God’s Covenant with Abram

Key Verse: “In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.”
—Genesis 15:18

Selected Scripture:
Genesis 15:1-7,18-21

ONE OF THE MOST comprehensive statements concerning God’s ultimate purpose for the human family is recorded in the following passage. “Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”—Gen. 12:1-3

Circumstances during Abram’s lifetime, as well as conditions in the world today, demonstrate that the foregoing promise made by God must have a future fulfillment. Nevertheless, the Scriptures assure us that because of two unchangeable things, God’s Word and his oath, all that he has promised will surely come to pass in his own due time.—Heb. 6:18,19

In today’s study, being childless, Abram voices concern that since his wife was barren, his servant Eliezer of Damascus would have to become the intended heir. Not only did God reaffirm that Abram would father a son, but additionally he confirmed this with an illustration that the stars in the sky showed how numerous his descendants would be.—Gen. 15:2-5

Another aspect of God’s declaration for which Abram sought assurance was how he could be certain that he would possess the land that was promised to him. God then told him to take various animals whose carcasses Abram split in two and waited for the Lord to pass through the divided parts. Eventually, a deep sleep fell upon Abram and, through a vision, God represented himself by means of a smoking oven and a burning torch which passed between the animal pieces, thus ratifying the covenant that God had originally made with Abram.—vss. 6-17

Our Key Verse indicates the boundaries of the land which was promised to Abram as a possession under the terms of the covenant which God had just ratified. A New Testament elaboration on the matter was provided by Stephen prior to his being stoned. Concerning the land God promised to Abram, Stephen said, “He gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child.”—Acts 7:5

The scope of God’s promises to Abram, who was later renamed Abraham, is far reaching indeed and will be fully accomplished as a result of God’s soon to be established kingdom. There will be a spiritual seed composed of Christ and his church, through which “all the nations of the earth” will be blessed. (Gen. 22:18) These blessings of the kingdom will flow to Israel and all other members of the human family that prove obedient to the divine laws. At that time the whole world will become habitable, and mankind will experience everlasting peace and prosperity here on earth.—Isa. 35:5-10