A Promise of Land
Key Verse: “In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.”
TO BEGIN OUR LESSON, we call to mind the importance of covenants and oaths made by God to members of the human family—as in this instance involving Abram. Throughout the Scriptures, the Heavenly Father is shown as a constant source of absolute truth. Consider the words: “He who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth.”—Isa. 65:16
Looking further into this oath-bound covenant made by God to Abram, we note from the Scriptures that it was repeated and confirmed to him on numerous occasions. Our lesson focuses on one of the many confirmations of that covenant. Paul calls our attention to the fact that by two unchangeable things—God’s Word and his oath—these covenant promises bring “strong consolation” to those of the household of faith. (Heb. 6:18,19) This “little flock,” like Abram, have fled their former “land” of this present world, and have taken refuge and consolation in the same hopes expressed in God’s covenant promises made to him so many centuries ago.
Indeed, God’s first dealings with Abram are recorded for us concerning the instructions given to him to leave the land that he was dwelling in—Ur of the Chaldees. (Gen. 11:31) We read about this in Genesis 12:1-3: “Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, … unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” The location of the “land” mentioned in the covenant was not specified until Abram had fully complied with the conditions previously given—to leave his former country and follow the leadings of God. Upon doing this, and entering the land of Canaan, God told Abram that this was the land he would be given.—Gen. 12:4-7; Acts 7:2-6
This covenant of promise was later reaffirmed by God as recorded in these words from Genesis 17:1-4: “The Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, … And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. … As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.” Another important event is recorded in verse 5 of this chapter—the changing of Abram’s name by God. “Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram [high father], but thy name shall be Abraham [father of a multitude]; for a father of many nations have I made thee.”
The Apostle Paul mentions these promises, that they “might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations).” (Rom. 4:16,17) From our study, we see that these promises were to two groups. First, they were to Abraham’s natural seed, the nation of Israel. Second, they were to his spiritual seed, Christ and his faithful followers. When thus fulfilled, at the time of Christ’s Millennial kingdom, “all families of the earth [shall] be blessed.”—Gen. 12:3; Dan. 4:3; James 2:5