Abraham, Sarah, & Isaac • Devotion #1: Abrahamic Covenant
Chuck Lindsey | Reach Pastor
“After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.’ But Abram said, ‘Lord God, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?’ Then Abram said, ‘Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!’ And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.’ Then He brought him outside and said, ‘Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.’ And He said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness. Then He said to him, ‘I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to inherit it.’ And he said, ‘Lord God, how shall I know that I will inherit it?’ So He said to him, ‘Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.’ Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, down the middle, and placed each piece opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds in two. And when the vultures came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away. Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him. Then He said to Abram: ‘Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions. Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.’ 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, saying: ‘To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates—the Kenites, the Kenezzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.’” Genesis 15:1-21 NKJV
Abraham is the father of the Hebrew people. But the story of how he became a father is nothing short of a miracle from God. Their story begins in the city of Haran where Abraham and Sarah are married. Like any newly married young couple, they (and everyone else) expected children to come along soon after. A year went by, and they have no children. “No problem, we will just be patient, it is God’s timing.” Two years pass, still no children. “Well, the Lord is in control, maybe we will have the doctor take a look.” Three years come and go, still nothing. “This is getting serious.” Soon five years had passed. “We have tried everything.” Five years stretched into ten, ten languished into twenty, twenty years painfully became thirty, until finally, all hope had diminished.
Over the years, I have met many Abraham’s and Sarah’s. They are couples who begin with great hope and expectation but have watched the years tick by them. The hope they once had, has disappointed and has finally been abandoned. By the time we see them in Genesis chapter 15, they are nearly 90 years old. Abraham and Sarah had given up hope of having children long before this age. It is realistic to say that the dream had been dead for 40 years!
So then God came to Abraham and said, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” Is it any wonder that in pain we heard Abraham cry out, “I know I have You, but I do not have children!” The dream may have died, but the pain had not.
Abraham goes on to say in verse 3, “Look YOU have given me no offspring.” Then came the promise from God. Verse 4 says, “…one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” Understand what is happening here. God is promising Abraham that he and Sarah are going to have a child. Not only that but in verse 5, God tells Abraham that an entire nation and race of people are going to come from him. Abraham, with one promise from God, went from being both childless and having no heir, to have a son and an entire nation of people as his posterity. One promise from God changed everything.
The importance of what happens next cannot be overstated. Verse 6 simply says, “And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” Abraham believed, not just in what God was promising to do, Abraham believed in the God who was making the promise. The promises of God always require a decision. It is to believe or disbelieve. But that decision is always a decision about God Himself. Abraham at that moment, was faced with a choice. Is God, GOD? Is He true? Is He good? Is He able? All of this was decided in a moment until we read, “and he believed in the Lord.” He trusted the God who was making the promise and the result was Abraham’s eternal salvation. The way verse 6 is written in the Hebrew language (original language of the Old Testament), it literally says, “and God put righteousness/sinlessness into Abraham’s account.” To illustrate exactly what happened here, think about it this way: Abraham’s “spiritual” credit cards were completely maxed out, he was drowning in the debt of his own “righteousness” (or lack thereof), he was losing everything, and was headed to prison for all that he owed. But God made a deposit into Abraham’s spiritual bank account. In one moment of belief, God deposited billions and billions of dollars, here called “righteousness” into Abraham’s eternal account. Not only was his debt paid, but he had been gifted the righteousness of God. Abraham was saved simply because he believed. He believed in the God who made the promise and salvation was given to him.
From that moment forward God spoke about Abraham’s future as though it had already happened and treated Abraham like a son. Every promise from God came to pass. The Jewish nation is the result. Amazing!
What God did for Abraham, He will do for you. Abraham’s story is the prototype story of how God saves men and women; by merely believing. We are saved when we believe the God who makes these promises. Abraham was not saved by his righteousness, his “goodness,” or his efforts. We will not be either. Like you and I, because of sin, Abraham owed an incredible debt that would have sent him to a debtor’s prison (Hell) forever. But he believed God. Do you? The Lord says, “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” There is your choice. Believe or disbelieve. Do you need to be saved? Will God save? Is He good? Is He able? If you will admit your need, confess your sin to God, and believe, then you, like Abraham will have salvation deposited into your eternal account.