OT19 | Eden to Exile

NT Connect: Galatians 3:1-29

Weekly Reading: Genesis 16-20

The One Promised to Abraham

Last week in our Genesis reading, we saw that God made promises to Abraham regarding blessing, land, and offspring. Scripture tells us that in response, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness (Gen.15:6). Abraham believed that God would keep his promise but was unsure as to how God would do it. This week, we read in Genesis 16 that, when time had passed and Sarah was still childless, some pragmatism led Abraham and Sarah to enlist the help of Hagar to bring about an heir. So Ishmael was born, but, in chapter 17, we read that God said “no” to Ishmael and instead reiterated his promise, saying that Sarah would have a son who would be named Isaac. Though Abraham and Sarah giggled a bit at the prospect of being century-old parents, they were convinced that God was able to do what he had promised (Rom. 4:21).

God showed Abraham that his offspring would not come from man’s efforts but rather as the result of the promise of God. The promises made to Abraham were not to be achieved by his work but only received by faith as a gift. All of this was pointing forward to the fact that, ultimately, God’s promises to Abraham were about far more than Isaac, land, or even the Jewish nation. His promises were about Christ and those who would be called the sons of God through faith (Gal. 3:16, 26).

God’s purpose was that Abraham would be the father of all those who also walk in the footsteps of faith as Abraham did (Rom. 4:11-12). We can see this purpose clearly in Galatians 3. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul addressed a flawed view of some in Galatia who believed that Gentiles must first become Jews before they could be Christians. To them, being a Jew meant keeping the law. Paul, however, pointed them to the example of their forefather, Abraham, in order to show that being Abraham’s true offspring was not contingent upon man’s effort but rather the promise of God in Christ (Gal. 3:7-9). Paul reiterated that being God’s people, Abraham’s true spiritual offspring, was not a thing to be achieved by keeping the law, but rather was to be received as a gift through faith in Christ, who redeemed them from the curse of the law (Gal. 3:10-14). As Paul told the Galatians, “If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise”(Gal. 3:29).

When you think about your relationship with God, what first comes to mind? How you have been doing or what God has already done? All too often we first think about achieving in regard to our relationship with God rather than simply receiving by faith all that God has done for us in Christ. Today, look away from your performance and, like Abraham, trust God. Believe that God is able to do all that He has promised us in Christ.

Benji Lavender