Promises of Provision

Covenant Promises (5)

“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 12:3

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God on His Side
Thus far we have seen two pairs of promises that outline the precious and very great covenant promises of God, first declared to Abraham, and now available to all who share the faith of Abraham by believing in Jesus Christ as our covenant-keeping Savior and King.

A third pair of promises so enticed Abraham that he preferred them to the comfort and security of his wealthy and successful existence in Ur of the Chaldees. These relate to the way that God intended to protect Abraham, to provide for him, and to ensure a legacy for him throughout the course of history.

As a blessed people, a great nation with a powerful name and blessings to spread around, Abraham and his descendents would attract the attention of many nations and peoples. Some would be eager to support and assist Abraham; others would threaten to dominate him. But God promised to bless those nations that treated him favorably and to curse all those who treated him with dishonor.

God, that is, promised to meet all Abraham’s needs and to care for him intimately.

Promises of Greatness

Covenant Promises (4)

“And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great…” Genesis 12:2

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The Beginning of God’s Promises
The God of heaven and earth, Who made the vast cosmos and upholds it by His power, invited Abraham to become His friend and companion, to dwell in His presence, and to know the fullness of joy and pleasure that only God can give. God promised to bless Abraham, to make friends and enter into a bond of peace with the patriarch, and then to use him as way of extending that bond of peace to others as well.

This “blessing” of God—blessed to be a blessing—is the beginning of God’s promises. All those who share the faith of Abraham begin their quest for God’s promises just here: reaching out to receive God’s blessing with a view to offering that blessing to others.

We cannot enter the worldview of the promises of God unless we come through this door of blessing. In being blessed our sins are forgiven through Jesus Christ and the scales are removed from our eyes, spiritual scales that keep us from seeing the beauty, goodness, and truth of God. Being blessed leads to blessing others.

Promises of Blessing

Covenant Promises (3)

“… and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” Genesis 12:2

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Compelling Promises, Indeed
The promises God offered to Abraham, vague as they seem at first glance, must have been very compelling.

Abraham, after all, was a wealthy man, with a bright future. He was from a prominent family and worshiped the local deities along with all his neighbors. Life was good, and, as Abraham saw it, it could only get better, following in the promises he and his family had known for generations. Abraham had it all, or so it seemed.

But having it all in Ur of the Chaldees apparently wasn’t all it was cut out to be. Something in Abraham longed for brighter prospects, bigger challenges, greater promises. For when God appeared to him in his native land and spoke His precious and very great promises to Abraham, he did not hesitate to abandon everything he knew and loved in order to go in pursuit of the promises of God.

Promises: Guaranteed!

Covenant Promises (2)

That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all. Romans 4:16

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Precious and Very Great
Human beings are made to live by promises. Living by promises is part of what sets us apart from the animals as image-bearers of God. We live our lives toward the hopes and expectations we hold out for ourselves—the promises we believe our actions will achieve.

But very often, because our worldview is faulty, those promises can elude or disappoint us, leaving us flat and unfulfilled, and looking for more and better promises. Jesus, the Scriptures tell us, offers “better promises” to those who trust in Him, who live within the framework of God’s covenant and a Biblical worldview, and who hope in the glory of God.

Peter describes the promises of Jesus as “precious and very great” and says that, as we lay hold on these promises, we actually participate in the very life of God (2 Pet. 1:4).

Now that’s an amazing promise!


People and Promises

Covenant Promises (1)

But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. Hebrews 8:6

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Image-Bearers, Not Animals
Christians should be careful about acquiescing in the easy way that evolutionary thinkers classify human beings as just another—albeit higher—form of animal. Humans are not animals. We are the image-bearers of God, and, as such, there is much to distinguish us from animals.

For example, consider our orientation to everyday life. Whereas animals perform their daily routines—hunting, mating, raising their young, and whatever else animals do—largely on the basis of genetic predisposition and past experience, human beings take an altogether different approach to life. Animals are instinctive in their behavior; human beings are anticipatory.

What I mean by this is, animal behavior is guided, for the most part, by built-up experience and genetic inheritance—what animals have known and done in the past, and how their genetic make-up predisposes them to act.

The New Covenant

Covenant of Promise (7)

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jeremiah 31:31-34

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Covenant and Kingdom
In the New Testament the covenant God had entered into with His people, and the Kingdom He had promised from the days of Jacob onwards, come together in a single Person—our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus represents the fulfillment of all the precious and very great promises of God (2 Pet. 1:4; 2 Cor. 1:20). He is the King of Israel and the Lord of all lords. His Kingdom has come with power (Acts 1:8; 1 Cor. 4:20), power which is reconciling all things back to God (2 Cor. 5:17-21) and making all things new (Rev. 21:5).

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