The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you.
"I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."
So Abram left, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran.
He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.
Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.
The LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your offspring I will give this land." So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him.
Thursday: The Promise
Bible Reading: Genesis 12:1-7, 13:2-18
Jesse Tree Symbol: Tent (go to Jesse Tree ornaments)
Abraham is called the "Father of Faith" and it is no surprise when we think about the promises He believed...the faith He put in God.
"By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God." Hebrews 11:8-10
Abraham didn't know where he was going. God just told him to go. He didn't know what it would be like when he arrived. He didn't know anyone there. He stepped out in faith, not because he was looking forward to his new destination but because he was looking upward at the God whom he trusted and obeyed. That is faith!
This move, however, was not the only step of faith God asked Abraham to take. The next one might have been even more difficult.
No children and no hope of children...Abraham and Sarah were close to 100 years old. It's not physically possible. Their dreams of children had been buried long ago in the desert sands. But God had something else in mind. You see, with the God of the Universe, nothing is impossible. And Abraham believed that. He believed even though everything in his human nature was screaming disbelief. Even his own wife Sarah laughed at the thought of ever having a child (Genesis 18:12).
Not Abraham. "By faith Abraham, even though he was past age-and Sarah herself was barren-was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore." Hebrews 11:11-12
"Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be." Romans 4:18
Abraham believed God instead of what the world said, what his wife said and what his own body said. He not only believed God for a child, but he believed the incredible thought that through this child all the nations would be blessed. How? Abraham was just one man, one family...he wasn't even a nation. How would all nations be blessed through him?
The blessing for all nations is peace with God and eternal salvation. The bearer of this blessing -- Jesus Christ, Abraham's distant descendant. "May his name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun. All nations will be blessed through him, and they will call him blessed." Psalm 72:17
"All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him," Psalm 22:27
God fulfilled His promise to Abraham beyond his wildest dreams. He is still fulfilling that promise today. He is fulfilling it through you, your children and throughout the world. We are part of that promise, children of Abraham: "heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, "Romans 8:17.
"And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, 'Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed." Acts 3:25
As part of God's family, we carry on the promise God made to Abraham so many years ago. It is our duty, our privilege, to tell others about Jesus so they can join His family, so they can become part of the blessing. "He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit." Galatians 3:14
When you are finished today, you might want to sing a couple of Christmas carols, then discuss how Christmas is about giving much more than getting. One way that your family can give is through their daily prayers. This is a good time to pray for a specific country or for a group of people who do not know about Jesus. Today, over 2 billion people, 1/3 of the earth's population, have never heard the Gospel message. They don't know about the promise that God made to Abraham, that they would be blessed. They need our prayers.
Two great websites to help you do this are: