We’ll spend the next two weeks looking at biblical people who trusted God’s faithfulness while they waited for him to fulfill his promises. During Advent, we will revisit these people and their part in God’s plan of salvation.
Today we begin with a man who spent most of his life waiting for a promise to come true. Read Genesis 12:1-5. What did God call Abram to do? What promises did God make to him? How old was Abram at this time? (You can read all the scriptures for this week right here.)
Read Genesis 15:1-6. God came to Abram in a vision in verse 1. How did God describe himself?
In verse 2 and 3, what was Abram concerned about? Does he sound very focused on God and his promises here?
How did God answer (verse 4 and 5), and how did Abram respond (verse 6)?
Read Genesis 17:1-8. How old was Abraham in this passage? What promises did God make to him?
If you are familiar with Abraham’s story, you know that he was far from perfect. He was not always truthful, and he let Sarah talk him into having a baby with her maid. (Surrogacy of this kind was very common in their culture.) Yet even within his imperfect life, Abraham left a legacy of faith. Read Hebrews 11:8-12. How does this author describe Abraham and Sarah?
Abraham heard God’s call. I remember the first time I heard God calling me. I grew up in a Christian home where I learned Bible stories about God speaking to people. I also heard about Jesus, who came to earth to live a perfect life, die for the sins of the world, and come alive again. I learned that if I believed in him, I could enter into a relationship with him and know him as a friend and guide. One day when I was four years old, I knew that it was time for me to respond to this information. The best way to describe this is that he called me, and I answered. I got out of bed (I was taking a nap at the time), and knelt down and prayed. I told God that I knew I was a sinner, and that I believed in his son Jesus as my Savior.
Within the story of Abraham, there is a beautiful truth about what happens when we respond to God.
And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith. (Genesis 15:6 NLT)
God called this imperfect man “righteous” because of his faith. The book of James tells us even more:
…The Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. (James 2:23)
Abraham spent much of his life waiting for a promise that must have seemed so impossible. While he waited, he developed a friendship with God. That’s my goal for this season—to develop that friendship. I want to thank God for his faithfulness, to cry out to him when I am discouraged, and to trust in his plan for the future.
In the midst of that waiting, God promised to be Abraham’s shield.
…Fear not, Abram, I am your shield… (Genesis 15:1)
The end of the year can be particularly hard for anyone trying to cope with unmet longings. If you gather with friends and family, you may feel that everyone else’s longings are coming true, while you are still waiting. In this situation, ask God to be your shield—against envy and discouragement and talkative inconsiderate friends.
What is your response to God’s word today? Here’s mine:
Lord, In the midst of a waiting season, I need you to be my shield against
…despair that perhaps the waiting will never end.
…playing all the what ifs out in my mind.
…taking things into my own own hands instead of waiting for you.
Photo Credit: Ruth J. Leamy at Mt. Charleston 2016