Promise Keeper

Promise Keeper
January 16, 2022

Promise Keeper

Preacher:
Passage: Genesis 12:1-3, Genesis 15:1-18
Service Type:

Series:  In the Beginning

Title: Promise keeper

Scripture:  Genesis 12:1-3; 15:1-18

 

Subject: Promise

Central Theme: God is a promise keeper

Objective Statement:  We can trust God to keep his promise by observing His promise with Abraham.  See three parts to this promise.

Keyword:  Parts

Points:

  1. God Promises. (Genesis 12:1-3)
  2. God Provides. (Genesis 15:1-11)
  3. God Preserves. (Genesis 15:12-18)

 

Introduction

Connection

  • Father Abraham....

 

Tension:

  • Now we sing that song and know the end of the story.
  • Abram didn't know the end of the story.
  • Trusting God for the ending of the story is more difficult when you are at the beginning or in the middle of the story.
  • We're not sweating when we read the story of David and Goliath, or Daniel in the Lions Den, or the 3 Hebrew boys going into the fiery furnace...
  • Why? We know the end of the story.
  • God comes through.
  • But so much of life is in the middle and not at the end.
  • Yet that's where the faith is needed.
  • We need faith in the beginning and in the middle....
  • These stories were written down for us to believe in God and trust him.
  • We can trust God!

Truth:

We can trust God to keep his promise by observing His covenant with Abraham.  See three parts to this covenant.

  1. God promises. (Genesis 12:1-3)

(1)  Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

 

Explain:

  • Verse 1 shows the difficult part of what God was asking Abram.
    • Leave your country.
    • Leave your family.
    • Go to an undisclosed location that I, the invisible God, will show you.
    • Can you imagine the conversations that could have happened around Abram being obedient to this command?

 

“I’m moving”.

“Really? Where are you going?”

“I don’t know. God told me He would show me.”

 

  • There are all kinds of conversations that could have come out of this circumstance, and all kinds of complications that it could mean for Abram and his family.
  • There were also a lot of blessings that would come from Abram’s trust in God and obedience to His commands.

 

(2)  And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

(3)  And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

 

  • Not only would Abram be blessed personally, all the families of the earth would be blessed through Abram’s family. God was for him. Who could be against him?
  • Abram believed God, and trusted God, demonstrating that trust in obedience as we see in this weeks memory verse.

 

(8)  By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

HEBREWS 11:8

 

Apply:

  • It is often very difficult to believe God. We are asked to trust in Him.
  • But like Abram, there are blessings that are promised to those who believe.
  • Blessings often come with belief. We must trust God and allow that trust to inform our behavior.

 

Respond:

God, help me to trust you today with all that you bring across my path. Amen.

 

We can trust God to keep his promise by observing His covenant with Abraham.  See three parts to this covenant.

  1. God promises. (Genesis 12:1-3)
  2. God provides. (Genesis 15:1-12)

"(1)  After these things ..."

  • Today's verses start out with the expression "After these things" which gives us a chance to refer to what had happened in the past few chapters.
    • Abram was called by God to leave his country and kindred in chapter 12. He and his wife Sarai go to Egypt.
    • There Sarai was noticed by the princes of Pharaoh in an ungodly way. God plagued Pharoah's house because of this.  In chapter 13 we see God was blessing him with wealth.
    • Abram left Egypt and went to Bethel where he had sacrificed earlier.
    • There was a division between his workers and Lot's so they separate.
    • Lot ends up going into Sodom. Abram intercedes for Lot in prayer and rescues Lot out of that city.
    • Then we see this very interesting figure, prophet, priest, and king Melchizadek, who blessed Abram, and even tithed to Abram.
  • After all of this happened, God comes to the Abram in a vision and says this expression to him.

"...the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward."

 

  • God says this to Abram and certainly it could describe Abram's past, present and his future.
  • God had proteceted (shielded) Abram.
  • God had exceedingly blessed (rewarded) Abram.
  • By putting this in the present tense it is as if he is stating that this is a constant and ongoing reality for Abram.
  • But that brings up a question for Abram. God had promised him that He would be the father of a great nation, and that all of the families of the earth would be blessed by him.
  • How is this going to happen if he doesn't have a child?

 

(2)  And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?

(3)  And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.

 

  • Abram asks the question about his servants child. There were traditions that made chlidren born to the servants part of the lineage of their masters.
  • Was this how God was going to fulfill his promise to Abram?
  • It was a relevant enough question for Abram that He brought it up to God.
  • Here was God's answer.

 

(4)  And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.

 

  • God was reaffirming this promise.
  • The older that Abram and Sarai grew without children, the more and more implausable the fulfillment of this promised must have seemed to be.
  • Yet God clearly declared to Abram, you are going to have a son.
  • How was he going to have a son?
    • Not by tradition. (Eliazar)
    • Not by sinfully going ahead of God's plan. (Hagar)
  • We read about Hagar in Friday's reading from Genesis 16.

