Chronological Study · Essay

Promises, Blessings, and a Blazing Torch

My church is going through a chronological study of the Bible, and, honestly, I’m a little behind on it, but I’m still reading every day. Today, I thought I’d share what I read and some of the things that stood out to me—hopefully this will be a daily thing with a few in-depth posts along the way as well.

Today the reading was Genesis chapters 12-15. I just finished the book of Job and now I’m into the life of Abraham. I think the more I read the Bible, and the older I get, the more I relate to these people and their very human, imperfect reactions to things; but, at the same time I am still amazed by the incredible faith they have.

In this section of reading we see Abram (he hasn’t made it to his name change yet, so I’m just going to stick to Abram here) following God boldly, making a few mistakes along the way, but following God and growing regardless.

God calls him out of his home beginning in chapter 12, and He promises Abram that He will make him a “great nation” and that Abram will be a “blessing”—eventually to the entire world (12:1-4).

What stands out to me here is that God is including an ordinary guy in His plan to redeem the entire world.

When I think of Abraham’s entire life I think about how he talked with God, how God made him amazing promises, about all the other impressive things that happened around him, and about the covenant that was established. At the same time, I also think about some of the big mistakes that he makes from the very beginning. If you read through the whole story and highlighted everything he did that was wrong, you’d probably be able to highlight a lot of things. He’s just a regular guy being drawn into God’s intentionally orchestrated plan for salvation.

Abram’s life has already been marked by the power of God in these four chapters. One place this stands out is in chapter 15. This portion of the story is packed with a demonstration of God’s love and provision.

In chapter 15, God speaks to Abram. (note: this is after Abram lies about his wife in Egypt and after Lot decides to live near Sodom. If I were able to decide who was in this plan to redeem the world, I might skip over Abram, but read what happens). God tells Abram that his descendants will be as numerous as the stars in the sky, Abram believes him, and God “[credits] it to him as righteousness.” Sound familiar? Like maybe what we talk about salvation? Let’s keep going.

There’s also this point after God speaks that promise where He gives Abram an assurance that He will keep this promise. Now, I do not understand all the technical details to this kind of sacrifice/covenant, but this was a very serious thing. God didn’t have to give Abram this assurance that He would keep His word, but He did.

I believe that God treats us the same way, although we probably won’t see visions like Abram did. He continuously shows Himself faithful to us, and that He will keep His promises.

This first demonstration of His faithful love to us individually was when He called us out to follow Him, and then credited our faith in Him as righteousness. That’s not our own righteousness because of what we did, but because of the forgiveness we can obtain through His Son’s blood.

Romans 3:10 tells us that “there is none righteous, no, not one” but the rest of the chapter continues to say that by our faith in Jesus we can be forgiven and justified by His grace (Romans 3: 10-26).

The fact that we have the Bible, to me, is another major way we see that He proves his love towards us even further. It shows that from the very beginning of the world God has loved us and we are made with intention. Nothing is randomly here. It all works to His glory—and trust me that His plan is definitely for the ultimate good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

Not to mention the very fact that because of Jesus we can have a personal relationship with God Almighty like Abram did. That’s just a glimpse of how much He loves us and that He desires our fellowship and worship! I can’t think of a reasonable explanation to God needing us. He made the universe and has awesome power, but He chooses to involve us and show us grace and mercy when we don’t deserve it. He. loves. us.

Even though I write all that about God’s love and forgiveness, maybe you’re like me and sometimes all you can see is the way Abram didn’t get it right. That he messed up A LOT during his life. And, maybe that’s how you’re looking at your own life.

Today, take this assurance that God gave Abram that He is faithful in His promises. Including the ones about how He can forgive us of our unrighteousness (1 John 1:9), and that nothing you can do can separate you from His love (Romans 8:38-9). That doesn’t mean we continue to live in sin because of grace and forgiveness (Romans 6:1-14), and it also doesn’t mean that we won’t still struggle against temptation and sin. It does mean that God’s promises are not dependent on what we can do. We are called to live a life of repentance and submission to God, but we are saved and forgiven by faith in His power, and His grace alone (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Just like God used Abram despite his flaws, He can use us.

–Liz

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