Summary: The Lord promises great things to Abraham. Abraham believes and lives in hope.
Not all Bible passages are created equal. Some Bible verses are inconsequential, others are confusing. There are some verses in the Bible that are ignored and others that have transformed lives and changed the world.
The New Revised Standard Version The Divine Shepherd
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want
The New Revised Standard Version Nicodemus Visits Jesus
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
The New Revised Standard Version The Power of the Gospel
The one who is righteous will live by faith.”
Romans 1:17 is a reference to Genesis 15:6. This is the verse that caught Martin Luther's attention as he struggled to find peace with God. This is one of the verses that started the Reformation and consequently changed the Christian world.
Called and Promised
God called Abraham when he was living in the city of Haran. God's call to Abraham was to follow God to a land that God promised to give to Abraham. If Abraham would follow God, God promised to give him 1). Wealth, 2). Land and 3). Descendants.
God's call and God's promises to Abraham were both gifts. Abraham did not need to attain some level of moral perfection in order to receive them. Abraham lived over 600 years before Moses received the Ten Commandments from God, so there was no moral code for Abraham to follow.
Abraham and his wife, Sarah, followed God into the Promised Land. There Abraham became very wealthy. Abraham never lacked for land on which to feed and keep his livestock. He did not own the land, though. Abraham was a nomad. Possession of the land took place after the Exodus when the Israelites invaded and conquered the land of Canaan. It wasn't until the birth of Isaac, when both Abraham and Sarah were beyond the age of childbearing that the third promise was fulfilled.
When we read the story of God and Abraham, we realize that one of the central tenets of the story is that God is a God who keeps promises--even if we have to wait for them.
The Wait of Faith
Abraham was seventy-five years old when God called him to travel from Haran to the Promise land. Our story takes place many years after Abraham and Sarah had arrived in the Promised Land. They were waiting for descendants and had not yet seen the fulfillment of God's promise to them.
God comes to Abraham in a vision. God tells Abraham does not need to be afraid, God is his shield and Abraham shall be greatly rewarded.
The New Revised Standard Version God’s Covenant with Abram
After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, “Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”
Abraham isn't very impressed and thankful that the Lord is his shield or that he will be greatly rewarded. Instead of praising God, Abraham complains. "I still don't have descendant," he points out.When we look at the problem instead of the solution to the problem, we become afraid. Things appear to be out of control and hopeless.