Athlete, God Makes Promises

*This devotional series was written by the AIA staff team at the University of Virginia

Read Genesis 11:10-12:9

This is a monumental passage, crucial for understanding the story that God is telling in the world.  From Shem (11:10), one of Noah's three sons, comes Abram (11:27ff.), the father of the Jewish nation, Israel.  God makes enormous covenant-promises to Abram.  Not only will he give Abram a good land and make him into a great nation, but through this nation God intends to bless "all peoples on earth" (12:2-3, 7).  From the very beginning, God chose Abram and Israel NOT so that they could keep God's blessing to themselves, but so that He might bless all peoples through them!  We see the power and faithfulness of God in the Old Testament as God does indeed provide a good land for Israel and make them into a great nation.  However, the story of the Old Testament is largely one of Israel's failure to bless the nations.  Israel failed to be a light to the nations, so God sent his son Jesus as a faithful son of Abram, to do what Israel could not do on her own.  Now the blessing of God is going out to every nation through Jesus' church.  

It's important to know that God did not choose Abram because of anything particularly good about Abram.  See Joshua 24:2-3 where we learn that Abram was worshipping other gods when God called him into a relationship.  Abram responds in faith to God's call (see also Hebrews 11:8-10) and in worship (12:8).  

 Questions for Reflection and Prayer

1. Just as Abram looked forward to God's provision of the good land of Canaan and the blessing of all nations through Israel, Christians long for a new earth, full of the abundance of God's gifts, and the perfect union of the international people of God.  Are you longing for God's renewal of the world and the final reconciliation of his people?  Where do you really need the hope of God's final renewal and reconcilation right now?  How does this longing and hope impact your goals and work today?

2. How does God's unchanging compassion for all peoples impact your heart?  

3.  Abram took a huge step of faith, leaving behind the familiarity of his home and the comforts of his man-made gods.  Where might God be calling you out of your comforts to be on mission with him?

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