Every Thought Captive

Seed of Abraham

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.”

So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.

After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Behold, You have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” And behold, the word of the LORD came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” And He brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then He said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” And he believed the LORD, and He counted it to him as righteousness.

And He said to him, “I am the LORD who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.” But he said, “O Lord GOD, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” And he brought Him all these, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other. But he did not cut the birds in half. And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.

As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him. Then the LORD said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”

When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land."

But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

Genesis 12:1-7, 15:1-18; Galatians 3:25-29

Genesis 17 describes a common ritual practice that would occur to ratify a covenant in the Ancient Near East; the two participants would dismember animals, lay them side-by-side, and then walk between the pieces to symbolize that their own death would be like that of the animals if their end of the agreement is broken.

But notice, in this passage, there is only one who partakes in “passing between the pieces,” God. In doing so, God signed the contract for both parties. God swears on His Own life the covenant will be kept contingent upon God’s faithfulness to Himself. Abram’s ability to remain faithful to the covenant or not would never actually hinder God from giving him all that He promised in Genesis 12, because there is only one true promise keeper, God. This is a recurring theme seen throughout the rest of the Old Testament story: God always keeps His promises.

Do you believe God always keeps His promises? Many characters in the Old Testament narrative had to wait an extended period of time before the fulfillment of something God had promised them. Other characters did not get to participate in a promise God made to them in the way they perhaps thought they would. And some characters did not even live to see God’s promise come to fruition.

The culmination of God’s promise keeping becomes incarnate on a dark night in Bethlehem. God condescended to be with us, Emmanuel, who put on flesh to carry a cross unto death. Christ’s death was the death that Abram, and every single one of us, deserved to die for our unfaithfulness to our Creator. However, Christ’s resurrection proved that even death could not stop God from keeping His promises. For those of us who are in Christ, we have great hope in this truth. Because of His finished work, we have died to death with Christ and have in turn been raised to life in Him. We are the promised seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:29), eternally part of God’s family–heirs with Christ and the future recipients of a promised inheritance awaiting us in heaven.

“For all the promises of God find their Yes in Him (Christ).” (2 Corinthians 1:20a) We can believe the promises of God to be true in our lives because God has been, and will always be, faithful to Himself to keep His promises.

When we look back to the first Advent of Christ, we see the culmination and fulfillment of every promise God made in the Old Testament. As we look forward to the second Advent of Christ, we hope in the realization of God’s ultimate promise to redeem humanity and fully reconcile His children to Himself. Since we walk in the period of time between these two events, we are able to view both of Christ’s Advents simultaneously. Looking back to His first coming, we see that the Lord is faithful and keeps His promises. As we look to His second coming in light of His first, we can have the utmost confidence that what God has told us will come to pass–that He will dwell with us for eternity (Revelation 21:3). Because of this, we can have immense hope during this Advent season, fixing our eyes on Christ who is the ultimate fulfilment of all God’s promises, both past and future.

About the Author

Photograph of Cam Close

Cam Close

Ministry Leader to Young Adult Women

Park Cities Presbyterian Church

Cam is from Oklahoma but has found her home in Texas at PCPC as the Ministry Leader for Young Women. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree at Reformed Theological Seminary. Cam loves finding ways to be creative, teaching God’s Word, watching movies, and spending time with her friends.