When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless.And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous.”Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations.No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations.I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you…God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name.I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.”
Summary— Until the Fall, God was the God of the human race—all two members. God’s being a person’s God was a given: of course He was! But sin changed that. Once we fell, God’s being a person’s God was no longer a given: now, God might not be one’s God. It’s a terrible prospect. What could be more horrifying than the thought that God is not your God? What could be more comforting than the thought that He is? And so God graciously approached pagan Abram, put him into covenant with Him, and promised him many things: God promised him land, offspring, and a unique role in global blessing. But these weren’t the only things that God promised Abraham; they weren’t the greatest thing that God promised Abraham: the greatest thing that God promised Abraham was Himself. “I will be God to you and to your offspring after you”—this was the centerpiece of God’s kindness. In fact, God said as much back in 15:1, “I am your shield, your very great reward.” God Himself was Abraham’s reward. And He would be the same to Abraham’s offspring if Abraham “commanded them to keep the way of the Lord” (18:19).
Insight— In Psalm 63:1, David cried, “O God, you are my God!” How did he know that? Why could he say it? Because he knew his Bible: God had promised to be God to Abraham and to his offspring, and that meant him. It means you, too, according to St. Paul: “In Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ…And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise” (Gal. 3:26-29). You may, indeed you should, draw from God’s covenant with Abraham the same comfort that David did: God is your God. Because of this covenant, you are not “without God in the world” (Eph. 2:11-13). God has chosen you, loves you, and by your baptism has promised to be yours. And if God is your God then God is for you, and if God is for you then who can be against you (Rom. 8:31)? If God is your God, then He Himself is your portion forever (Ps. 73:25-26).
Child Catechism— What is the greatest thing that God promises us? To be our God!
Discussion— Could God have born you to an unbelieving family? If He had done so, would this covenant relate to you in the same way?
Prayer— Everlasting Father, none but Yourself compelled You to make Yourself Abram’s God; none but Yourself compels You to make us his offspring. Because of these great kindnesses, O God, You are our God. Whatever else fails, You are our portion forever: You are our very great reward. Grant that we might treasure You as Your greatest gift, and that we might lead our children to do the same so that You may bring to us what You have promised, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Contributed by Scott Cline