Day 10

The Abrahamic Covenant

from the Genesis reading plan

Genesis 15:1-21, Genesis 16:1-16, Romans 4:1-5, Romans 4:9-25, Galatians 3:15-18, Galatians 3:27-29, Galatians 4:1-7

BY Bailey Gillespie

In his book, Beyond Words, Frederick Buechner says this: “Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” Buechner is echoing Christ’s words in the Gospel of John, where we’re told to take heart because Christ has overcome the world (John 16:33). There are many times when personal loss makes it feel as if God has removed His provision, and sometimes it takes everything in me not to project the actions of others onto my faithful Father, who has proven His provision in the past.

Although today’s passage records God’s covenant with Abram, I can’t help but notice the part Sarai plays in this story. First, she experiences the disappointment of infertility, fearing it to be God’s prevention of her potential family line. She takes action by asking her husband to sleep with their slave, Hagar, to produce an heir. “Perhaps through her, I can build a family,” she reasons (Genesis 16:2). So, not only must she endure her husband’s intimate relations with their slave, but she also grows to resent Hagar after the very thing she hoped for comes to pass—Hagar’s pregnancy.

Her own infertility must have felt emphasized by Hagar’s growing body. I imagine Sarai looking at Hagar and thinking this new life should have her features, her hairline, her DNA. So, what did Sarai really want? Did she want Abram to push back against her plan? Go at it with God? As emotionally complicated as her situation was, in the end, it was only God’s plan that could ease the depth of Sarai’s distress.

There’s an eerie line in this passage after God reveals that Abram’s offspring will be as countless as the stars. It describes how, after the sun set, “a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch appeared and passed between the divided animals” (Genesis 15:17). After Abram sacrificed the animals that God requested, this strange apparition appeared. However, God’s presence was often associated with fiery images in the Old Testament, and according to the Faithlife Study Bible, that night “the passage of fire ratified the covenant.”

There’s a reason God often tells His followers not to be afraid. Famine and battles, new land ownership and elderly maternity, flaming objects that move on their own—these are not things you see every day. But these are the sort of plot twists God delights in using to develop trust in His people and further His kingdom. Still, He understood how alarming all this must have been for Abram and consoled him by saying, “Do not be afraid… I am your shield” (v.1).

Do not be afraid, friends. God is our shield. Before taking matters into our own hands, let’s believe that God is for us, not against us. Let’s give Him the benefit of the doubt and wait for His redemptive movement in our lives (Romans 4:20).

Post Comments (56)

56 thoughts on "The Abrahamic Covenant"

  1. Ashley Johnson says:

    Isn’t amazing that despite our faults and failures God honors our faith. Abram was counted as righteous and not doubting God’s plan., yet he must have doubted at least a little, right? If he had FULL assurance he would not have taken Hagar, what would’ve been the reason?? Yet God sees the righteous and counts him as faithful just like so many other pillars of the faith in scripture and like so many of us!

  2. Yolanda Harbon says:

    Amen, waiting for His redemptive movement in my life ❤️

  3. Terri says:

    Gen 15:4 Now the word of the Lord came to him: “This one will not be your heir; instead, one who comes from your own body will be your heir.

    Ishmael was not from Abram’s “body”?

    1. Jianellie Manalastas says:

      Genesis 15:4 is God replying to Abram and reassuring him that Eliezer, a member of Abram’s household, will not be the heir. But instead, it will be someone from his own body.

  4. Christine Almasi says:

    What a great reminder to not play ‘god’ and try and orchestrate or own lives, timing and control everything. He is a loving and sovereign God and I just need to trust his timing in everything

  5. Nicole says:

    I feel like its SO easy to be afraid of things in our lives. Finances, marriage, children, job, etc. But God has a hold on our life, on every single, tiny bit of our lives, and each time I get a negative thought or pit in my stomach about a hard part of my life, I immediately combat it with prayer, until that feeling goes away. Satan wants us to be stressed and anxious about life, but that is NOT what God wants. Any time you feel those feelings, release them to God, and get back on the path that God has created for us. He has got us, and no matter how hard WE think life is, everything will ALWAYS be ok.

  6. Cat Curl says:

    “Do not be afraid, friends. God is our shield. Before taking matters into our own hands, let’s believe that God is for us, not against us. Let’s give Him the benefit of the doubt and wait for His redemptive movement in our lives (Romans 4:20).” WOW. This!!! Sisters I’m crying out for desperate prayers. The man I love almost lost his life due to an overdose a few days ago. Satan is no doubt out to KILL, steal, and destroy all the Lord has done in his life. He loves the Lord deeply and has just been in a battle. Would you pray for restoration, and strength for him and discernment and wisdom for both of us concerning what is next. I’m praying the Lord’s will be done and His redemptive purpose will be accomplished through all of this. Thank you for your prayers.

    1. Suzie McRae says:

      Praying for your guy rn!

  7. Diana Fleenor says:

    I’m grateful for Kristen giving us an example of a husband and wife facing death together with a strong faith in Christ and praising the Lord to the end. I rejoice in the Lord for the fruit of faith displayed in their lives.

    Then, I notice this deep ache in my heart that grieves the loss of a husband and wife to death in just two months of one another, the wife in November, the husband last night. Neither of them had an outward expression of faith from what I knew of them. I’ve been told the wife had express faith in Christ to a family member, so I hope. I’m unaware of any expression of faith in Christ of the husband. It’s hard to pinpoint what would be clear fruit of the Spirit in either.

    This husband and wife are of my husband’s family and I grieve their losses. Yet, I turn my gaze up to this God who is the sovereign Lord and I trust in his justice and his mercy. He knows the hearts of these two in ways that I can never know. And my desire is to honor the Lord by such an explicit trust in his good character and ways that his name is glorified in all I think, feel, say and do in the midst of grief and questions.

    May the Lord who made a covenant with Abraham and then a new covenant through Jesus with all who believe in him, receiving this free gift of righteousness, help us to walk faithfully with him even in these places when we don’t know the state of the souls of those who have passed on. In God I trust & praise!

  8. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I love that the God of the universe has an intimate relationship with his creation. Let me never take that for granted!❤️

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