Promise and Problems: The Story of Abraham

I am in the early stages of teaching through Genesis and one of the things that is really hitting home is the pairing of tension in Abraham’s life balanced with God’s promises. We read in 11:30 that Sarah is barren but we read in 12:2-3 that Abraham will be the father of many nations. He goes to the promised land like God told him to in Genesis 12:7 and arrives their safely but a famine drives him to Egypt…not the land God promised. So he has to leave the P.L. He goes to Egypt and ends up fearing for his life because Sarah is beautiful and he fears they will kill him. In the meantime the Egyptians greatly bless Abraham (12:16) with great possessions. He gets to go home but when he gets there he has problems with Lot so they separate. He then has to come and rescue Lot and runs into Melchizedek who blesses him and makes his name great, just like God promised would happen (Gen 14:18-21). On and on it goes…trouble and tension keep brewing and God’s promises keep shining right through and things keep working out.

Life really is like that if you know how to look for it. Abraham’s life is such a healthy reminder that God’s promises aren’t always answered in a nice, neat fashion. God wants us to have faith and often faith is best seen and grown through trouble and seeming challenges to God’s promises. The question is whether or not we will continue to believe what God has promised even when it seems impossible from a worldly point of view. 2 Corinthians 4:14-18 says,

14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.  16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

That first verse implies we are going to die. If you are going to be raised you must first be lowered. But God is graceful in giving us new life even though outwardly all the things that are seen are trying to tell us God will not keep His promises we know inwardly what the truth of the matter is. God is faithful and God will bring an eternal glory that will surpass anything we have ever known. So that is what we look for and when we do we will see it, maybe not in an instant but eventually it will shine through just like God did for Abraham.


About mattdabbs
I am a minister, husband, and father. My wife and I live and minister in Saint Petersburg, Florida. My primary ministry responsibilities include: small groups, 20s and 30s, involvement, and adult education.

3 Responses to Promise and Problems: The Story of Abraham

  1. Gina Morrison says:

    I truly did not understand alot of doctrinal truths until I studied Genesis from this viewpoint; itherwise it seemed like unrelated narratives.
    Genesis – Introduction

    Book Introduction – Genesis
    Read first chapter of Genesis

    GENESIS is the book of beginnings. It records not only the beginning of the heavens and the earth, and of plant, animal, and human life, but also of all human institutions and relationships. Typically, it speaks of the new birth, the new creation, where all was chaos and ruin. With Genesis begins also that progressive self-revelation of God which culminates in Christ. The three primary names of Deity, Elohim, Jehovah, and Adonai, and the five most important of the compound names, occur in Genesis; and that in an ordered progression which could not be changed without confusion. The problem of sin as affecting man’s condition in the earth and his relation to God, and the divine solution of that problem are here in essence. Of the eight great covenants which condition human life and the divine redemption, four, the Edenic, Adamic, Noahic, and Abrahamic Covenants are in this book; and these are the fundamental covenants to which the other four, the Mosaic, Palestinian, Davidic, and New Covenants, are related chiefly as adding detail or development. Genesis enters into the very structure of the New Testament, in which it is quoted above sixty times in seventeen books. In a profound sense, therefore, the roots of all subsequent revelation are planted deep in Genesis, and whoever would truly comprehend that revelation must begin here. The inspiration of Genesis and it character as a divine revelation are authenticated by the testimony of Christ ( Matthew 19:4-6 ; 24:37-39 ; Mark 10:4-9 ; Luke 11:49-51 ; Luke 17:26-29 Luke 17:32 ; John 1:5 ; 7:21-23 ; John 8:44 John 8:56 ).

    Genesis is in five chief divisions:

    Creation ( 1:1-2:25 )
    The fall and redemption ( 3:1-4,7 ).
    The Diverse Seeds, Cain and Seth, to the Flood ( 4:8-7:24 ).
    The Flood to Babel ( 8:1-11:9 ).
    From the call of Abram to the death of Joseph ( 11:10-32:26 ).
    The events recorded in Genesis cover a period of 2,315 years (Ussher).

  2. Gina Morrison says:

    I’ll provide a link to my favorite commentary and you might enjoy reading it as it indeed does reveal major doctrinal foundations and illuminates our understanding of the NT. You might find it interesting to contrast this commentary to others at the same site. I prefer the NKJ as it does not try and simply the scriptures but demands us to truly examine and study God’s Word.

    Chapter 14
    14:14 And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.

    when Abram

    It is Abram the separated man who has power to help. See Genesis 19:29 ; 2 Timothy 2:20 2 Timothy 2:21

    14:18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.

    1 Melchizedek, type of Christ the King-Priest. The type strictly applies to the priestly work of Christ in resurrection, since Melchizedek presents only the memorials of sacrifice, bread and wine. “After the order of Melchizedek” Hebrews 6:20 refers to the royal authority and unending duration of Christ’s high priesthood Hebrews 7:23 Hebrews 7:24 . The Aaronic priesthood was often interrupted by death. Christ is a priest after the order of Melchizedek, as King of righteousness, King of peace ; Isaiah 11:4-9 ; Hebrews 7:2 and in the endlessness of his priesthood; but the Aaronic priesthood typifies His priestly work.

    most high God

    2 “Most high,” or “most high God” (Heb. El Elyon). “Elyon means simply “highest.”

