An International Center for Fellowship and Learning

Covenants of God – Lesson 4: The Covenant with Abraham

Memory Verse: “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” —Galatians 3:16

Scripture Reading: Genesis 15:1-18

Introduction:

In about four centuries after the flood the earth was again filled with wickedness. Abraham was one of the very few who dared to remember God and he was called to leave his native land in the lower Euphrates Valley to receive a land what would be shown to him (Genesis 12:1; Hebrews 11:8). God saw in Abraham one on whom He could depend on, but he had to be separated from his people who were mostly idolaters. The promise made according to Genesis 12:1-3 was not made to any man prior to that time. With this great promise God also expected great things from Abraham, and because Abraham believed and was considered righteous, God gave the covenant of circumcision (Romans 4:11; Genesis 17:8-14; Acts 7-9).

The Covenants made with Adam and Noah were not annulled, but changing conditions made necessary a covenant with Abraham to restore the knowledge of God and His “Plan of Redemption” or it would fade from the minds of men. This covenant was of dual nature, in that it pertained to the inheritance of the land and the gospel concerning Christ. The land shown to Abraham was Canaan, at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea. By its geological position it was the crossroad of nations.

But a test lay before Abraham, the hardest test that God had ever required of anyone. Isaac, the son of promise must die, and if so, how would the covenant be fulfilled? It is only natural to think this caused Abraham much concern for much depended upon his obedience. The record states: “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform” (Romans 4:20-21). The blessings of the covenant were again repeated (Genesis 22:16-18) and Abraham stood the test and was approved. By His oath, because God could swear by none greater, God held Himself duty bound to honor His covenant with Abraham (Hebrews 6:13-14). Abraham, by obedience showed a working faith and was called “the Friend of God” (James 2:20-26) and he became the “father of the faithful,” as all who have faith in Christ are his children. Through the seed of Isaac would come the promised blessings and the Messiah, who by His name Jesus became the Savior of men, and the One who will in time bruise the head of the serpent and thus fulfill Genesis 3:15. Through the atonement, the blessing of forgiveness of sins was made for all (Acts 3:25-26; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Romans 4:6-8). Our inheritance of the kingdom of God depends on our faithfulness and obedience to Christ and His way of life.

Study Questions:

  1. What covenant of promise did God make with Abraham? Genesis 12:1-3. How old was Abraham then? Genesis 12:4.
  2. How did God enlarge the promise? Genesis 13:14-17; Genesis 17:1-13; Genesis 22:5-18. How did Abraham respond? Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3.
  3. Was the literal seed of Abraham true to God’s covenant with them? Exodus 32:1-8; Deuteronomy 31:24-30; 2 Kings 17:13-17.
  4. Is obedience likewise expected of us? John 14:13-15; Matthew 19:16-17; 1 John 2:1-4; James 2:10-12; Revelation 12:17; Revelation 22:14.
  5. Through whom would the seed of the woman come? Genesis 22:18; Romans 9-7; Galatians 3:16-18; Hebrews 11:18.
  6. How did Stephen describe the call of Abraham? Acts 7:2-5. Why did God take him away from his people? Joshua 24:2-3. Was his call different to the call of every Christian? 2 Corinthians 6:16-18; Revelation 18:4-5.
  7. How long were Abraham and his descendants to be “strangers and pilgrims” in a strange land, and what would be their experience? Genesis 15:13-14; Acts 7:6-7; Galatians 3:17. Note: The 430 years sojourning of Exodus 12:40-41 began when the promise was first made to Abraham. The 400 years affliction started when Ishmael began to mistreat Isaac. Paul stated that the 430 years were from the time of the promise—to the giving of the law at Sinai (Galatians 3:17).
  8. Has Abraham yet received this literal promise? Hebrews 11:39. When will he receive it? Hebrews 11:8-13; Luke 13:23, 28-29.
  9. How may we become seed of Abraham and heirs of the same promise? Galatians 3:7, 22, 26-29.