What Did God Promise Abraham And What Does It Mean For Us Today?

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Published by Shannon Jacobs

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In Genesis 11:26, Abraham is presented at the age of 75 under the lineage of Shem, Noah’s firstborn son. But he had spent his whole life up to that moment (and then some) as Abram. At a later time, the Lord gave him the new name Abraham, which means “father of many.”

Indeed, a promise was the catalyst for Abram’s transformation into Abraham, a legendary patriarch. Amazingly, this incredible promise set in action the greatest demonstration of God’s omnipotence and compassion the world has ever witnessed.

Key Takeaways

  • Abraham’s obedience and faith in God’s promise transformed him into a patriarch, blessing all nations through his descendants and ultimately through Jesus Christ.
  • God’s promises to Abraham, including land, descendants, and blessings, have both immediate and eternal implications, affecting not only Abraham but all humanity.
  • The fulfillment of God’s promises to Abraham demonstrates His faithfulness and the ongoing relevance of these promises through spiritual inheritance and the global impact of Abraham’s faith.

Who Is Abram Or Abraham?

Abraham (formerly Abram) was the first Hebrew patriarch [1] and a native of Ur in the Chaldean Desert. Scholars now put the rough site around 200 kilometers southeast of Baghdad.

At the beginning of the story, Abram was just a pagan like the rest of humanity. Because of his uniqueness, however, the Almighty God instructed him to leave his relatives behind and travel to a new place.

Abram and his wife, Sarai, were summoned from their prosperous home in Haran. They were en route to a destination unknown to them. They did not have any children during this time. Abram continued to wait for God to give them an heir, and in Genesis 17:3-5, the Lord appeared to him again and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”

At this, Abram fell face down, and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram[b]; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.”

Sarai’s name is changed to Sarah in Genesis 17:15. God promises her she will have a child, give birth to many nations, and have kings descend from her family.

Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg and Rev. Jim Stowe, two Israeli scholars, point out that this is due to a single-letter alteration in Abraham’s and Sarah’s new names.

Named for the Hebrew letters Av and Ram, Abram (Avram) signifies “exalted father.” Abraham, in light of Genesis 17:5, is appropriate. Simply put, “Because I make you the father of many nations.”

Sarah and Sarai are two variations of the same name, both of which have royal connotations. “It is probable that Sarai is just the possessive form of Sarah (i.e., “My Sarah”),” explains Lizorkin-Eyzenberg. For this reason, Sarah represents the idea that she is more powerful than just the people in her immediate family. Instead, it is the property of the future great and mighty nation of Israel and perhaps even the world at large.

What Did God Promise Abraham?

The first book of the Bible deals with God’s promises to Abraham. Abraham (then known as Abram) is first mentioned in Chapter 11 of the Book of Genesis. His family, including his father Terah, mother Sarai, and nephew Lot, accompanied him on this journey.

They left Ur of the Chaldeans for Canaan but ended up settling at Harran. Harran is where Abraham heard God’s voice instructing him and promising him the land.

God said, “Go from your country, your people, and your father’s house to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse, and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:1–3).

Since Abraham was now 75 years old, God was asking a lot of him by asking him to uproot his whole life and start over with nothing he knew. Although Abraham had no idea where God was leading him, he nonetheless obeyed Him and set forth.

3 Things To Know About God’s Promise To Abraham

1. God Blessed Abraham To Become A Blessing

God’s promise to bless Abraham is based on a few basic truths. Since God had rewarded him, he felt obligated to pay that favor forward. In the same way that this is true for you and me as it is for Abraham, this truth is universal. God never intended for his blessings to be hoarded. It’s not like God would do something like that.

God gives you a piece of his finest work. What he wants from you is to give it your all. God’s gifts to you may be meant to be enjoyed, but you are not entitled to them all for yourself.

God favored Abraham with greatness so that he would in turn benefit others. Likewise, God favors you for this very same reason. You should be a blessing to others to the extent that God has blessed you. Sharing your knowledge and insight will be a blessing to those around you if God has given you such gifts.

