Before Abraham ever had any children, God promised him that there would be a vast company of people that would be his descendants. Time passed, and it looked as if Abraham and his wife, Sarah, were never going to have any offspring. The promise seemed in danger of failing, so Abraham and Sarah decided to take matters into their own hands. Sarah offered her maid Hagar to bear Abraham a child, and Hagar had a baby, Ishmael. Yet God made it clear that the descendants He had promised were not going to emerge through Ishmael’s line. God was showing Abraham and Sarah that if His promise was going to be fulfilled, then only He could do it. Abraham was given one task: to trust in God’s promise—a promise that faced overwhelming difficulties and that therefore required an all-powerful God for its fulfillment.
As the years went by, Sarah still didn’t conceive. God came to Abraham again, reassuring him that even in her great age, she was going to bear a son. Eventually, at ninety years old, she gave birth to a boy, Isaac, whose name means “he laughs.” Abraham, who once laughed with wonder at the prospect of Isaac’s birth (Genesis 17:17), was now surely overcome with astonishment.
God keeps His promises. It is impossible for a ninety-year-old woman to give birth, but God is able to make it so. The promise of an heir to this aged couple called for nothing other than the supernatural gift of life. Without God’s divine intervention, there would have been no offspring; there would have been no birth. Similarly, there can be no spiritual life without God’s intervention. But by His power there can be new life—true life! From the very beginning, God was teaching His people that it takes a miracle for the gospel to take root in any life.
God keeps His promises. And His promises to His people are many, they are stunning, and they are all yes in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20). Our part is to do what Abraham learned to do: to trust in God’s promises, even when they look far distant or impossible. After all, a promise that faces overwhelming difficulties demands an all-powerful God for its fulfillment—and that is precisely the God that you and I call Father.
Is there someone you know who needs to be reminded that God keeps His promises today? Let’s be honest: that is a reminder that we all need. Like Abraham, put your hope in God alone. He is able to keep His promises, and it is only by His power that they will be fulfilled. But you already know that God does miracles, just by looking in the mirror, for it took the same divine power that put the stars in place and that sustains the world to awaken your heart, bring you to faith, and give you eternal life.
How is God calling me to think differently?
How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?
What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?
God's Covenant with Abram
1After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” 2But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue1 childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” 4And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son2 shall be your heir.” 5And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.
7And he said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.” 8But he said, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” 9He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” 10And he brought him all these, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other. But he did not cut the birds in half. 11And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.
12As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him. 13Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. 14But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. 15As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. 16And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”
17When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. 18On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give3 this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, 19the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, 20the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, 21the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.”
Get the Program, Devotional, and Bible Reading Plan delivered daily right to your inbox.