Abraham Part 2: God’s Covenant People are to trust His Promises

 Abram left Ur with his father, and left his father’s house in Haran and traveled on to Canaan. Abram sojourned in this Promised Land and he experienced God’s protection and blessings in material wealth. But there was still one part of God’s covenant promise that he had yet to experience, and it was beginning to gnaw at him…

 "Some time later, the LORD spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, "Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great." But Abram replied, "O Sovereign LORD, what good are all your blessings when I don't even have a son? Since you've given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. You have given me no descendants of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir." Then the LORD said to him, "No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir." Then the LORD took Abram outside and said to him, "Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That's how many descendants you will have!" And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith." {Genesis 15:1-6 NLT}

 God came to Abram saying that his reward would be great. But instead of responding with gratitude, Abram responded with doubt, perhaps even cynicism, because Abram and Sarai were getting to be very old and they had still not been blessed by a son. So, in an effort to help God out, Abram offered one of his servants to be his promised ‘heir’. This was not the only time Abram and Sarai tried to help God with this part of His promise to them. Sarai offered her servant to her husband who then gave birth to Ishmael. Being of the seed of Abram, Ishmael was also blessed of God and made the father of many nations, but both Ishmael and his decadents have been a source of strife for God’s chosen people.

 How often have we mistaken God’s apparent inactivity for His inability? How often have we tried to help God out? How did our efforts turn out?

 God responded to Abram’s doubt with mercy and grace. Eliezer would not be Abram’s heir, neither would Ishmael. God promised He would give him an heir from his own body through his own wife. Then the Lord took Abram outside and invited him to count the stars. As Abram gazed into the expanse of the night sky he was reminded of the capabilities of the creator and He believed God would do what He said He would do. God credited that belief to him as righteousness and Abram’s faith has been the model for all believers since. Salvation with God comes only by grace through faith.

 In the New Testament, Paul, James and the author of Hebrews pointed to the patriarch as the archetype, the example, of our faith in Christ. When Abram placed one foot in front of the other in obedience to God’s calling in Genesis 12 he was demonstrating faith. In this moment under the starry night he believed God could do the impossible and on the basis of faith in the word and promises of God, righteousness was credited to him.

 In faith, Abram looked forward to the day of Christ, just was we are called to look back to the cross. And, like Abram, when we trust in the promises of God in the gospel we are credited with Christ’s righteousness. We come to God broken and unworthy, and ordinary, and He accepts us as obedient and worthy despite our sin because of our faith and trust in the work of Christ.

 Has the Abrahamic Covenant been fulfilled in our day? The Messiah has come forth to bless the world through His redemptive work on the cross. The Israelis still exist, their members beyond count, despite all efforts of Satan to wipe them out and they once again possess a portion of the Promised Land. However they do not posses the entire region promised them through Abraham but they will in the age to come, because God is faithful and His word is true.

 God’s faithfulness means He keeps His word and always fulfills His promises. God’s faithfulness is demonstrated in His fulfillment of the promises He made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The apostle Paul linked the attribute of faithful to God’s coming through on His word.

 "God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful." {1 Thessalonians 5:24 NLT}

 We reflect the character of God by keeping the promises we make to Him and to others.