After receiving a profound word and promise (including a word of promise but also a word of warning to the entire world) Abram thought seriously enough, and responded wisely enough, of God’s appearance and promise that he up and moved himself and all of his people and all of his belongings to a land he did not know. Abram is the father of faith, and in this writing, for our admonition, he represents all people of faith – people still quite susceptible to being quite human.
THE WORD AND THE WARNING TO THE WORLD:
1 Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.
2 I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse (ARAR) him who curses (QALAL) you; (actually: “I will curse those who don’t esteem you as highly as I do”)
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
4 So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.
5 Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan.
Two verses later Abram receives this confirmation word from the Lord re his descendants:
7 Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.
BIG PROBLEM: Abram and Sarai were old, and childless. Abram was 75. He didn’t have any descendants.
THREE CHAPTERS OF WARFARE-VICTORY LATER:
1 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.”
MEANWHILE ABRAM REMEMBERED THE UNFULFILLED “DESCENDANTS” PROMISE(S) AND QUESTIONS GOD:
2 But Abram said, “Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?”
ABRAM’S SOLUTION TO GOD’S PROMISE AMIDST THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF THE NATURAL (THE GUY IS 75 YEARS OLD):
3 Then Abram said, “Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!”
BUT GOD WAS INTENT ON HIS BLESSING AND ON HIS FULFILLMENT OF HIS WORD, HIS WAY:
4 And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “This one (not even naming Eliezer) shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.”
AND GOD’S GOODNESS OVERRIDES THE POTENTIAL FOR FRUSTRATION WITH ABRAM TRYING TO SOLVE THINGS BY HIMSELF:
5 Then He (God) brought him (Abram) 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.”
6 And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.
ONE CHAPTER FORWARD – NOW IT’S SARAI’S TURN TO IMPROVISE – AND SARAI’S IMPROV EVEN ADDRESSES THE PROMISE OF GEN 15:4 (that the lineage would be from Abram’s own body. His seed):
1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar.
2 So Sarai said to Abram, “See now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai.
3 Then Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar her maid, the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan.
(WHAT A GUY, THAT ABRAM. HE SLEEPS WITH HAGAR – FOR HIS WIFE’S SAKE, AND TO HELP GOD FULFILL GOD’S OWN PLAN. Hmmmm.)
4 So he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress became despised in her eyes.
5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “My wrong be upon you! I gave my maid into your embrace; and when she saw that she had conceived, I became despised in her eyes. The LORD judge between you and me.”
6 So Abram said to Sarai, “Indeed your maid is in your hand; do to her as you please.” And when Sarai dealt harshly with her, she fled from her presence.
THE LORD DOES GO ON TO VISIT HAGAR AND HER SON, TO BE NAMED ISHMAEL. The kindness of the Lord is even extended towards this failed attempt by Abram and Sarai (and Hagar) to make things happen.
HOWEVER: FROM ISHMAEL WAS TO SPRING THE ARAB NATION, THE BIRTHPLACE OF ISLAM, A MONSTROUS AND PRIMARY COMPONENT OF THE INCREASINGLY HOSTILE NEMESIS OF ISRAEL, TO THIS DAY. And we find that Ishmael later aligns with sell-out Esau to become Edom, and the plot thickens and the pot boils even to this very day, as we can still look forward in the prophetic scriptures to see the forthcoming conflicts and battles that will take place prior to the conclusion of this age, with these specific people-groups playing a huge role in the theodrama.
BACK TO OUR GENESIS STORY: THEN WHAT?
God in His great mercy is still intent on fulfilling HIS word to Abram and Sarai.
1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless.
2 And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.”
3 Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying:
4 “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations.
5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations.
6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you.
7 And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.
8 Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”
9 And God said to Abraham: “As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations.
15 Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name.
16 And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.”
17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?”
18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!” (NO NOT THAT!)
19 Then God said: “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him.
Great promise. Great God. Great story. But why write about it now, in these trying times?
ANS: (One man’s opinion here, at EZ3728) We are living in times of intense scriptural fulfillment (every jot and tittle), and the word of the Lord is understandably alive and active, along with the Psalm 2 nations raging, the bubbling prophecies concerning the Lord’s imminent return in Isaiah, Zechariah, Obadiah, Ezekiel, Matt 24 and elsewhere. We are clearly not living in boring times, saints.
By His Spirit, by by His word, by the supernatural, and even by the natural, our God is speaking to His people. Joel told us (and Peter confirmed) there would be great outpourings of prophetic activity in these times. Signs, wonders, visions, dreams.
When God moves, we are called to move.
When He speaks, we are called to believe and to respond.
And by His word being in us, we are called to be equipped to discern what is of Him and what is not. What is in line with His personality and plans, and what is not.
But (please don’t miss this) – we are not called to make things happen unless and until we know it is the Lord. And in fact this brief study is a poster-child representation as to how bad things can get when we determine to accomplish the will of God our way instead of His way, whether we logically or physically or even “spiritually” go about solving things our way.
The fulfillment must be the work of the Lord.
Those who wait for Him succeed.
There’s a flip-side to that truth.
The good intention/suggestion of Abram for Eliezer to fulfill the role of Abram’s blessed descendant was fortunately shut down by God Himself (Gen 15:2-3)
But then Sarai even brings some spirituality into her suggestion-for-fulfillment, recognizing the descendants were to be from Abram’s own body. And with Abram’s cooperation, the result was/remains quite a spiritual disaster.
Our God-of-the-impossible often purposely sets up the impossible for Him to be glorified. It is the bible storyline. It tests the saints, it startles the unbelieving world, it maximizes our God’s glory.
Our God-graced stubborn and holy willingness to wait on the Lord and to not manufacture (make things happen) by our own good intent, or plan, or panic, or purpose, will assure us success.
The weapons of our warfare are ready for the great spiritual battle, to pull down strongholds.
2 Corinthians 10:4-6
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,
5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
AND WHEN DO THE STRONGHOLDS COME DOWN:
6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.
20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope;
21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.
23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
Expect the work of the Spirit in your life. Posture yourself for spiritual understanding. Pray in the Spirit. Live in the Spirit. Obey the Spirit. See the glory of God revealed in you, for you, through you.
All scripture NKJV