    (1) The first revelation of this name ( Genesis 14:8 ) indicates its distinctive meanings. Abram, returning from his victory over the confederated kings Genesis 14:1-17 is met by Melchizedek, King of Salem. . . the “priest of the most high God” (El Elyon), who blesses Abram in the name of El Elyon, “possessor of heaven and earth.” This revelation produced a remarkable impression upon the patriarch. Not only did he at once give Melchizedek “tithes of all” the spoil of the battle, but when the King of Sodom offered other of that spoil to Abram, his answer was; “I have lift up mine hand unto the Lord Jehovah, the most high God El-Elyon, the possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet,” etc. Genesis 14:18-23 .

    (a) The Lord (Jehovah) is know to a Gentile king (Melchizedek) by the name “most high god” El Elyon);

    (b) a Gentile is the priest of El Elyon and

    (c) His distinctive character as most high God is “possessor of heaven and earth.”

    Appropriately to this Gentile knowledge of God by His name “Most High,” we read that “the Most High divided to the nations i.e. Gentiles] their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam,” etc. Deuteronomy 32:8 . As “possessor heaven and earth,” it was the prerogative of the Most High to distribute the earth among the nations according to whatever principle He chose. That principle is declared Deuteronomy 32:8 . To the same purport is the use of the name in Daniel, the book of Gentile prophecy ; Daniel 3:26 ; Daniel 4:17 Daniel 4:24 Daniel 4:25 Daniel 4:32 Daniel 4:34 Daniel 4:35 ; Daniel 5:18 Daniel 5:21 .

    (2) As “possessor of heaven and earth,” the most high God has and exercises authority in both spheres:

    (a) the heavenly authority of El Elyon (e.g. Daniel 4:35 Daniel 4:37 ; Isaiah 14:13 Isaiah 14:14 ; Matthew 28:18

    Matt, here’s the link

  3. Gina Morrison says:

    2 Corinthians 4

    n these verses the apostle gives an account of their courage and patience under all their sufferings, where observe,I. How their sufferings, and patience under them, are declared, v. 8-12. The apostles were great sufferers; therein they followed their Master: Christ had told them that in the world they should have tribulation, and so they had; yet they met with wonderful support, great relief, and many allays of their sorrows. “We are,’’ says the apostle, “troubled on every side, afflicted many ways, and we meet with almost all sorts of troubles; yet not distressed, v. 8. We are not hedged in nor cooped up, because we can see help in God, and help from God, and have liberty of access to God.’’ Again, “We are perplexed, often uncertain, and in doubt what will become of us, and not always without anxiety in our minds on this account; yet not in despair (v. 8), even in our greatest perplexities, knowing that God is able to support us, and to deliver us, and in him we always place our trust and hope.’’ Again, “We are persecuted by men, pursued with hatred and violence from place to place, as men not worthy to live; yet not forsaken of God,’’ v. 9. Good men may be sometimes forsaken of their friends, as well as persecuted by their enemies; but God will never leave them nor forsake them. Again, “We are sometimes dejected, or cast down; the enemy may in a great measure prevail, and our spirits begin to fail us; there may be fears within, as well as fightings without; yet we are not destroyed,’’ v. 9. Still they were preserved, and kept their heads above water. Note, Whatever condition the children of God may be in, in this world, they have a “but not’’ to comfort themselves with; their case sometimes is bad, yea very bad, but not so bad as it might be. The apostle speaks of their sufferings as constant, and as a counterpart of the sufferings of Christ, v. 10. The sufferings of Christ were, after a sort, re-acted in the sufferings of Christians; thus did they bear about the dying of the Lord Jesus in their body, setting before the world the great example of a suffering Christ, that the life of Jesus might also be made manifest, that is, that people might see the power of Christ’s resurrection, and the efficacy of grace in and from the living Jesus, manifested in and towards them, who did yet live, though they were always delivered to death (v. 11), and though death worked in them (v. 12), they being exposed to death, and ready to be swallowed up by death continually. So great were the sufferings of the apostles that, in comparison with them, other Christians were, even at this time, in prosperous circumstances: Death worketh in us; but life in you, v. 12.II. What it was that kept them from sinking and fainting under their sufferings, v. 13-18. Whatever the burdens and troubles of good men may be, they have cause enough not to faint.1. Faith kept them from fainting: We have the same spirit of faith (v. 13), that faith which is of the operation of the Spirit; the same faith by which the saints of old did and suffered such great things. Note, The grace of faith is a sovereign cordial, and an effectual antidote against fainting-fits in troublous times. The spirit of faith will go far to bear up the spirit of a man under his infirmities; and as the apostle had David’s example to imitate, who said (Ps. 116:10 ), I have believed, and therefore have I spoken, so he leaves us his example to imitate: We also believe, says he, and therefore speak. Note, As we receive help and encouragement from the good words and examples of others, so we should be careful to give a good example to others.2. Hope of the resurrection kept them from sinking, v. 14. They knew that Christ was raised, and that his resurrection was an earnest and assurance of theirs. This he had treated of largely in his former epistle to these Corinthians, ch. 15. And therefore their hope was firm, being well grounded, that he who raised up Christ the head will also raise up all his members. Note, The hope of the resurrection will encourage us in a suffering day, and set us above the fear of death; for what reason has a good Christian to fear death, that dies in hope of a joyful resurrection?3. The consideration of the glory of God and the benefit of the church, by means of their sufferings, kept them from fainting, v. 15. Their sufferings were for the church’s advantage ch. 1:6

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