Summary: First in series. The gift of the promise of the messiah.
The Gift Of The Promise
Introduction: Tis the season to give gifts
Hustle and bustle of those around us
Stores are full
"Little Paws Adventures"? – Insights for Living-Chuck Swindol
God has given us FOUR gifts by which we can understand the true purpose and meaning of Christmas.
Today we will study the first of these: The Gift of the Promise
*More specifically: The gift of God’s promise to Abram, or Abraham.
Have you ever made a promise you lived to regret?
Or, Have you ever made a promise that you knew you really couldn’t keep?
Promise making abounds in our world and our society.
*Companies make promises to customers that their products will live up to expectations.
Fred Zimmer/Zimmerman "You’re goinna look good in a Men’s Warehouse suit. I guarantee it."
"I’m not just the president, but I’m a client as well."
"If your not completely satisfied you will get your money back."
*Politicians make promises to the people
"Read my lips! No new taxes!"
Promises of prosperity, more and better jobs, healthcare for all
IBM Avery Brooks commercial "Where are the flying cars?"
*Promises we make in relationships
Dream of Shelley smoking– I will make her eat a pack of cigarettes
The greatest promise – the wedding vow
Genesis 12:2-3 "And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great...and by you all the families of the earth will bless themselves."
God is saying to Abram, "I will do for you what I have done for no other. I will lift you up. I will make you greater than all the kings of the earth. And I will make you prosper like no other."
History is full of turning points. Now, from what I understand and have experienced, the study of history is really nothing more than an analysis of turning points and how each turning point leads to the next. The Reformation led to the cultural Renaissance, which led to the Enlightenment and revolutions, which led to Modernity, which led to PostModernity, and on and on it goes.
The life of Abraham is one such turning point.
Scholars have broken up Genesis into essentially two major sections. The first section is referred to as the Primeval history; and it comprises the first 11 chapters of the book. And, the second section is the Patriarchal history; chapters 12 through 50, which involves the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. And what separates the two are these three verses which I read to you.
The book of Genesis is rightly named; for it means "Beginnings". It is the book of origins, origin of Humanity and the moral complexity of this creature.
Turn to the person beside you and say, "You are unique!"
Each of us is unique. We all have different hair; hair style, hair color. We all have different body shapes and sizes; some are big, some are small. Some are tan, some are not. But each of us is different. We are unique. There are no two people alike.
The Problem of Evil
But, there is one way in which we are all alike. There is one way in which we are inextricably the same. We all have the same propensity towards evil. We, each and every one of us, are equally inclined to evil. Now, each of us may demonstrate this in a different manner from one another, but we are still equally inclined to evil.
The Primeval history, the first chapters of Genesis teaches us of the origin of this flaw in our character. Genesis 3 relates our own selfish ambition to decide for ourselves what is right and what is wrong at any cost. Chapter 4 teaches how pride, jealousy, and anger can lead a person to kill their own brother. And chapters 6 and 8 inform us as to how deeply ingrained our propensity to evil is, "For the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth." Genesis 8:21.
Humanity is in pretty bad shape; both then, and now. Genesis chapter 1 verse 27 says that, "God created humanity in His own image." When I look around I can’t say that it’s always so easy to see God’s image. And the irony is that we, who are so closely made in God’s image, most often display it the least.
God was looking for someone who could be just like Him. God wanted someone through which He could make Himself known. God wanted an ambassador, an emissary to humanity. A spokesperson by which He could gather humanity back to Himself.
In Abraham, God found that person. We don’t know if Abraham was the first, or if he was just the first to respond in obedience. What we do know is that Abraham responded in obedience.