2. The Scope Of God’s Promise In Genesis 12:3 Is Wider

This is the promise God made to Abraham in verse 3: “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse.”

This promise is rightfully applied most often in the context of Israel. But there’s something more about this pledge since it affects more people than just Israelis. In other words, the promise was not limited to Abraham himself but rather to his offspring. As a result, there are two provisions of this promise that are still applicable to our present situation.

In the first place, Jesus Christ, the greatest of Abraham’s descendants, was born to Sarah. Therefore, the way you regard Jesus is just as significant as the way you treat Israel in determining whether you will be blessed or cursed. God will bless those who bless Jesus. Those who slander Jesus will be cursed by God. In addition, individuals who have placed their faith in Christ are included in the scope of this promise.

“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household.” — Ephesians 2:19

“This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.” — Ephesians 3:6

God promised Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3 that He would give him a family tree as numerous as the stars. The country he promised them would be theirs forever, and he would be their God. Before then, however, God made a promise that He would bless Abraham and his descendants forever, and through them, all the families of the earth (Genesis 12).

3. God Has Blessed All Nations Of The Earth

Knowing this was arguably the most difficult part of God’s promise to Abraham. How can it be that Abraham’s blessing will extend to every country on Earth? Keep in mind that God did not set a time limit on this promise, so it will last for all of eternity. Neither Abraham nor Israel as a nation can claim responsibility for this promise being realized. This prophecy is realized in Christ Jesus.

Jesus’ death on the cross made it possible for God to keep his promise to bless all the world’s people, and it was through him that God was able to bless Abraham’s descendants. In making this promise to Abraham, God had plans that went well beyond the borders of the Jewish state. I assume he was contemplating the many people from different cultures and backgrounds who would one day become his family because of Jesus’ sacrifice.

old man in robes looking up at a sky full of stars and what did god promise abraham

Why Was God’s Promise To Abraham So Meaningful And Significant?

God wants you to realize that the fulfillment of his promise to Abraham was reliant on him, not Abraham.

  • I will provide direction.
  • I will transform you into a powerful country.
  • I will pray for you.
  • I will elevate your reputation.
  • I will bless you so that you can benefit others.
  • I will bless all the people who bless you.
  • Those who curse you will be cursed by me.
  • I will bless the entire world through you.

God affirmed his commitment eight times. There was one simple condition that God imposed before he would begin to fulfill his promises. Abraham was obligated to go. It was not something he had to figure out on his own. It was not up to him to deduce the solution. Nothing required his intervention. It was unnecessary for him to make things happen. In essence, he only needed to go.

Everything that is true about God’s promises is also true about your life. God alone can make that happen. Trust and obey God’s will; it’s up to you. Leave the how up to the one you can trust. God will keep his promises to you, just as he did to Abraham.

Were God’s Promises Fulfilled?

According to Hebrews 11:8, with faith, Abraham obeyed the summons to travel to a location that he was to inherit, even though he did not know where he was going. And with every step of trust he took, God revealed more information.

After Abraham had walked what could have been more than a thousand miles to reach Canaan, God revealed himself to him and said, “To your children, I will give this country” (Genesis 12:7).

As the Lord first mentions Abraham’s offspring, the original promise of land and benefits begins to take shape. The only hitch was that Abraham was now 85 years old, childless, and married to a woman who also couldn’t have children.

That’s why Abraham always thought his servant would be the one to provide him with an heir (Genesis 15:3). In any case, he had no choice but to grow older.

However, the Lord planned ahead and included an addition to the promise. “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be” (Genesis 15:4–5).

Abraham and Sarah didn’t wait long before taking matters into their own hands, suggesting that they were either uncertain of how this would happen or had grown restless. Ishmael, Abraham’s first child, was conceived by Hagar, Sarah’s female servant (Genesis 16:3–4).

It may sound strange, but this sort of conduct wasn’t at all out of the ordinary in the ancient Near East. A maid would sometimes bear a child for the sake of the household. However, Abraham did not receive a descendant through this kid.

