasons He instructed Moses in His ways was so that he could successfully lead the nation of Israel. God's Word teaches us about His ways so that we can have success. Defeat in a Christian's life does not glorify God. It is interesting that God gave Joshua the admonition to meditate in the Word of God day and night (Joshua 1:8). If Joshua was obedient, God said "For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success." Prosperity and success results from conforming your life to God's ways. You get the opposite result when you step outside of God's ways and seek another path, even a good looking, religious one. By stepping outside of God's ways, you cut yourself off from His help. God gave us His Word so we could know His will and His ways. The tragedy is that much of the Church is cut off from God's help either through false teaching or through a lack of knowledge. This "lack of knowledge" is the ignorance of our covenant with God and what it guarantees the Christian. False teaching is usually aimed at either minimizing or eliminating altogether the benefits of the New Covenant of Jesus Christ toward the Christian believer, while leaving the "bare essentials" of the Christian faith for salvation intact. This kind of teaching is common and we will go into greater detail in the pages ahead. Uncovering the lies and deception that religion has perpetrated on the Church is a large part of understanding the "mystery of the faith." If we understand where God's ways have been missed, we can make the correction and begin to enjoy the success that results from being aligned with God's Word.
A BLOOD COVENANT GIVES US THE POWER “TO KNOW”
In Genesis chapter 15, we read how God approached Abram with incredible promises. First of all, Abram makes his case before God about his childless condition. Abram needed an heir, one of his own offspring. God responds by not only promising Abram a son but by also declaring that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the night sky. God promises Abram land—from the river of Egypt to the great river Euphrates (Genesis 15:18). Abram responds by asking God a question; "How shall I know that I will inherit it?" This one question sets the stage for one of the most monumental events of the Old Testament; a blood covenant between a man (Abram) and Almighty God. In response to Abram's question, God makes a covenant that becomes the guarantee or surety that He will do what He said. We know that the events which took place in Genesis 15 have to do with the making of a covenant because verse 18 starts out by saying, "On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram..." Notice that God did not leave Abram in the condition of not knowing. God initiated this covenant and bound Himself to it by a “blood oath” that can never be broken. This covenant is known to Bible scholars as "The Abrahamic Covenant". The Abrahamic Covenant provided the groundwork for the coming of the Jewish Messiah, Jesus Christ.
A BLOOD COVENANT—WHAT IS IT?
The blood covenant is the oldest and most ancient institution known to man. It represents the most serious and binding agreement that two people can enter into. British missionaries Stanley and Livingstone (1800 to early 1900) claimed that a blood covenant was never broken on the continent of Africa. To break a blood covenant guaranteed certain death. If a blood covenant is broken, the offender's own family will hunt him down and kill him. Blood covenant law is well known among tribal cultures. It is fully understood and practiced by Indian tribes here in America as well as most tribal groups in Africa. Middle-Eastern cultures, especially those where the Bible was written, are firmly grounded in blood covenant. Cultures that are not familiar with the workings of the blood covenant are the more "modern" ones. The word "covenant" has little meaning to the average American and, sadly, to most Christian believers.
In Malcolm Smith's book, "Blood Brothers In Christ," the author writes:
"We cannot avoid the blood covenant. It faces us either directly or by implication in every story and miracle of the Scriptures. Any hope that we have of salvation can only be understood inside the framework of the covenant. On what basis does sinful man hope to approach God and find acceptance with Him? What audacity puts into our heads the idea that we may pray and receive an answer? Without a solid foundation faith becomes nothing more than pathetic presumption, a faith in faith which is a leap into meaninglessness. Biblical faith is a response to something God has done. God lays the foundation, takes the initiative, and faith is but man's response to that. There is a solid foundation on which every promise and hope of salvation lies, against which every threat and warning becomes vividly real. That foundation is the blood covenant. In its most simple definition a covenant is an agreement between two parties. But it is more than that, for it is the union of two parties in which all assets, talents, debts, and liabilities are held mutually. This agreement of unity is worked out in carefully defined pledges and promises that each makes to the other."
The key word in the above quote is union. A blood covenant is the union of two parties into one new person. In this union all assets, liabilities and resources become common. It is an exchange of life. The only thing similar to a blood covenant is the institution of marriage. Marriage is a covenant where a man and a woman become "one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). Unfortunately, this covenant has little meaning in America where 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce. The term "blood covenant" is derived from the Hebrew word "berith," which means to make a covenant by cutting where blood flows. The act of making a blood covenant is usually referred to as "cutting the covenant."