God’s Promises: Certainty in an Uncertain World – Genesis 12:1-3

Trusting in God that He will do what He says He will do is one of the main things about being God’s people. This was how it began and this is how it continues. Radical obedience based on simple trust in God’s promises is our DNA as Christians.

Have you ever discovered an old photo album of your parents when they were younger? Have you flipped through to get a glimpse at what they were like “back in the day”? It gives you some insight into who they are now, doesn’t it?

That’s sort of what the Old Testament stories do for us with God. We can get a glimpse of what God was like “back in the day” to gain insight into who He is now. We get to see God, His character and His ways revealed in His actually dealings with His people in real, human history. There’s a lot to learn about God in the stories of creation, the flood, the Tower of Babel – and especially in the story of Abram/Abraham.

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of what God did through this man Abram. If you look at Genesis, the first 11 chapters cover a huge span of history. But, when you get to chapter 12, everything slows down and focuses in on what God does in the life of Abram. And this is where we’ll be today.

God Calls Abram with Promises

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. …
– v. 1

For Abram to do what God says here, he would have to leave his geographical context and his whole social network of support and heritage. It was a big deal for him to do this. So why would he do it? Why would anyone give up everything that gives identity and security to go to an unknown?

“And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
– vv. 2-3

The only reason that Abram and anyone would do this is faith that God will do what He said He would do. That’s it. Simple trust that God is dependable.

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Abram left everything with only the promises of God – without any visible fulfillment of them yet. God said he would be a “great nation,” but he had no kids and his wife was too old to have any. This being the case, there was no indicator for him to expect this to happen. All he had was the promise of God.

Looking Back, God’s Promises Held True

Looking back, we know that God’s promises held true. Through Abram, the nation of Israel came and became great. And through Israel came Jesus Christ – who would bring God’s salvation and grace to everyone, and through whom “all the families of the earth [would] be blessed.”

So, looking back, we know that God would absolutely fulfill all these promises. Abram, though, was on the front end – all he had were the promises. Yet God expected him to obey this radical command to go from everything he knew.

Looking Ahead, God’s Promises Will Hold True

Trusting in God that He will do what He says He will do is one of the main things about being God’s people. This was how it began and this is how it continues. Radical obedience based on simple trust in God’s promises is our DNA as Christians.

With this in mind, let’s look at Romans 4:18-25, a New Testament look back to Abraham:

In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations … He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body … or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

Based on everything we’ve seen here, let’s renew our trust in God. Let’s not fear uncertainty, but remember that God’s promises are our certainty. Our new life in Christ is based on hope and trust in the promises that God invested in Christ. Our salvation is based on faith that His life, death and resurrection have saved us from our sins.

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We have so much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. But let’s look past all the everyday blessings to God Himself. Remember who He is and renew your trust in Him.

Discussion Starters

  1. Why do you think the narrative of Genesis suddenly slows down when it gets to Abram?
  2. What are some possible reasons why Abram might have refused to leave his country and kindred? More importantly, why did he choose to obey?
  3. What stops you from radically obeying the Lord’s commands?
  4. What promises do we as Christians live according to?
  5. How can you apply all this to your own life?

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