“And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.” – Genesis 15:5-6 (NASB)
This is where it begins for every person who by faith believes the Word of God. The words of this verse are the words God spoke to Abram when he reaffirmed His covenant (unbreakable promise) regarding Abram’s descendants. They were to be uncountable. Genesis 15:6 provides an important note, but it does not pinpoint Abram’s conversion. That occurred years earlier when he left Ur. Verse 16 is a truth recorded here because it is foundational for making the covenant. It is repeated three times in the New Testament (Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6; James 2:23) and teach us that righteousness is reckoned in return for faith. It is belief in God which is only by the gift of faith that we are saved. Nothing exists that we can do to earn the righteousness God gives to us in Christ. Good works and good behavior has no bearing on us having from God eternal life. This truth is repeated many times in Scripture. Trusting God’s promises is where it begins for us and those who truly believe by faith will find that it never ends. That is why it is called ‘eternal life.’
“But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.” – Genesis 6:18 (NASB)
Before the Great Flood God said that He would be making a covenant (an unbreakable promise) with Noah (Genesis 6:18). It is after the flood when Noah and his family of 8 exit the ark that God declares what the covenant contains. A covenant is a promise, like a contract, and is worthy. God’s covenant were often backed only by Him and His perfect word. The specifics of this covenant are detailed in Genesis 9:9-16. Verse 13-17 specifies that the ‘bow in the cloud,’ what we call a rainbow, is the sign of this covenant. God’s rainbow is given to remind us of His promise to never totally destroy the earth with all living things again as happened in the Great Flood. God’s rainbow is given to remind us of His promise that cannot be broken. God’s rainbow is not a sign of pride for any human activity but a sign of God Himself who puts it there. God’s rainbow is established for God to remember His covenant, a covenantal promise between Him and every living creature of all flesh. God’s rainbow is not given to enshrine sinfulness or for sinful humans to celebrate their disobedience to God.
“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” – Genesis 3:15.” (ESV)
We spend each day considering verses from God’s Word which contain promises. He keeps all his promises. Today we look at a very important promise God made to the first two humans. Our verse spoken to Satan as a curse contains is the “first gospel” uttered. It came after Satan, inhabiting a serpent, lied to Eve who tripped and fell for the lie along with Adam into the first sin, the original sin. As a result, Adam and Eve have passed on to every human child born in their likeness. All humans are born in the same condition and under the curse of sin. ‘This “first gospel” is prophetic of the struggle and its outcome between “your seed” (Satan and unbelievers, who are called the Devil’s children in Jn 8:44) and her seed (Christ, a descendant of Eve, and those in Him), which began in the garden. In the midst of the curse passage, a message of hope shone forth—the woman’s offspring called “He” is Christ, who will one day defeat the Serpent. Satan could only “bruise” Christ’s heel (cause Him to suffer), while Christ will crush Satan’s head (destroy him with a fatal blow).‘
 John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible., (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), Ge 3:15.
“Then the Lord took note of Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had promised.” – Genesis21:1 (NASB)
When giving someone a promise, how do we go about making our words a promise? There are many ways to demonstrate that we are so sincere in what we say. We hear “I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” This when a witness is placed under oath in a court of law. If the witness fails that promise, it is under penalty of law. Why? Because humans are known to lie and give false testimony even when promising to speak the truth. Such is not the way with the Words of God. Throughout the bible and especially in the Old Testament what is translated as “promised” is from the original a word which means “spoken.” Every time we read ‘God has spoken,’ it is fair to say ‘God has promised.’ Today we hear the term, “my word is my bond.” Frequently found in movies, television and even hip hop and rap music. But only the Words of God can be trusted to be His Promise, His Bond to us. We can rest with explicit assurances that every Word from God is a Promise from God.
“Now he had still another dream, and related it to his brothers, and said, “Lo, I have had still another dream; and behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”” ⸺ “His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.” Genesis 37:9, 11 (NASB)
Exactly what would a seventeen-year-old who is nearly the last of all the sons of their father thinking when he boasts of this dream before them. It is not the first but the second time Joseph had a dream which predicted his whole family being subservient to him some time in the future. Of course his 10 older brothers were put out and became more than a bit envious of Joseph who was obviously their father’s favored son. Envy is a feeling common to humanity. It is also a monster—a giant that can eat anyone alive. “The odious passion of envy,” writes George Lawson, “torments and destroys one’s self while it seeks the ruin of its object. Envy tends to destroy the envier.” The brothers immediately rejected any meaning to Joseph’s words yet still allowed the dream to infuriate them into dangerous and greater hatred of their brother. Jacob, admonished his son Joseph yet pondered the meaning of the dreams. Without knowing it, their envy of Joseph set the brothers on the road to the evils of deceit, malice, and slave-trading their own flesh and blood—to the most despicable forms of cruelty.
