Genesis 17-18 / Psalms 19-21 / Matthew 11
Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, "Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?" And Abraham said to God, "If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!"
Then God said, "Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him."
For the longest time until the life of the animal is squished out of us we're going to continue to be swayed by the animal prejudices about how *we* think things should be and look like as we try to get our agreement and coform God to us.
I am El Shaddai. Walk in my presence and be blameless, and I will grant my covenant between me and you and I will multiply you very greatly.
And Enoch walked with God and he was no more, for God took him.
Noah was a righteous man, he was blameless in his time, Noah walked with God.
Circumcision was the outward sign, more for the people than God. The real, hidden sign of the covenant, which all of God's OT sons realized, was that Abraham walked with God: "Walk in my presence and be blameless, and I will grant my covenant between me and you," an "if, then" conditional phrase signifying the actual terms of the covenant. The outward sign is merely the copy of the actual terms which are true in the spiritual world where the animal cannot see. The truer thing, about which the circumcision of males was only a copy, was that Abraham walked with God, that he had a circumcised heart.
Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer.
The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.
Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, circumcise your hearts, you men of Judah and people of Jerusalem, or my wrath will break out and burn like fire because of the evil you have done—burn with no one to quench it.
God made covenants with Adam, Noah, Abraham and David which extended out to others. When the Son came there would be a different kind of covenant between God and His people, unlike those He had made before.
"The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, `Know the LORD,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD."
A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God.
Sincerely, honestly and righteously walking with God is a matter of dwelling with Him in an actual relationship, which the majority of Jews didn't understand throughout their time as His people. Most thought that performing the outward rituals that other men could observe made one right with God. There were a few who saw that the outward, natural things were merely copies of the true things—the real covenant which could mean that a human could truly walk with God, because He lived with/in the man.
This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.
The covenant between the Father and the Son was the beginning of the new way that God would be in covenant with the humans whom He desired to walk with Him. The way that Jesus made for the NT sons was a personal one for each of them, which is the power and beauty of the new covenant. Not generic across the stratum of family, but specific for each one because they could each be personally known by Him. The command that does stretch across the family and applies universally to all of them was that they love one another as true brothers, because they were.
Matthew 5 & 6 is about the truth of the law and the animal deceptions, contrasted with how to actually, truthfully, spiritually be right before God—having a circumcised heart. Jesus first talks about what the purpose of the law was. Then he talks about truthfully observing the animal's giving, praying, and fasting—things which were done by men on the outside, although those things amounted only to a shadow of what was coming for the sons who lived in the first century. The actual, spiritual definition of a man before God is not on the outside but in his heart where only He can see. The new covenant was totally hidden from the humans, especially those who were assumed to be God's people, in the same way that their Messiah was hidden to them.
To be honest in our heart with God is not just some meaningless cliche, it is what it means to walk with God. To let go of the unclean things that the animal in us loves is what the Lord wants, which is what will help us to be good children for our Father, clean without the animal's garbage stinking up the temple. That's not to say that it is easy, as those things mean so much to us; they are our secret loves that we developed over a long time. They are the things we knew we could always count on to help us survive as we learned how to hide them from others.
That's also not to say that we won't be rewarded for doing the harder thing, denying in us what seems so perfectly natural. The son who is called and chosen to walk with his Father will be given spiritual gifts in order to make that possible within him; otherwise he would be unable to go against what is so naturally built into his nature—that is, an innate love of the way of the serpent and a hatred for the things of God. This is a thing we must constantly realize for the purpose of humility before God, to retain a broken and contrite, circumcised heart which is the mark of the son. It's what God desires and how we please Him, but it oftentimes comes with heartache and grief because we have to be confronted by the Lord about the animal consciousness that still lives in us. Even though these produce suffering in us, they too are gifts from the Lord, because ultimately they result in obedience to the new way as we let go of those unclean things of the animal that used to define us.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not
take pleasure in burnt offerings.
The content of our heart, that which is done in secret, will be revealed to us as we learn how offensive we still are to our Father. Remember the serpent is a crafty creature, and the devil's game is to make us think one thing, when the other is actually true. The Lord, though, is faithful to tell us the truth, which can lead to repentance and cleanness before our Father. When we are righteous before God in secret, when we walk with him with the intentions of a good son, to have an honest heart, then our good reward will be from Him.
There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.
To us who have been called and chosen to know the love of God; Abraham, Noah and Enoch are our models. As they walked with Him, we must also walk with Him, and we live and walk with Him in our heart where He dwells with the Lord. But He will not live in a temple that is filled with the unclean things of the world. It is easy to become self-deluded with the hypocrisy of man—something we have to be on our guard about for sure.
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
However small the circle of those who know where the treasure is, it will nevertheless be genuine, guided by the life that lives in us to teach us about our own lingering hypocrisies, and show us the new way of the son. The good Son teaches us who our new Father is and what He desires of us, to be clean and free of the lies which define man. Loving our selves is the way of the animal, one of the overriding lies of the serpent. It is merely another copy if you will, representing what God could have been—alone and self-sufficient, a much easier way to be than having to tolerate the mortals who have always been a constant source of pain to Him.
No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
I would think that His only purely true joy among the mortals was the One Son who thoroughly pleased Him. And that One, who meant so much to Him, He gave up to the mortals to humiliate and murder in the most shameful way. Now that is humility, coupled with the irony of God who makes everything between what seems to be, and what actually is, perfectly ironic and flip-floppy.
It also provides for us the copy of how we must be, to give up what we naturally love so that we can be like our Father. The copy of giving up our lives, what we love (ourselves), and instead loving our brother represents God choosing a family of sons that He could love, and who could love Him back. Loving our brother, which is exactly what the animal hates, is an earthly copy of the real thing—God loving us enough to give us life as He has life, enough to want to live with us forever.