God’s Covenant with Abraham

MEMORY SELECTION: “I will establish My covenant between Me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.” —Genesis 17:7

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Genesis 12:1-4; 17:1-8

THE promises God made to Abraham in our selected scripture texts were really promises to make a covenant with Abraham at some future date. Genesis, the 12th chapter, verses 1-4, indicates that a prerequisite to establishing the covenant was that Abram should leave his father’s house and go into a far country that God would show him. If he did this, God would make of him a great nation. In order for this to come about, however, it would be necessary that Abram have a seed. Abram was obedient in that he left his father’s house and went into the land where God led him. But for some twenty years Sarai, Abram’s wife, was barren. This became a great test to Abram’s faith.

At the time of our second selected scripture text, Genesis 17:1-8, Abraham (as God now named him) was ninety years old, Sarah (as God now called her) was eighty, and God had not as yet provided Abraham with a seed. Because of the circumstances it was obvious that the seed could not be provided in a natural way. In our text God was simply reassuring Abraham that his promise would be fulfilled. He required only that Abraham be obedient and faithful. “I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.” (Gen. 17:1) In this same chapter God again reassures Abraham and Sarah that they would have the long-promised child “at this set time in the next year.” (vss. 15-21) The matter was further complicated, however, because now Abraham was one hundred years old and Sarah was ninety. But in Genesis 21:1,2 we read: “And the Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did unto Sarah as he had spoken. For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.” Abraham called his son Isaac.

Isaac, of course, was very dear to Abraham, who realized that his son was the center of all the promises God had made. But in a final test of obedience and faith, God asked Abraham to offer his son as a sacrifice. This was most difficult for Abraham to carry out, but by doing so he proved himself loyal and faithful. The Apostle Paul speaks of this event in Abraham’s life in Hebrews 11:17-19: “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.”

Abraham was able to carry out God’s instructions because he had such complete faith that God would keep his promises that he believed God would resurrect Isaac from the dead, if necessary, in order to fulfill them. We know the story, however, that an angel of the Lord stayed Abraham’s hand, and God accounted it to Abraham as if he had consummated the act.

Because of this ultimate demonstration of faith and trust, God finally concluded his wonderful oath-bound covenant with Abraham. This covenant is the basis of all Christian hope and faith. It is recorded in Genesis 22:16-18. “By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.”

Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |