A Sure Commitment: The Covenant with Abraham

Anyone who has moved knows the stress of packing up, saying goodbye to friends and family, and then transitioning into a new neighborhood. How much harder it must have been for 75-year-old Abram, who was called to leave everything and move to a new country!

God’s call and covenant with Abram demonstrated His initiative and commitment to the promise of Genesis 3. Where Adam and Eve experienced the loss of Eden, God promised Abram the land of Canaan as an “everlasting possession” (17:8), an abundant land “flowing with milk and honey” (Deut. 31:20). Moreover, instead of curses, Abram received God’s blessing: “I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing” (12:2). And do not miss the universal scope of God’s intention. This covenant was not just for Abram and his descendants; instead, “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (12:3).

Most important, the covenant with Abram reaffirmed God’s commitment to the promise of “offspring” in Genesis 3:15. God told Abram that he would be a “great nation” (12:2) and “very fruitful” (17:6); to Abram’s “offspring I will give this land” (12:7). The crux of the promise is summed up in the name change: “Your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations” (17:5).

At the heart of the Abrahamic covenant was God’s original intention for relationship with His creation—“to be your God and the God of your descendants after you” (17:7). Abraham would have to wait decades to see the beginning of God’s promise of offspring, and it took millennia until the ultimate “offspring” arrived in the person of Christ (Gal. 3:16). Nevertheless, God always remains true to His word. The history from Abram to Christ makes that clear.

Apply the Word

God desires to bless us and be in relationship with us, even when the confusions and detours of life raise doubts. Who in your life needs encouraged about God’s faithfulness to His word and to us? Seek that person out and offer a reminder that the coming of Christ demonstrates God’s deep love and commitment to each of us.

Pray with Us

Pray for the Moody Radio’s WMBI Chicago team: Desiree Owen, Diana Berryman, and Hannah Pflederer. They encourage people, bring them the gospel, and expand Moody’s reach by bringing more people in the Chicagoland into the Moody community.

BY Bryan Stewart

Bryan A. Stewart is associate professor of religion at McMurry University in Abilene, Texas. His particular interests are the history of Christian thought and the way that early Christians interpreted the biblical canon. He is the editor of a volume on the Gospel of John in The Church’s Bible series (Eerdmans), and he has done extensive research on the ways that the early Church preached on this Gospel. He is an ordained minister.