And if you are Christ’s then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
As I have dug deeper into the lives of Anna, Hannah and Mary, I am struck by the tangible demonstration of the promises of the Covenant and why theology matters every day, but especially when life comes crashing down around us.
In Today’s Treasure we read that if we belong to Christ, then we are Abraham’s offspring. Why is that important and helpful when suffering? Because if we belong to Jesus and we are Abraham’s offspring then we are heirs to everything God promised to Abraham. It seems important, then, that we understand at least a little about the promises God made to Abraham. Both Mary’s and Hannah’s songs reference these promises throughout. They worshipped God because they were confident He was keeping the covenantal promises He made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
I admit that though I loved and taught women’s Bible studies for twenty-five years before the death of our son, I did not really grasp how the exchange between Abraham and God recorded in Genesis practically affected me and could help equip me to walk by faith, no matter the circumstances. After Mark’s death, those promises deepened my faith and gave me a roadmap for walking this pathway of grief.
Abraham was not looking for God. In fact, many believe he was a moon worshiper when God called him to be his child:
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Genesis 12:1-3 ESV
Later in Genesis 15, God not only soothes Abraham’s fear with the declaration: “Don’t be afraid, I will go with you”, He also makes an official covenant with Abraham. These promises are the ones referenced by Paul in Galatians 3:29.
Once more, a devotional limits our ability to unpack such great truths. Great theologians have written volumes unpacking this exchange between God and Abraham. My purpose is to whet your appetite for digging deep into this beautiful conversation and discovering precious promises that belong to you, if you belong to Jesus.
In a nutshell, God promised Abraham that He (God) would give Abraham a land where he would build a great nation. He promised to bless Abraham and to make his name great so that Abraham would be a blessing to others. God promises He will bless those who bless Abraham and that through Abraham, all families in the earth will be blessed.
I especially love when God responds to Abraham’s confusion with this promise:
Fear not, Abram; I am your shield. Your reward will be very great.
Genesis 15:1 ESV
In these words is the promise of God’s presence, a promise that cannot be broken by our God who cannot lie.
What is your default mode when life comes crashing down? Think back to the beginning of this devotional when we talked about the importance of having a mission statement. When life takes us on a pathway we didn’t expect, reviewing our mission statement helps us stay focused and purposeful. The promises of the covenant that are ours if we belong to Jesus help remind me of my own mission statement:
Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.
Every time I am part of a worship service, Bible study, or other gathering of believers, I am experiencing the keeping of God’s promise to create a community, a family. Every time I experience encouragement from someone in that family, I am a recipient of the promises God made to Abraham. When I offer encouragement to someone else, I know that I am experiencing God keeping His promise to make His children a blessing. Every time my emotions cry out that God has forgotten me, that He is far away, the promise of God’s presence that was made to Abraham reminds me that God is not far away. He is very near. Every time I am afraid, this conversation between God and Abraham and many other people in Scripture encourages me to trust that I do not need to be afraid, because God is with me. Whenever life feels too hard and impossible, I remind myself that I am one day closer to arriving Home, that eternal promised land.
Once more I ask, what is your default mode, your auto response to disappointment or circumstances beyond your control that wreak havoc in your life? Is the sun shining in your life right now? Take advantage of this time to dig deep in God’s Word and hide it in your heart. Recognize that theology matters and can build a strong system, ready to help carry you when your emotions want to explode in agony.
Father, Your word makes our hearts sing with joy like Hannah and Mary. Not because of us, but because of Your love for us and the absolute confidence that You are keeping the promises of Your Covenant.