Summary: God promise us His deliverance through our Lord and Saviour.
To understand Jesus and His mission, you must understand some of the basic foundations of the OT that prepare for Him. I would like to refer to just two of these.
The first is the vision of Nathan (2 Sam 7, and 1 Chr 17). In it, King David, in following the tradition of the ANE, decides to build a temple to honour his God after his successes in battle. So he shares his plans with the court prophet, Nathan, who agrees and wishes him well.
That night, however, God appears to Nathan and tells him to correct his message. Nathan was to tell David that He didn’t need a house, and that never in any previous instance had God ever asked any of the leaders of Israel to build Him one. Instead, God says that He will build David a house—in order to provide a place for the people to live where there was justice from within and rest from the enemies without.
More than that, God told Nathan to tell David, that he would have a son that would reign after him, and that his throne would be established forever—and that he would be regarded as God’s son—despite emphasizing that this son would come from David’s body. This was a safeguard, as all other ANE cultures regarded their god-kings as sexually engendered by the gods themselves. Even though this son of God would be the son of a man, he would always be human. And as Father to this son, God would have the right to discipline him if he needed it, rather than rejecting the dynasty, as He had with Saul.
We see hints of this special promise in Jesus’ life, when the children enthusiastically sang their hosannas (literally a song pleading for and thanking the king for political deliverance from the oppressing powers), and when He was referred to as the son of David. The people were reading into Jesus’ ministry the fulfillment of the promises God made to David. Jesus became the fulfillment of the everlasting dynasty (house) that God had promised to David—an issue taken up in the book of Revelation, where Jesus is the lion of the tribe of Judah, and where His people live and reign with Him for 1000 years.
But an even more remarkable story is found in Genesis. The story commences with the words “after these things” (Gen 15:1). The previous chapter describes Abram’s extraordinary efforts in freeing his nephew Lot and a handful of other captives, and restoring not only their stolen property but also all the loot stolen from the five cities of the plain by a 4-king confederacy. With the 318 “trained men” of his household, Abram stages a daring rescue and succeeds where the armies of 5 allied kings failed. The story ends with Abram paying tithes of his share of the proceeds to the enigmatic Melchizedec. But that is another story.
So it is after this that the events of chapter 15 occur. God had assured Abram on at least two previous occasions (Gen 12: 2 and 13:16), that he would have many children. It appears that that promise was made too long ago and Abram’s hope is growing cold.
Now God appears in a vision and says to Abram, “I am your shield, Abram. Your reward will be very great” (Gen 15:1). The mystified patriarch considers how that could be true while he remains childless, and he’s not getting any younger—to say nothing of Sarah, who was moving from grandmother to great-grandmother vintage. So Abram has begun considering that maybe the promise of a gazillion descendants would be fulfilled through an adopted sonhis young servant, Eliezer. So he suggests this option to God.
But God is adamant. He reassures the aging patriarch that his “very own son” would be his heir, not Eliezer. And he repeats the promise that this heir will be the firstborn of a great multitude. The promise will be fulfilled. To drive the point home, God takes Abram outside and tells him that his children will be as numerous as the stars. Yes, you have heard that story before, but have you ever considered what time of day it was? As soon as stars are mentioned we immediately think “night time.” But was it dark? Later in the story, we are told that the sun was going down (v.12) and later still it was fully dark (v.17). So apparently it was daytime when God asked Abram to count the stars.
The point is made. Although Abram probably cannot see any stars, he just knows that as the night deepens, stars rapidly appear until the whole sky is full. The penny drops. God had promised Abram many descendants, but Abram could not see how there could be any. Until now. Stars may not be visible in daylight, but when the sun goes down, the sky is filled with them. Countless billions. And just as fading daylight enables a person to see more and more stars, so Abram would see increasing numbers of his descendantsin God’s good time. Obviously the time was not yet right for Abram, but when it was, God would come good on his promise. At this insight Abram falls on his face in worship, now knowing by faith that God will fulfill His word. This was not only an “aha moment” for Abram, but “the Lord counted it to him as righteousness” (v.6) as well. Trusting God to fulfill his promises, especially at a time of greatest discouragement, is pinpointed here as an integral part of salvation.