What We Believe
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February 17 Daily Devotional

(Monthly Theme: Living with God)

Sign and Seal

Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven

" 'This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised.' " —Genesis 17:10

Bible Reading

GENESIS 17:9-14

Devotional

God comes to people first with his Word of promise. This is what happened when God called Abram (Gen. 12). Next the Word of promise was ratified by a covenant (Gen. 15). And finally the covenant was sealed with the rite of circumcision (Gen. 17).

Married life is the best example of a contemporary covenant because it follows a similar pattern. First a young man calls on a girl. He makes promises, and they declare their love. Then the two of them make a covenant when they utter their wedding vows. Finally they exchange rings as signs of their fidelity to each other and as seals that their vows are unbreakable.

It was great goodness on the part of God to give people a sign of their bond with him. In the New Testament, God also gives signs of his bond with his people—baptism in God's name and holy communion. It is obvious, however, that a person does not get married by buying a wedding band in a jewelry store. If you have the money, you can buy a cupboard full of engagement rings and wedding bands. A ring without the partner and the promise is meaningless.

Just as the sign of God's promise became a mere sign and rite to many people of the Old Testament, so the two signs of the church are often accepted without faith in the promises. In such cases there is not really a marriage or a covenant. People are "christened" but they don't know the Christ; they partake of communion but they don't serve their Lord. God is very displeased when people make light of the signs and seals he has chosen.

But if the relationship is right, these signs are deeply meaningful: God, our partner, has sworn to be faithful. And God has pledged with his ring to never forsake us.

REFLECTIONS

When you see a baptism or share in the Lord's Supper, what do these signs tell you?


Andrew Kuyvenhoven's Daylight, a modern devotional classic, was originally published by Paideia Press in 1977. This updated edition is copyright 2009 by Faith Alive Christian Resources. You can order a copy of this revised version of the book directly from the publisher.

A man of many accomplishments, Andrew Kuyvenhoven is probably best known for his contributions to Today (formerly The Family Altar), a widely-used monthly devotional booklet associated with the Back to God Hour. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations for this updated edition of Daylight are from the Holy Bible: Today's New International Version copyright 2001, 2005 by the International Bible Society.

 

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