We’ve been studying the book of Genesis in our Wednesday night Bible Study at church. We’ve spent the last several weeks discussing Abram. (We haven’t gotten to the part where his name was changed yet.)
It is through Abraham that God reveals his purpose and his goal for the universe. It was in his promises to Abraham that God reveals that He has a plan.
Genesis 11:10-32 traces the genealogy of Abraham. In chapter 12, God calls Abram to leave his home and go to a land He would show him. I don’t know about you but I’d be asking God exactly where is that land I am headed to…. I like to map out my direction in life. Abram obeyed and left without knowing the destination. God continues to make promises to Abram.
I will. These words introduce the covenant promises in Genesis 12:2-3.
I will make you a great and mighty nation.
I will bless you and make your name great.
I will make you a blessing. From Abraham came the people of Israel.
I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you.
In you will all the families of the earth be blessed.
To your descendants I will give this land.
The purposes of God, and the future of Israel, are focused on a particular place, Palestine. As we read on into the Bible, we realize that these first promises give the Jewish people their sense of identity.
Perhaps this overview will help define this.
Genesis 12 – Abrahamic Covenant – (see the I wills above)
Genesis 15 -
- covenant to Abraham’s physical seed
- land defined: Euphrates to Nile
- covenant with physical seed, forever
- land of Canaan everlasting possession
2 Samuel 7 – Davidic Covenant
- David’s line a royal family forever
- David’s kingdom to be forever
- Chastisement provided for, but kingdom to last forever
Jeremiah 30 – 31 New Covenant
- Abrahamic promises reconfirmed
- Davidic promises reconfirmed
- Summary of elements
- physical seed of Abraham in view
- Davidic line through which covenant fulfillment is realized
- land of Canaan in view
- New Covenant made with Israel
- involves individual and national conversion
- looks to time of universal knowledge of the Lord
When God made his covenant with Abraham, there was no one greater for Him to swear by. Therefore He swore by Himself, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” (Refer to Hebrews 6: 13-18)
This promise is clear and important. The promise is fulfilled through Isaac. The land is Palestine. The contract with Abraham was unconditional. Understanding the covenant is important to understanding the rest of Genesis. The stories of Isaac and Jacob are told because they are inheritors of the promise. Later on in Scripture, Moses would remind the people of their heritage and their promised destiny. The children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob become a nation who is called to reveal God to a world without hope.
I referred to notes from my Old Testament class for this post.