God’s Promises to Abraham

Do you know what a promise is?
It is a guarantee, an assurance, or a certainty. People sometimes make promises. For example, “I promise to love you forever.” Or “I promise to give you your money back.” We know that people do not always keep their promises. The Bible tells us that God keeps His promises. King Solomon of Israel said of God’s promises in 1 Kings 8:56: –

“There has not failed one word of all (God’s) good promise..”

In this lesson, we will look at the man called Abraham, who lived about 4000 years ago. God made some special promises to Abraham. We read the promises in the first book of the Bible.

Lesson 9

Lesson 9 read out in full

Promise 1
God said, “I will make you into a great nation… And all nations on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:2-3.

Promise 2
God said, “Through your offspring, all nations on earth will be blessed.” Genesis 22:18.

Promise 3
God said, “To your descendants, I will give this land, from the river of Egypt, to the great river, the Euphrates.” Genesis 15:18.

Let’s now look at these promises more closely.

Promise 1 – “I will make you into a great nation”

a) Abraham is the father of the Jews – the nation of Israel.

b) Abraham is also the father of anyone who believes in God. You might like to write out Galatians 3:7.

So from Abraham, one person, has come a great nation in two ways: –
• his natural children
• his adopted children.

Some other verses you may like to look at: Revelation 5:9-10, Hebrews 11:8-19, and Galatians 3:29.

Promise 2 – “All nations on earth will be blessed through your offspring.”

a) “Offspring” means the same as descendant – to be joined to someone by a ‘blood’ relationship. You are the ‘offspring’ of your parents and grandparents. So, who is the ‘offspring’ that this promise is talking about? Galatians 3:16 tells us that it is Jesus Christ. If you look at Matthew 1:1 or Luke 3:34 you will see that Jesus was a direct descendant of Abraham. Jesus is also God’s Son, the one who gives hope to all Christians, a word which means “Christ’s ones”.

b) “Blessed” – Do you know what this means? It means to be given something good, such as happiness, good health, children, a special skill or talent. For example, we might say about an old man, “he has been blessed with a long life.”

c) How are all the nations to be blessed through Jesus Christ? John 3:16 tells us how.

Jesus tells us that Abraham will be made to live again. He will be blessed along with his children. Although Abraham is dead now, he will live again, because he believed God. If we die, we may live again too, if we believe God.

Promise 3 – “To your descendants I will give this land”

We have learned that Abraham is the father of the Jews/Israelites. The land where they lived is sometimes called “The Promised Land”. In past times, the Israelites have lived in the land of Israel. But they have never really had peace, and because they disobeyed God, He sent them away from their land. Think of the trouble in Israel and the area around it in your own lifetime! You can read about the time of blessing that is coming for Israel in Micah 4:2. Also, Acts 7:3-5 and Hebrews 11:8-19.

What do the Promises Mean to Us?

We find that the New Testament part of the Bible agrees with the story in the Old Testament, even though they were written hundreds of years apart. Read carefully the following verses in Galatians 3:26-29.
The way to become part of Abraham’s family is to believe in God, and to be baptised. We shall look at this in a later lesson.
Things to remember….

  1. God promised Abraham that He has a plan to bless all the nations.
  2. “All nations” means anyone who will listen to God and believe – Australians, Chinese, Koreans, Americans, Africans, Italians, Eskimos! To God all people are precious – He wants everyone to be saved.
  3. God keeps his promises. That good time for the earth will come! Abraham will see it.