- George Lawson, Lectures on the History of Joseph (Banner of Truth, 1972), p 5.
“The Lord was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. And he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian. Now his master saw that the Lord was with him and how the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hand.” – Genesis 39:2-3 (NASB)
Within the story of Joseph, the son of Israel we find many promises from God. A favored son of Jacob, Joseph was treated badly and sold into slavery by his 10 older brothers. If all that Joseph had was his famous brightly colored coat, he would have been ruined when his brothers took it from him and sold him into slavery. But even then Joseph had character and when Joseph lost his coat, he didn’t lose his character. When finding himself a slave to an Egyptian, we would understand a measure of despondency. We’d not be surprised if Joseph refused to become involved in the world around him, protesting Egypt’s paganism, and resenting Potiphar’s authority. This approach, though, would not have provided him an opportunity show God’s mercy and grace. When God’s blessing is on a life, it will be apparent—and sometimes, as we see with Potiphar, even pagans can’t help but notice. Let’s learn to live with like awareness that every matter in our lives, every moment we’re given, and every move we make, and every word we speak is an opportunity to bring glory and praise to God.
“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” – Genesis 28:15 (NASB)
After his trickery and snatching the blessing Isaac intended for Esau, Jacob had to flee for his life. It is Jacob who woke up from a dream of seeing angels ascending and descending a ladder to heaven named the spot El-Bethel because it was where he met God. God affirmed for him the promises and covenant already given to Abraham and Isaac. It was through Ezekiel who described the gates of the New Jerusalem and the city spoke these last words of his prophecy, “And the name of the city from that time on shall be, Yahweh shammah “The LORD Is There.”” (Ezekiel 48:30-35) This name of the LORD expresses a blessed promise and truth about Him: the LORD delights to be wherever His people are. God walked with Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. When they sinned, God instituted sacrifices so that relationships could be partly restored. Ezekiel prophesied a lot about God’s glorious presence with His people. Jesus promises that we would experience His presence wherever we go as His disciples (Matthew 28:20). The heavenly Jerusalem will be marked by the presence of God dwelling with His people as He has always promised.
“After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” 2 But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” ” – Genesis 15:1-2 (ESV)
Have you ever been promised something that seemed impossible that you would see come true? Abram (not yet Abraham) was in that fix. God had promised descendants, children, and so many that they would be impossible to count. To Abram, God’s promise had stalled and he believed he had an answer. Abram suggested adoption of a servant as the male heir—a well-known contemporary custom of the time and culture. Abram considered it a done deal as it was the best official arrangement to make it come to pass⸺humanly speaking. God said No! It will not be ‘this man’ for it will be your very own son who will be your heir. Now eighty-six years old, time was running out for Abram and Sarai (not yet Sarah). In this exchange Abram address God by the name ‘Adonai’ which was a common name meaning lord, master and God. Abram also addressed God by the name YHWH. This is the name God revealed to Moses when He said “I AM WHO I AM.” While many titles are given for God, the name Yahweh is the true name for God. Most translations render the name as LORD – using all capitals.
“The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate. Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Genesis 3:13 (ESV)
When it happened, everything on earth changed from a state of perfection to a state of deterioration. What would have lasted and lived forever because there was no death now had a terminal point. It is very difficult for us to comprehend the extent of this change. Yet, it affected all since that very moment. In a world where all was provided, everything became a need to finding a way to sustain life. No sickness became sickness. Long life became a shorter and shorter. God confronted their actions. “What have you done?” He asked them. But He knew. Some read their replies as excuses. Perhaps they simply stated the facts of what had happened. They were experiencing guilt and shame for the first time. Both quickly acknowledged what they did. They had been deceived but didn’t know yet how to deceive. Going after what they thought was more or better, they got much worse. God knows all the time. And when we stumble, he wants us to own it and confess it, and seek forgiveness through Christ Jesus the Redeemer who was promised by God on that same day. Before they were evicted from the perfect place God promised redemption.