Introduction: Waiting Stinks
Text: Genesis 12-17 – Abram must wait nearly 100 years for God to fulfill his promise to begin making him a great nation. The thread of redemption seems thin here.
The “narrowing” of Genesis Beginning at Genesis 11 demonstrates the significance of the Abraham narrative in God’s redemptive plan.
Abraham faced several challenges that seemed to be contrary to God’s plan and promises
- Genesis 11:27-32 – “Now Sarai was barren: she had no child.”
- Genesis 12:1-3 – God calls and uses an old, pagan polytheist.
- Genesis 12:10-19 – Famine / problems in Egypt
- Genesis 16 – Takes matters into his own hands with Hagar
- Genesis 22 – Asked to sacrifice Isaac
Abraham’s faith was challenged the most by the long wait for an heir (Genesis 15)
His first recorded speaking to God is to complain about his lack of an heir. God responds by saying “come count the stars…if you are able…”
God takes full responsibility for the ratification of the covenant he makes with Abraham. It is based on God’s word, character, and promises. This is the same God we serve and have made a covenant with as believers in Christ.
Abraham’s faith in YHWH slowly grows but is still susceptible to lapses as he waits on the fulfillment of God’s promises (Genesis 16)
Abraham gets ahead of God, has Ishmael with Sarah’s maidservant, Hagar.
Conclusion & Application
Abraham ultimately develops an incredibly strong faith as he grows in his knowledge of who God is. Note his response when asked to sacrifice Isaac narrative: “We will go and we will return.”
Note the names that surface in this narrative that serve as important reminders:
- I am the LORD (Genesis 15:7, divine name
- Hagar’s “El Roi” – the God of seeing (Genesis 16:3)
- El Shaddai – God Almighty (Genesis 17:1)
- Even Ishmael’s name is significant: God hears (Genesis 16:4)
Also note the statement in Genesis 18:14 after Sarah laughs: “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”
Hebrews 11:10-19 gives us the key for waiting – “looking for a city.” This perspective enabled them to live lives of faithful obedience even though they weren’t ever going to “see” this side of eternity.
These stories that help us trace the thin thread of redemption is all a part of a glorious unfolding:
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