Did the Old Testament Greats Understand God’s Plan? Part 9

This entry is part 9 of 45 in the series Did the Old Testament Greats Understand God's Plan?

Recap of Part 8: Because of the bravery of Abram, Lot and his family are saved. A battle between 9 kings took place and Lot was taken. We see the character of Abram when he chooses to go to battle for his nephew instead of being a coward. “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10).

Part 9 Abram receives a new name from God: “Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee” (Genesis 17:5). He also receives a covenant with God: “And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee” (v.7). “And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you” (v.11). Why receive a new name? Why receive a covenant? Why need a token of the covenant?

God gives him the name “Abraham”, which means “father of many”. This reinforces God’s promise to Abraham that he would not only have a son through Sarai, but also that he would be the father of many nations. This is true through Ishmael, Isaac, and the sons of Keturah–the wife he took after Sarah died. He receives a covenant, promise, agreement, contract and a token of the covenant for the very same reason; each reinforces God’s promise to Abraham.

Was it difficult to accept? These promises that God presented to Abraham were impossibilities when speaking of the understanding of man. Abraham would need to believe in something that had never happened in nature before, something that was impossible in his own mind. How does he respond? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” (Romans 4:3). I am not sure we ourselves can comprehend this. Abraham when “against hope, believed in hope” (v.18).

Did he receive the blessings only? or were others included in these blessing? Where the circumcised the only ones who would receive the blessings of the covenant? “And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised” (vs.11-12). Through faith, by the plan of God, the promise is “sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all” (v.16).

This faith that Abraham had, was it fragile? When tested did he doubt? As so-called Christians of today are hypocritical, did he believe for a time, but begin to distrust? The bible tells us: “And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness” (vs.19-22). Can we have this kind of faith? Can we be fully persuaded as Abraham was?

Doubt is a tool of Satan to make us lack confidence in God’s Word and consider His judgment unlikely. Any time we allow human reason to overshadow faith in God, sinful doubt is the result. No matter how logical our reasons may seem, God has made foolish the wisdom of the world (1 Corinthians 1:20), and His seemingly foolish plans are far wiser than man’s. Faith is trusting God even when His plan goes against human reason or experience. The remedy for doubt is faith, and faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). God gave us the Bible as a testimony of His works in the past, so we will have a reason to trust Him in the present.

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