The God of Abraham
Written by: Alexis Asamoah
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No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham,
for I have made you a father of many nations.
- Genesis 17:5 NIV
A father of many nations. What an amazing promise! God told Abraham, who was ninety nine years old at the time with no children, that he would one day have numerous descendants. In fact, the new name God gave him, Abraham, means father of many. While I’m sure Abraham found that hard to imagine, he probably also found it hard to believe, given the barrenness of his wife, Sarah. Even so, Abraham remained faithful to God, though at times took matters into his own hands and harbored doubt.
Abraham’s story is not unlike our own during this chaotic time in our world. An ongoing pandemic has made future plans uncertain and increased health concerns; growing calls for dismantling racism have created division and uncovered shameful attitudes; and civil wars, genocide and famine continue to plague parts of the world. In all of this, we can learn from Abraham’s example about the importance of faithfulness and hoping in God.
Throughout Abraham’s lifetime, God continued to remind Abraham of His promises:
I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. - Genesis 12:2 NIV
I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. - Genesis 13:16 NIV
He took him outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars--if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” - Genesis 15:5 NIV
I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me. - Genesis 22:17-18 NIV
Through God’s repetition of these promises, He was reassuring Abraham that these things would soon come to pass and calling Abraham to trust Him. Abraham had two sons in his old age, but he was obviously not going to live long enough to see the numerous descendants God promised to him. So how did Abraham believe God when he would never see these promises come to fruition? Abraham remembered all the ways God had blessed him before.
God protected Abraham and Sarah when they entered Egypt (Genesis 12:10-20), God made Abraham wealthy (Genesis 13:2), Abraham was able to rescue his nephew and recover his possessions (Genesis 14:12-16), Abraham heard confirmation from God when he expressed doubt (Genesis 15:1-21), God made it possible for Abraham to have sons in his old age (Genesis 16:16, 17:17-19) and God spared Abraham’s son Isaac (Genesis 22:12-14). In addition to these blessings, Abraham also remembered who God was and always will be: Sovereign, Almighty, and Good. Abraham was humbled by all these unforeseen circumstances and still chose to obey and follow God.
We should all remember the ways God has blessed us. We should also remember the times He humbled us and we obeyed and saw Him as God. The God of Abraham who is a Promise Keeper is the same God we worship and pray to, so why don’t we believe that if He kept His promises to Abraham, He will keep His promises to us? We can wait on Him, trusting that one day, those promises will come to fruition whether we see it or not. We only hope in God and not in this world because He will always be faithful to His Word, even when the world breaks its promises.
1. What doubts do you have about your life or about the state of the world?
2. In what ways has God blessed you?
3. How can you begin to have a faith like Abraham’s?
Father, thank You for giving us the example of a faithful servant like Abraham. He never saw Your promise come into fruition, but He still believed. Help me believe the promises You have for me and for this broken world. Help me to trust You and hope in You instead of looking to this world to satisfy. Test my faith and make me humble and more obedient to You. Amen.
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