This morning’s reading is packed with so many familiar stories and allusions to Christ that it’s difficult to chose what to write about. But there is one storyline that stands out to me every time I read these chapters, and it starts with God’s call to Abram.
Abram lives in Ur with his family, taking care of his nephew Lot, when all of a sudden, a voice from the heavens tells Abram to move to Caanan with his entire household. Here are the words that he hears:
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)
Unlike the Enoch, Noah, and Job before him, Abram is not said to have walked with God or even known God. We are simply told who he is and that God called him. Not only that, but God does not require anything of Abram except that he go. Notice how many times God says “I will” in just three short verses. God promises all these things for Abram simply out of His gracious will.
The culmination of this promise leads us to the end of chapter 15, when God makes a blood covenant with Abram in order to seal the promise. Following the custom of the times, Abram divides certain animals and lays them on the ground. This would be followed by the two covenanting parties walking between the animals together, each promising to uphold their end of the bargain. But God does not allow that. He puts Abram under a deep sleep and walks between the animals alone! This means that God’s covenant with Abram is not based on whether Abram is faithful to God, but on God’s faithfulness to Abram.
Why should this matter for us? Because that covenant is still in place today. God’s sovereign choice to call and covenant with Abram completely on the basis of His own faithfulness is binding on us today in Christ. Christ is the offspring in Whom all the families of the world are blessed, and we, as heirs with Christ are Abraham’s children, God’s chosen people. Chosen not on the basis of our own faithfulness, but on God’s faithfulness. We who are in Christ are those whom Paul calls “children of the promise” in Romans 9:8. We are children of God, adopted on the same basis that Abram was called, the Sovereign Grace of God. And we long for the day when the children return to live with the Father forever!