Trying to understand Gods Promise to Abraham
by Robert Randle
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Genesis 12: 3, 7a
I will bless those who bless you [Abram] and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants [seed] I will give this land.
Genesis 13: 14-15
And the LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: “Lift up your eyes now and look from the place where you are-northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants [seed] forever.
*Genesis 28: 13-14*
And behold, the LORD stood above it and said: “I am the LORD God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I give to you and your descendants. “Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you [Jacob] shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
Genesis 15: 5-6
Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, so shall your descendants [seed] be. And he believed in the LORD and it was reckoned to him for righteousness.
Genesis 22: 15-16
The Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: “By Myself I have sworn says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son-“blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.”
Galatians 3: 8-9, 17
And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed [Cp. Genesis 12: 3].” So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham. Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ [Moshiach].
COMMENTARY: This study will incorporate a slightly different approach and format than in the past and hopefully the reader will gain a new insight into the mysterious ways in which God works. In Genesis 12, God makes the first promise to Abram without him doing anything special except that he followed God’s voice in leaving his family’s home in Mesopotamia [specifically Haran in Syria] into a foreign land [Canaan] that God would show him. Of course, Abram showed his worshipful reverence by erecting an altar to the LORD. Abram was not necessarily a man of great integrity or faith because on his first trial based upon a famine which caused he and his household to enter Egypt, he failed miserably.
He lied to Pharaoh about Sarai being his sister instead of his wife, to save his life and let Sarai be taken into the royal court or household of Pharaoh to become one of his many wives. Of course, for this exchange Abram was lavished with many gifts and became quite wealthy [Cp. Genesis 12: 16; 13: 1-2] as a result of the bargain. The Scripture is silent on what Sarai really felt about the transaction, though. In Genesis chapter 13 God reaffirms the promise made to Abram in the preceding chapter without any rebuke for his action against the Egyptian Pharaoh and his house. Even more, God says that Abram’s descendants will inherit the land forever.
The next major event in Abram’s life [Genesis chapter 15] was a more personal one because he was eighty-six years old and didn’t have an heir because Sarai was barren, and at this point in her life was well past the point where a woman could naturally conceive and give birth to a child. Abram shared his anguish with the LORD and surmised that he would get an heir through a servant of his house, Eliezer of Damascus. The LORD assured him that he would have an heir from his own body and not only that, his descendants would be numberless as the stars.
On hearing this assurance from God, the Scriptures reveal for the first time that Abram “believed” God and that He [The LORD] credited to him [Abram] as righteousness. So, what was so ‘special’ in this particular instance that its ramifications reach into the future and beyond? This non-act by Abram encapsulates the essence of this “faith-system” which permeates the Christian life because it is a shift of consciousness from the natural to the spiritual realm; from the seen to the unseen where one can touch the very power of God. It is experiencing a thing, in a manner of speaking, as though it has already been accomplished and not just wishing or wanting it to be so.
Interestingly, after “believing” in God he somehow starts thinking in the natural realm and chooses to help bring about God’s plan for an heir by listening to his wife Sarai and producing the child through Sarai’s handmaid Hagar. A son was produced but this was not the one which God promised. Although the Scriptures disagree with me on this point but it seems that what Abraham did in Genesis chapter 22 in offering his son, the son promised to him by God, as a burnt offering on one of the mountains in Moriah is, at least as far as I can understand it, the ultimate test of whether or not he really believed in God and had unwavering “faith” [Cp. Hebrews 11: 17-19]. ith this great promise of God in Genesis chapter 28 is a two-fold application, a physical one which pertains to the children of Israel [Jacob], Abram’s grandson’s descendants.
Perhaps the Israelites would be quite populous today, as an ethnic group or religion but their history is tainted by rebellion against their God and as a result they are a remnant of what their total numbers could possibly have been. They have been refugees and scattered across many nations on earth and in ancient times have been sent into Assyrian and Babylonian captivity, in addition to being broken up as a nation when all the twelve tribes were united as an independent and powerful monarchy under King David. As of yet, into modern times, Israel has yet to possess the gate of her enemies because in numerous instances have been a vassal-state of sorts to foreign powers, especially those in the Western Hemisphere. The spiritual side which is picked up in Galatians 3 from Genesis 28: 14 has to do with the “Seed” [not descendants in this case because they were already mentioned] of Jacob, specifically [through Abraham as a descendant], who would bless “all” the families of the earth; but how would this be accomplished? It is “only” through the shedding of His blood on Calvary’s Cross for our sins and making it possible for us [especially Gentiles] to have access to God and receive forgiveness from the penalty [eternal separation and torment in the Lake of Fire] of our transgressions against God and to obtain the free gift of everlasting life through belief in the name of Jesus [Yeshua].
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January 8, 2012
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