Read Genesis 15:1-21
After the confounding of the languages and spread of people in Genesis 11, Abram’s forefathers had lived in Ur and then traveled towards Canaan. But his father died in Haran. And then, without good, logical reason (Deut. 4), the Lord spoke to Abram, promising him:
- Land (Gen. 12:1)
- Descendants (Gen. 12:2)
- Blessing (Gen. 12:2, 3)
There were no strings attached…unless you count “going.” God would unconditionally fulfill what He had promised. Abram needed to do nothing.
But, even though there were no strings attached, there were, unfortunately, no signs of fulfillment…at least when it came to the descendants. Their innumerable offspring, well, it had to start with the first one, right? Abram and his wife Sarai were advanced in years. Sarai had been barren for the decades of their married life. And, though God had promised, nothing had changed that. Had Abram misunderstood? Perhaps the first in this long line of multitudes would not be a biological offspring of the pair. Perhaps they should just adopt one of their favored servants.
Thankfully, God spoke into the confusion. In a moving dream encounter with Abram, He assured the patriarch that he would indeed father a child. And Abraham believed God.
In some ways, yet today, we experience the blessings of this Abrahamic Covenant. Believers today are on the receiving end of the blessing that would extend through the nation of Israel. Christ, a descendant of Abram, offers the blessing of hope and forgiveness to all people. In Him, all nations can be blessed.
Similarly, even we as Gentiles have the opportunity to join the lineage of Abram. As a result of his faith, God considered him righteous. In like manner, all who express faith in his descendant, the crucified Son of God, become his children (Rom. 4:12, 16).
While we reap some of the benefits of this covenant, it is important to note that we as part of the church today are no substitute for the biological descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Their descendants in the twelve tribes of Israel will experience the fullest measure of the unconditional promises God gave initially in Genesis 12 and then renewed again in Genesis 15.