Read Genesis 11:27-30; 12:1-3; 15:1-6, 17.
People make promises all the time. It is wonderful when someone keeps a promise that they have made to you. Perhaps you have been the victim of a broken promise. A man named Abram who lived in Ur received both a command and a promise from God Himself. The command was for Abram to go from the city in which he lived and everything he knew to a land which Abram had never seen. But, Abram also received a promise from God. Abram would receive an heir and become great. In fact, all the people in the world would be blessed because of Abram.
Abram and his extended family obeyed God and left Ur and travelled to the new land. Along the way, Abram and his wife Sarai deceived the Pharaoh of Egypt, dealt with family strife, and fought a major battle. He had become powerful in the area, but Abram still had no heir. It is quite reasonable to think that he questioned the promise that God made to him. Abram already considered Plan B to fulfill God’s promise himself (it wouldn’t be the last time, though). God repeated His promise that Abram would have a biological child and, eventually, more descendants than could be counted. Abram believed God’s promise and God counted that faith as righteousness, that is to say, Abram came, through God’s will and action into a right relationship with God. In a dramatic display, God made a covenant with Abram with an animal split into two pieces and a visible manifestation of a burning torch moving between the pieces. This covenant was not a bilateral agreement. God Himself took the initiative and the burden of fulfilling the covenant.
Because of our faith in Christ, we are the recipient of many promises from God, not the least of which is eternal salvation and a place with God in heaven when we die. We might like to think that we don’t doubt those promises, unlike Abram, but, if we are honest, those times do come. Much like God’s promise to Abram, God takes all the initiative and burden to fulfill His promises to us. Because we see God’s work both in the Biblical accounts and in our lives, we have experience that He will keep His promises to us.