Day 4

God’s Covenant with Abram

from the Advent 2019: A Thrill of Hope reading plan


Genesis 12:1-9, Genesis 21:1-7, Genesis 22:15-18, John 8:54-58

BY Melanie Rainer

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.

Post Comments (107)

107 thoughts on "God’s Covenant with Abram"

  1. Haley Newell-Potter says:

    God keeps his promises. All we need to know! ❤️

  2. Lindsey Ralston says:

    Just to clarify, Jesus was part of the lineage of Abraham and Isaac? Right?

    I’m loving this study and often have a hard time connecting the Old and New testaments, but this study is so helpful. Today made me think about the blessings of obedience.

    1. Jen Marcus says:

      Yes. The first chapter of Matthew details the genealogy from Abraham to Jesus. I often didn’t understand the significance until I got deeper into the Old Testament and began to realize that the Jews were waiting for the promised Messiah to be from David’s lineage.

      1. Lindsey R says:

        Thank you!! Yes, starting to realize the importance of the genealogy. I have a lot to learn!

  3. Karen Anderson says:

    The diversity of your daughter’s school is an amazing blessing! She is being given the gift of seeing people rather than differences which truly heaven in earth!

  4. Melissa Mcronney says:

    Learning to trust and obey is a blessing.

  5. Sarah Marshall says:

    We live out in the country and the stars are amazing out here! One of my favorite summer activities is stargazing ⭐️I find myself relating so much to today’s reading and devotion. Many times I’ve looked up at the stars and thought about God’s plan for not only me, but of this world. Trusting Him is a daily choice I make, even when it’s really hard. But He’s been so faithful and so I keep going, despite not seeing the blueprints of His plan.

  6. Audrey Flores says:

    So beautiful!! Gives me such hope that I too can trust Him to fulfill His promise to me. I look forward in faith to become faithfully Him as He is to me!!

  7. Destinee Rea says:

    Am I able to have faith in God if I know I’ll never see the Z? That really hit me today. The privilege the Jewish community has in getting to see Jesus be born, after centuries of ancestors told stories, said prayers, and waited. Am I willing to chase after Jesus and the visions God has birthed in me, even if it means I will never get to Z?

  8. Amber Dickson says:

    As I read I kept thinking about Abrams obedience being a picture of Christ’s obedience for our sake. God never asks of us what he hasn’t already done or plans to do. He is forever faithful. ❤️❤️

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