Genesis 16:1-4

(1)  Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.

(2)  And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.

(3)  And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.

(4)  And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.

 

  • God had told Abram that he would be the father of many nations.
  • This obviously meant that he needed to have children.
  • I'm sure it must have been difficult waiting for them both to wait for Sarai to conceive.
  • Their faith was put to the limits when God was making promises and the fulfillment of those promises seemed to be delayed.
  • Sarai decided to rely on social tradition for the fulfillment of God's promise rather than waiting on the miracle.
  • She told Abram to do something sinful in conceiving a child through her servant, and the implications of all that happened through that pregnancy were both immediate and lasting.

Application:

  • When we rush ahead of God we make life way more complicated. We sin, and suffer the consequences.
  • It is in moments where God does not seem to be doing what He promised that we need to trust God and be faithful and obedient.
  • I'm so thankful that we have the example of people in the scripture to learn from. It's far easier to read and learn than live and learn.
  • Our God is a promise keeping God.
  • We must believe and behave accordingly.
  • So Abraham had asked God...
    • Through Eliazar?
    • They tried to get ahead of God by having a son through Hagar.
    • When they broke God's law it brought all kinds of problems.
  • God's answer again was:

(4)  And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.

  • He will be your biological son.
  • How? I'm going to provide it.
  • He then illustrates this answer with a object lesson.

 

(5)  And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.

 

  • What were the objects in the object lesson? The countless stars in the sky that God had made.
  • If you have ever been outside of the city lights on a clear night and were able to see the stars, you know just how countless the stars really are.
  • That many stars must have seemed pretty incredible as a promise to a man who didn't even have 1 child.
  • God breathed out those stars. We learned that last week.

Psalms 147:4

(4)  He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.

 

  • If God can create all the stars and knows them by name, then getting old people to have a baby is no big deal.
  • Our God makes promises.
  • Our God provides when He makes a promise.
  • Yet look at Abrams response to God.

 

"(6)  And he believed in the LORD; "

 

  • Abram took God at His word. Even though he didn't have any kids, he believed that God would give him countless numbers of children.  When Abram believed God responded, too.

 

"and he counted it to him for righteousness."

  • There it is. Justification by faith found in the first book of the Bible.  God didn't justify or count Abram as righteous because of his works.  He counted him as righteous because of his faith.

 

Apply:

  • We are made right with God by believing HIs word.
  • It's a good thing, because if we were made right with God because of our behavior, we would be in trouble. Our good deeds can never outweigh our bad deeds.
  • Many of our good deeds are done for the wrong reason and with the wrong motivation.
  • On our own we have no hope.
  • But when we believe God, because of Jesus's righteousness and His atoning, sacrificial death, we can have his righteousness imputed to our account and our sins taken away.
  • How? By faith.
  • We must have the simple yet profound response to God that says, "God, I believe you. I believe what you say."
  • And we must then act on what He says.

 

 

 

We can trust God to keep his promise by observing His covenant with Abraham.  See three parts to this covenant.

  1. God promises. (Genesis 12:1-3)
  2. God provides. (Genesis 15:1-12)

 

  1. God Preserves. (Genesis 15:7-18)

(7)  And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.

  • Remember my promise?
  • You are worried that I won't keep it.
  • I remember it. Look at the stars.
  • But Abram has a question.

(8)  And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?

  • How do I know?
  • How is it really mine?

(9)  And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.

(10)  And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.

(11)  And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away.

  • cut them in two. The sign of ancient covenants often involved the cutting in half of animals, so that the pledging parties could walk between them, affirming that the same should happen to them if they broke the covenant (see Jer_34:18-19).
  • Usually both parties that struck this covenant would walk through the middle of the divided animals.
  • But look at what happens with Araham.

(12)  And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.

  • Abraham falls asleep. It's as if he is upt to sleep.
  • Then God speaks to Abram in a dream.

(13)  And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;

  • The promise I'm making to you is not just to you.
  • It's to the whole nation.
  • There will be times where they may doubt my promise to you.
  • But I will preserve them to.
  • I told you I will bless them that bless thee and curse them that curse thee.
  • This will happen.

(14)  And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.

  • I will judge this nation that afflicts your family/nation.
  • I will enrich your family through them.

(15)  And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.

  • This is going to work out Abraham. I'm going to do what I said for you and for all those that follow after you.

(16)  But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.

  • They are going to come back and live in their "promised land".
  • Now notice what happens next.
  • Abram is asleep next to these divided carcases.

(17)  And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces.

  • These items symbolized the presence of God, who solemnly promised by divine oath to fulfill His promises to Abram by alone passing through the animal pieces (Gen_15:9-11).
  • God walks through the middle of the animals, and Abram never does.
  • The promise God is making is unconditional.
  • Abram messes up. Abram doesn't do the right thing.
  • Yet, Abram believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness.

(18)  In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:

  • God keeps his promises.
  • God always keeps his promises.
  • God always keeps his promises.
  • God always, always, always keeps his promises.

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