God’s Covenant with Abram
Open Your Bible
Genesis 12:1-9, Genesis 21:1-7, Genesis 22:15-18, John 8:54-58
A few weekends ago, we went on a family stargazing field trip with my eldest daughter’s class. She attends a school with an incredibly diverse population, racially and socioeconomically, with the goal of the student body looking as much like heaven as possible. Gathered around a bonfire, we worshiped together and counted the stars above, s’more residue all over our hands and faces—the moment was almost too beautiful to bear.
When reading God’s promise to Abram again today, I juxtaposed that promise with the image of all those little kids, eyes open and singing, “Father, I Adore You,” with all their different colors of skin and families of origin and cultural traditions. God told Abram, “All the peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3), even though at the time, Abram’s world was very small. Still, God painted a picture for him using the stars that fill the hundred billion galaxies in the sky.
Can you imagine the weight of that moment that seemed to bear the salvation of the world? Do you think, with his barren wife and in his old age, Abram looked at the infinite stars and wondered, How could this possibly be true? But somehow Abram (whose name God changed to “Abraham” in Genesis 17) did believe. He trusted God, and acted in faith (Genesis 15:6). And each time a new twist in the road appeared, he continued on in faith. Ur? Been there. Egypt? Did that. Painful obedience and personal sacrifice? In faith, Abram started down that path too—he knew the end of his story. He believed that he and Sarai would have a son, and through that son would come blessing for the whole world. But Abram never did get to see the plan from A to Z; he made it from A to C or perhaps D. He never saw God’s plan come fully into fruition, but he believed it most definitely would be accomplished because God keeps His promises.
As we read through God’s Word this Advent season, we’ll see the rest of the plan unfold through radical and ordinary acts of faith orchestrated by God to bring about not just that joyous Christmas morn, but also the redemption of the world. Advent often feels like a daily stepping out in faith, believing and trusting more than knowing. We know the end of our story, but we turn the page of each day without knowing what hardships or challenges or joys await us in between.
As each day of this season passes, my prayer is that I will embrace each day as it comes, in faith. I know what God has promised: the fulfillment of His kingdom, the end of all tears, the everlasting peace and reign of Jesus. But each day requires faith and hope, anchored in God’s Word and the work of the Spirit. It so often feels like I am Abram, staring up at the infinite starry sky, asking, How could this possibly be true? It’s true because God’s promise to Abram came true when his son, Isaac, was born, establishing a long genealogy that would lead to the birth of Jesus Christ. It’s true because that baby was born, and He is Immanuel, God with us.