The Lord then makes a guarantee that the future monarchs of this nation will be descended from Sarah, not the son who was born to their maidservant (v. 16). Generation after generation, the Lord was fulfilling his promises and adding to the glory of his plan.

Abraham’s son, Isaac, born when he was 100, was the fulfillment of this promise (Genesis 26:3-5), and once more, in Genesis 28:13–14, to his grandson, Jacob, repeated to subsequent generations as the Lord provided for this family at every turn and saw that His word was carried out.

Do The Promises To Abraham Still Apply?

Jesus Christ is universally recognized as God’s means of making good on his promise to benefit all families on earth. It is also widely accepted that Abraham’s offspring spread and developed into the ancient states of Israel and Judah. Does God’s promise to Abraham still have any weight today?

Many believe the physical promises to Abraham’s descendants are no longer applicable, but they easily agree that Jesus Christ’s blessing on all people continues today. Some argue that God’s promises of material goods have ended with the fulfillment of the benefits.

The Bible says that God’s blessing on these individuals will last until and beyond the Second Coming of Christ. The 12 sons of Jacob, for instance, are assumed to have become great countries by the time they reach the end of Genesis 49:1. This occurs in the final days.

During His ministry in the New Testament, Jesus promised His followers that they would rule as “judges of the twelve tribes of Israel” in God’s future kingdom (Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30). Each of the twelve gates of the New Jerusalem will be named after one of “the twelve tribes of the children of Israel” (Revelation 21:12).

The response is that the spiritual and material aspects of Abraham’s pledge are still valid today. The spiritual fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham is the birth of Jesus Christ, through whom humanity is offered redemption. By learning that Abraham’s offspring make up the bulk of the world’s countries, it becomes easier to interpret end-time predictions. Keep reading the articles in this area to learn more about the identities of these countries.

man standing in a sparse rocky landscape with radiant light shining from the sky and what did god promise abraham

Summary

God’s consistency is one of his many wonderful attributes. Neither have his assurances altered since then. He still keeps his word, and, more importantly, he can be trusted. Even though Abraham died before seeing God’s promise come to fruition, his faith caused God’s plan to be realized.

Those of us who share Abraham’s faith are adopted into God’s family. In Romans 9, the Apostle Paul reminds us that Abraham’s faith serves as an example for all people. Faith, not deeds or lineage, justifies a person before God.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Was Abram Or Abraham?

Abram, later known as Abraham, was the first Hebrew patriarch, originally from Ur in the Chaldean Desert, who became the father of many nations as per God’s promise after his name was changed.

What Did God Promise Abraham?

God promised Abraham that he would make him a great nation, bless him, make his name great, and through him, all peoples on earth would be blessed.

Why Was Abraham’s Name Changed?

Abraham’s name was changed from Abram to signify his role as the father of many nations, a direct reflection of the promise God made to him.

How Did Abraham Respond To God’s Call?

Abraham responded to God’s call by leaving his homeland and family, demonstrating his faith and obedience to God, even without knowing his final destination.

What Was The Significance Of God’s Promise To Abraham?

The significance of God’s promise to Abraham lies in the establishment of a covenant that set the foundation for the coming of Jesus Christ and the blessing of all nations through Abraham’s lineage.

Were God’s Promises To Abraham Fulfilled?

Yes, God’s promises to Abraham were fulfilled through the birth of his son Isaac in his old age and the eventual formation of the nation of Israel, and spiritually through Jesus Christ, blessing all families on earth.

Do The Promises To Abraham Still Apply Today?

The promises to Abraham still apply today in both spiritual and historical contexts, with the spiritual fulfillment in Jesus Christ offering salvation to all humanity and the historical aspect relating to the nation of Israel and its significance.

How Does Abraham’s Faith Affect Us Today?

Abraham’s faith affects us today by serving as a model of obedience and trust in God, illustrating that faith, not works or lineage, is what justifies a person before God, thereby inviting all to share in the blessings promised to Abraham.

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