TO CHEW ON: "And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you." Genesis 17:11
You probably own a few things that signify watershed moments in your life — the Bible you were given at your baptism perhaps, a wedding ring, maybe the clothes your daughter wore when she was dedicated. As people we benefit from such tangible reminders of our history, the things we've experienced, and the promises we've made.
God has sealed His dealings with humanity with signs and markers too. We have the record of them in the Bible (and mentioned some of them a few days ago in "Signs of God's goodness"):
1. Rainbow — a sign marking God's promise to never again destroy all humanity by flood (Genesis 9:12-15).
2. Circumcision — "...an external sign which showed that Abraham and his descendants were God's covenant people" New Spirit Filled Life Bible, p.27.
3. Blood, painted on the lintel and door frames of the house — a sign that the death angel should pass over that house (Exodus 12:13).
4. Unleavened bread — to remind the Israelites that God had brought them out of Egypt (Exodus 13:6-10).
5. Sacrifice of firstborn animals — a reminder of God sparing Israel's firstborn sons the night the death angel visited (Exodus 13:16).
6. Scarlet cord draped from the window of a house — a sign that marked Rahab and her family for rescue from Jericho (Joshua 2:12, 17-18).
7. Altar of 12 stones — a sign to remind the Israelites of how God helped them cross the Jordan River to Canaan (Joshua 4:1-7).
8. Dove as the Holy Spirit, ascending and alighting on Jesus at His baptism — a sign of God's favour on Him (Matthew 3:16).
Henry Blackaby, in his book Experiencing God, says this about the way God works—the actions behind the list of signs, above:
"God works in sequence to accomplish His divine purpose. What He did in the past was accomplished with a kingdom purpose in mind. What He is doing in the present is in sequence with the past and with the same kingdom purpose. Every act of God builds on the past, with a view toward the future" Experiencing God Workbook, p. 124.
If you look back over the signs I've listed (and there are many more), can you see a thread? Are they not all part of God's history of salvation—from God's promise to never again destroy all humanity by flood, to His establishing His covenant of nationhood with Abraham, to His keeping of that nation through Egypt's slavery and their wilderness wanderings to, finally, the coming of Jesus, the lamb that would save us all?
God's message of love to us through these markers and signs is a reason for awe, worship, and making our lives available to God, to carry news of that salvation thread to our contemporaries.
PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for Your plan of salvation and how you have threaded signs of it through the Bible story. Help me to be alert to the signs of Your working in my life. I pray, with David, "Show me a sign for good...." Amen.
MORE: Personal markers
It is good to reflect on the signs, objects or markers that tell the story of God at work in our lives. For me those include significant Bible verses, certain books, a special song...
If we read the accounts of God giving His people signs, one of the reasons He gave the sign, in almost every case, was to help parents explain God's ways their children and grandchildren.
Could you use the signs, objects or markers you recalled to tell to your children and grandchildren the story of how God has worked in your life?