Message of the Day: God’s Promise of Blessing Through Abraham Was Fulfilled In Jesus Christ
Text: Genesis 15:1-21
Key Verse: Genesis 15:17-18
“And it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces. On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram….” (NKJV)
God’s dealings with Abraham is described as a covenant. In chapter 15 God promises Abraham a great reward. Abraham inquires on how this can be, since he has no children to inherit the blessings. God further said that Abraham’s descendants will be one be as numerous as the stars of the sky. He also promised that he will give the land to Abraham’s descendants. Though they will sojourners to foreign lands for four hundred years but God will restore them and bring them back to inherit Canaan, the Promised Land. And when Abraham questions God’s promises, God initiates a covenant ceremony. In the Old Testament, “covenant” (Heb. berit) is a binding agreement between two parties, either individuals or nations. In this particular covenant ceremony, Abraham cuts three animals “in two, down the middle, and placed each piece opposite the other…” (Gen. 15:10) Then God passed through the animals in the form of a smoking firepot. This well-known and solemn covenant ceremony, signified an oath between the parties of covenant that “May it be so done to me if I do not keep my oath and pledge. Thus, God indicates that if he does not keep his promise, he will be torn limb from limb like these animals. This is the covenant that God made with Abraham.
God alone passed between the pieces of the slaughtered animals, because he alone took the responsibility to fulfill the covenant promises. All was by God’s grace, and was received by Abraham through faith. Yet Abraham felt a terrifying darkness upon him, for the covenant would be fulfilled amid opposition, bondage, judgment and oppression over a period of hundreds of years. God would be patient with the peoples of Canaan and give them enough time and opportunity to repent. Only when their wickedness had reached uncontrollable limits would he allow Israel to destroy them and possess their land.
The reason God established the descendants of Abraham as the nation Israel was chiefly to use Israel to produce Jesus the Savior. God’s promise of worldwide blessing through Abraham was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, through whom people of all nations may receive God’s salvation. Jesus Christ was, in a special sense, the promised descendant of Abraham (Luke 1:54-55, 72-73; Gal. 3:16). When believers become Christ’s people, they become, through him, Abraham’s descendants also, and so share in the blessings promised to Abraham (Romans 4:16-17; Galatians 3:6-9, 14, 29; Eph. 3:6). The permanent rest God gives them is more than a dwelling place in Canaan; it is salvation through Jesus Christ (Heb. 4:6-10).
At this point, I would like to highlight Galatians 3:6-9, it says, …just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham. (NKJV)
We are saved not because we have obeyed the law, but because, just like Abraham, we believed in God. The real children of Abraham are not those who have kept the law, but those who have been saved by faith. God keeps his covenant with Abraham up to this time and the age to come.
Bartholomew, Craig G. and Goheen, Michael W. The Drama of Scripture. Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 2004.
Boadt, Lawrence. Reading the Old Testament. An Introduction. Manila, Philippines: St. Pauls, 2003.
Zondervan NASB Study Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1999.
MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.
Olive Tree Bible Software, 1998-2020.
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