A new year begins, and I find myself back in Genesis. Abraham – Founder of Nations, the Father of Israel, Patriarch. In the chapters which tell the story of this incredible man of faith, I see promise after promise from God to Abraham. I see the unrelenting faithfulness of God to those who love Him, the power and beauty of an intimate relationship with the Creator Himself. It began with an offer to walk in promise; and this offer, Abraham accepted.
Abraham lived a very full life. He travelled new lands, set captives free, interceded for cities, blessed and was blessed. The Bible focuses on Abraham’s journey with God from age 75 to 175 years. Through this 100 year journey, we see God’s faithfulness to Abraham and to his family. Abraham was:
- 75 years old when he left his home country to follow God’s leading
- 86 years old when Ishmael was born of Hagar, Sarai’s maidservant
- 99 years old when God made the covenant of circumcision with him
- 100 years old when Isaac was born of Sarai
- 175 years old when he died
During this time, Abraham continued to speak with, and trust in God, even when it seemed some of the promises he received would be impossible. He also built altars during his journey to remember and to worship His faithful God. Abraham’s 100 year journey reminds us that God’s promises never fail, but that they come to pass in His timing, and by His ways. Abraham trusted in God and submitted to Him. God continued to remind Abraham of the promises He was fulfilling, and Abraham continued to build His faith in God.
God promised great things to Abraham – land, a great name, and that all nations of the earth would be blessed through him. All these promises were fulfilled – Israel became a great nation with an enormous inheritance of land, and Christ Jesus came through Abraham’s bloodline so that all people, from all nations, could be joined through faith in Him, being blessed by God, and heirs of salvation. Galatians 3:28-29 says,
“And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
So, since we are heirs according to the promise, we should understand what that promise is, and what it means to be Abraham’s seed. Looking more closely at Abraham’s promises, we see that God spoke and fulfilled the following things:
- Inheritance of land, and a great nation – that Abraham’s descendants would receive a vast inheritance of land, including that of Canaan. This is fulfilled when the twelve tribes of Israel conquered Canaan and settled in the land. They were seen as a great nation with God on their side. Many were afraid of them, having heard of their might. They were also very numerous. At one stage, while they were still settled in Egypt, Pharaoh felt so threatened by their numbers than he enslaved them, and tried to cull them by killing all newborn males.
- Becoming the father of many nations – Jesus Christ came from the line of Abraham. Through Him, we are all the seed of Abraham, joined in the kingdom of God. Thus, Abraham becomes the father of many nations, and we are all blessed through Christ.
- That God would be his God and the God of his descendants – this was a promise of faithfulness, that God would never forsake Abraham or his descendants. Indeed, we see the faithfulness of God to Israel, even in their rebellion, and we continue to see His faithfulness even to us every day. We triumph over every opposition and every challenge because God is with us!
Abraham’s promises also came with instruction – he was to keep all the commandments of the Lord and teach his descendants to do the same. God’s promises required faith, and obedience to God. Reading through the story of Abraham, it seems God was continually reminding Abraham of promises He had for him. Eventually Abraham, still without an heir of his own, mentioned this dilemma to God. First, he explains how Eliezar of Damascus will have to succeed him. God says this will not happen, and emphasises that Abraham will have an heir of his own bloodline. Later, Abraham presents Ishmael to God, the son conceived with Hagar, his wife’s maidservant. While God blesses Ishmael, He tells Abraham that His promises will come through a son born of Sarah even in her old age.
Despite all this, Abraham still put his faith in the word of God, and when the time came, Sarah conceived and bore Isaac. We know that Abraham’s descendants were indeed numerous, that the nation of Israel inherited Abraham’s promises, that Jesus Christ was descended from Abraham, and that salvation came to the world through Christ. So, it is through faith in Christ, that we are considered the seed of Abraham, heirs with Christ in the promise that is the kingdom of God. We walk in God’s promises just as Abraham did, when we put our trust in God, obey His commands and worship Him. We may not always understand how God will do things, but when He speaks a word, He will fulfil it.
Even beyond the chapters that tell of Abraham’s life, we are inundated with reminders of God’s good promises and faithfulness to us.
[Romans 8:28] – “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
[1 Corinthians 2:9] – “… Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
[Hebrews 10:23] – “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”
So, let us put our faith in God, walk in the promise of His word, and experience His astounding faithfulness.
* A compilation of Abraham’s promises through Genesis 12-22 – Promises from God to Abraham
** The next installment in “Genesis to Revelation: A Musical Journey” – Abraham’s Promise