GOD Reaffirms His Promises – Favour To Abraham

GOD REAFFIRMS HIS PROMISES

This chapter compares with Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53. The first time that I saw in this chapter these great truths which depict the cross of Christ, it was breathtaking.

Not only in the birth of Isaac, but now also in the sacrifice of Isaac, there is a strange similarity to the life of our Lord. A substitute sacrifice is provided in the form of a ram caught in a thicket right behind Abraham.

The ram is offered, and Abraham names the mountain “The Lord will provide.” Then the Lord renews and emphasizes His promises to Abraham once more, swearing by Himself.

Because of Abraham’s obedience, the Lord promises to bless Abraham, to multiply his offspring exponentially, and to give Abraham’s offspring victory over their enemies (Genesis 22:15–17).

The Lord adds another promise: All the nations of the earth will be blessed through Abraham’s offspring, something that happens unequivocally when Abraham’s descendant, Jesus, becomes the means by which all may come into God’s blessing of grace through faith (Genesis 22:18–19).

 

Genesis 22:15-18 KJV

[15] And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,

[16] And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:

[17] That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;

[18] And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

 

Genesis 22:15 KJV

And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,


“The Angel of the LORD” in verses 11 and 15, as in all the OT, is the Lord Jesus Christ. Previously, Abraham had taken his son, Isaac, to a particular mountain at God’s command. There, so far as Abraham knew, he was to sacrifice his son to God (Genesis 22:1–2).

Abraham’s decision to trust that God had something unseen in mind was rewarded: God intervenes to prevent Isaac from being harmed (Genesis 22:11–12). The long-awaited son of Abraham and Sarah has been spared.

The ram has been provided by God and offered in Isaac’s place (Genesis 22:13–14). Abraham has named the mountain “The LORD will provide.”

This encounter with God is not over, yet. The angel of the Lord—the Lord Himself—has more to say to Abraham. He calls down a second time.

 

Genesis 22:16 KJV

And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:


There are high declarations of God’s favour to Abraham in this confirmation of the covenant with him, exceeding any he had yet been blessed with.

The voice of the angel of the Lord—the Lord Himself—calls out to Abraham after stopping him from sacrificing Isaac (Genesis 22:11–12) and after Abraham has sacrificed the ram God provided instead (Genesis 22:13–14).

The Lord begins by saying that because Abraham has not withheld his only son from the Lord, the Lord has sworn “by Himself” to do what is named in the following verses. This is the only time God swears an oath to do something in the stories of the patriarchs.

Why does He swear “by” Himself, or “on” Himself?

Hebrews 6:13 spells it out: “For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself.”

The writer of Hebrews goes on to say, “For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation.

So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath” (Hebrews 6:16–17).

In other words, what God is about to promise to Abraham in the following verses carries huge significance. So, God uses a human concept, for the sake of our human understanding.

 

Genesis 22:17 KJV

That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;


Those that are willing to part with any thing for God, shall have it made up to them with unspeakable advantage. Abraham has just passed an incredibly difficult test of his trust in God: being asked to sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac (Genesis 22:1–2).

Abraham’s willingness to obey is based on his prior experiences, which have always shown that God will be proven righteous in the end. Even when human perspectives fall short, God knows what He is doing.

In the end, God intervenes and provides an animal sacrifice (Genesis 22:11–13), once again justifying Abraham’s faith. In the previous verse, the Lord declared that He had sworn “by Himself” to do for Abraham what is listed in this and the following verse.

In essence, God is confirming and emphasizing that He will do for Abraham what He has promised several times before. Here though, the promises are delivered with greater force and specificity.

The Lord says, “I will surely bless you” or “I will really bless you.” God has been blessing Abraham all along, but the promise is underlined with the word “surely” this time. There can be no doubt about God’s blessing of Abraham.

The Lord also promises to multiply Abraham offspring as the stars of heaven, something He had promised before as Abraham looked at the night sky in Genesis 15:5.

For the first time, though, the Lord adds that Abraham’s offspring will be as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashore. That’s a lot of descendants! In addition, the Lord swears that Abraham’s descendants will conquer their enemies.

Put poetically, they will possess the gates of enemy cities. This is a more specific way of pointing to the day when Israel would conquer her enemies while taking possession of the promised land of Canaan.

The following verse includes one more promise the Lord swears “by Himself” to do for Abraham.

 

Genesis 22:18 KJV

And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.


The promise, Genesis 22:18, doubtless points at the Messiah, and the grace of the gospel. Hereby we know the loving-kindness of God our Saviour towards sinful man, in that he hath not withheld his Son, his only Son, from us.

Hereby we perceive the love of Christ, in that he gave himself a sacrifice for our sins. Yet he lives, and calls to sinners to come to him, and partake of his blood-bought salvation. He calls to his redeemed people to rejoice in him, and to glorify him.

What then shall we render for all his benefits?

Let his love constrain us to live not to ourselves, but to Him who died for us, and rose again. Admiring and adoring His grace, let us devote our all to his service, who laid down his life for our salvation.

Whatever is dearest to us upon earth is our Isaac. And the only way for us to find comfort in an earthly thing, is to give it by faith into the hands of God.

Yet remember that Abraham was not justified by his readiness to obey, but by the infinitely more noble obedience of Jesus Christ; his faith receiving this, relying on this, rejoicing in this, disposed and made him able for such wonderful self-denial and duty.

In the previous verses, the Lord declared that He had sworn “by Himself” to do for Abraham several very specific things. Those included blessing Abraham, multiplying his offspring enormously, and giving his offspring victory over their enemies.

Now the Lord adds one more promise that applies to everyone who might read these words. The Lord says that in Abraham’s offspring, all the nations of the earth will be blessed.

This promise, too, is repeated from previous interactions with the Lord (Genesis 12:3; 18:18), with the addition that this blessing on the peoples of the earth will come through Abraham’s descendants and not merely through him.

How will this happen?

Most significantly, the offspring of Abraham will lead through Isaac to Jacob and down through history to Jesus Himself.

All the peoples of the earth have the opportunity to be saved from sin and included in God’s family through faith in Abraham’s offspring Jesus (Galatians 3:7).

This verse concludes that the Lord will do all of these things because Abraham has obeyed the Lord’s voice. It’s interesting that the Lord made all of these promises to Abraham without any condition in earlier encounters.

Then, the promises were given merely because God wanted to give them. Now, Abraham’s obedience is included as a reason for these gifts from the Lord. It’s beautiful circle. The gifts are given unconditionally by the grace of God.

The receiver of the gift recognizes God’s goodness and obeys God’s commands. God now cites the receiver’s obedience as reason to give the gifts He would have given, anyway.

 

 

I hope that you have really enjoyed this post,

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2 thoughts on “GOD Reaffirms His Promises – Favour To Abraham

  1. After reading this article I had to take a moment to reflect.

    I found it to be a compelling testament to the enduring faith and steadfastness of Abraham. You have carried the narrative beautifully. I find iinspiration in stories about faith so I appreciate the reminder of God’s unwavering commitment to those who remain faithful to Him.

    Thank you again for putting this together!

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