God appeared to Abram again and confirmed His promises to Abram, and reassured Abram that He would keep them. God told Abram to go outside and count the stars in the night sky, if indeed he could – that was the number of his offspring-to-be!
“Abram believed the LORD, and He credited it to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:6). This is easily one of apostle Paul’s favourite Bible verses. He used it frequently in his letters, encouraging and challenging the young churches around the Roman Empire to live by faith. It is by faith in Jesus we are made right with God, not by doing good things or avoiding bad things.
Abram was credited with righteousness because he believed God. God created a covenant with him.
So did God keep this covenant? Let’s jump to Deuteronomy 1:8-11 (about 500 years later):
8 See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land the Lord swore he would give to your fathers—to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—and to their descendants after them.” 9 At that time I said to you, “You are too heavy a burden for me to carry alone. 10 The Lord your God has increased your numbers so that today you are as numerous as the stars in the sky. 11 May the Lord, the God of your ancestors, increase you a thousand times and bless you as he has promised!
I would call that ‘promise kept’!
In our service when we looked at this passage, we considered how our own experience and outlook may be like that of Abram’s.
Is the Church in terminal decline, slipping down to a dirty, untidy death?
Is this the last generation of Christians in our culture?
Is the rise of other religions a sign that God has shifted and doing something different?
The answer to ALL of these questions is No!
If we opened our ears and eyes to what God is doing in the world, in His Church, in bringing many people from other religions into a living relationship and covenant with Jesus Christ, we will quickly understand, like Abram, that what we think we see is not the whole story.
God is moving in His Church, which is growing exponentially in Africa, Asia and South America. He is working in the Church in Australia, growing and spreading amongst people who hear His Word – and believe. To them is given the kingdom of God, life that never dies, and the gift of righteousness along with faithful Abram.
God keeps His Word and His covenant. Jesus is the new covenant, and He is greater than anything raised against Him, including our doubts and fears.