Athlete, Glory is Coming

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

Read Genesis 26

This is the first time we've heard God's covenant with Abraham explicitly passed on to Isaac. Isaac's descendants will become a great people, inherit a land of abundance, and bless all nations. As a foretaste of these blessings, God blesses Isaac immensely in the land and gives him peace with the surrounding peoples, in spite of some extremely difficult neighbors and a famine.

Notice that the basis for the covenant blessings has changed from God's unconditional promise to Abraham's obedience (26:5). How does that work?  Is God's covenant one-sided or two-sided, unconditional or conditional?  Yes!  God's covenant promises do carry conditions of obedience, so the covenant is two-sided. However, in the New Testament, we discover that Jesus fulfilled the conditions of the covenant on our behalf and, as the Holy Spirit gives us life, He enables us to begin walking in God's covenant ways. In this sense, the covenant is one-sided or unconditional.

Abraham thus typifies Jesus in his faithfulness to God's covenant, while at the same time being a fellow sinner in need of inclusion in Christ's righteousness.  Jesus is a better Abraham, a better head of the people of God (John 8:58).  Isaac is called to walk this same path of covenant obedience, but we see in this chapter that he struggles to fully trust God, just as Abraham struggled. We, the church, are the international people of blessing promised to Abraham and Isaac, and we are called to the same faithfulness to God's covenant as we also look forward to a promised land, the new earth (Revelation 21-22). Like Abraham and Isaac, we at times receive foretastes of the coming glory, but we walk by faith in a faithful God, not by sight (Hebrews 11:13).

Questions for Reflection & Prayer

1. Can you think of ways in your life that God has given you foretastes of coming glory?  Perhaps through a deep friendship or fellowship with a group of people, family, fruitfulness in work, material blessing, joy experienced in the arts or athletics, etc.

2. We should enjoy and give thanks for any foretastes of glory that God gives, but we also need to ask ourselves if we are living by faith or by sight. Is your hope and joy based on what you see God providing or not providing, or is it based on the character of a God so faithful and loving that He became one of us in order to fulfill our end of the covenant?

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