Abraham, Hagar, & Ishmael • Devotion #2: Promise to Abraham
Roger Allen | Recovery Director
In the summer of 1981, Kayla and I became husband and wife. We were married in a small church on the outskirts of Clare, Michigan. We were excited to begin our new life and the challenges we would face. Through many trials and hardships, we have remained together, and we are more in love than ever before. Our individualism is slowly evaporating and becoming as the Bible says “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Through a miscarriage and a failed adoption, our marriage has persevered. We are now in that stage of life where we no longer dream of children. The circle of life looks different to us than most couples.
In Genesis chapter 15, we find a similar situation. Abram, while still childless, asks what the Lord would have for him. With no child, his only successor is Eliezer of Damascus, who is at best a surrogate for an heir. Possibly a servant or extended family member, he was the only suitable successor. At least he would be one who would take care of them in their old age (and inherit their wealth). Led outside, the Lord shows Abram the heaven overhead and says; “And he brought him outside and said, ‘Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be’” (Genesis 15:5).
To a man as old as Abram (possibly in his eighties), this must have seemed a bold yet comforting promise. Abram and Sarai’s wish to have a legitimate heir would ultimately be fulfilled. Genesis 15:6 says, “And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.”
Because of his belief, Abram became the “father of many nations.” The Lord became his protector and shield. His reward was great. What does that mean to us? How do we see the promise of God in our lives? I remember when I was first saved, I read most of the Bible within the first seven to ten days. I had an insatiable desire to learn the Word of God. One of the first verses I read was Romans 8:29 (CSB), which says, “For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”
The moment I read this verse, I realized what the Lord had promised. That through me, many in my family would be saved and come to know Him. To see that unfold in my life is a comforting example of the Lord’s promise. I am so glad that the prayers of my faithful wife were heard those many years ago. You see, it was not until I was forty-six years old when I accepted Christ, and I received the great reward.
“And now I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good things that the Lord your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed.” Joshua 23:14