Genesis 22:15–18, Deuteronomy 1:10, Isaiah 54:1–10, Romans 4:13–25 (read online ⧉)
Twice God promised Abraham (and once for Jacob) that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars. Imagine all the stars without our modern lights drowning them out. For Abraham that was a promise beyond expectation, and certainly beyond anything that God needed to promise for Abraham’s obedience. God made this promise of God’s own free will.
As inheritor’s of God’s promise, Moses reminded the Israelites of God’s fulfilled promise prior to their entry into the Promised Land. The Israelites were the result of Abraham’s faithfulness. That God was faithful gave them hope as they entered the promised land, as long as they listened to God.
Often keeping the flame of hope going is a challenge while everyone else’s life seems to be a huge successful bonfire. The promise of uncountable descendants is extraordinarily painful when one is childless. Isaiah speaks of Israel that has no children. This symbolic Israel is God’s faithful bride. She has no children of faith, for they have all left the faith. The enemies of and in the world have drawn her offspring away from the Water of Life. God, however, promises the now barren Israel will have innumerable children.
This is what Paul is referring to as the Promise of Faith. Being the Father of Nations (Abraham) is no longer an issue of blood, but the fulfillment of the faith that Abraham showed to God and those that put their hope in Jesus. Through Jesus, we all become part of “the blood” of Abraham, and part of the “nations” that he fathered.
1) Why do you think Isaiah used barren as a sign of hope?
2) Why is important to recall the fulfilled promises of God? What does it do for us?
FD) Why do you think hope often symbolized by a flame?