#004 Bible Discussion: Genesis 12-24 ABRAHAM
In this episode of About That Bible, Nathan and Ailsa go over the story of Abraham. Abraham is the father of our faith and we discuss his covenant with God.
01:23 What are covenants?
04:45 What is Abraham’s walk with children? We know that he doesn’t have children for a long time.
12:40 Abraham is going to be a blessing to the nation.
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Episode 004 Transcript
Ailsa: Welcome to About That Bible with Every Nation NYC we are here to help you get more out of that Bible. My name is Ailsa, this is Nathan and we're going to talk about the Bible. It's as simple as that. Today we are talking about Abraham and covenant.
Ailsa: Yeah, Abraham, the father of our faith and covenant. First off, Nathan, can you summarize? I'm going to help you.
Nathan: Please do.
Ailsa: The life of Abraham, who is Abraham?
Nathan: Abraham is a nobody until God calls him. He says 'leave your father's house, come and follow me, I'm going to bless you, multiply you, make you a great nation.' And so then we set off on this epic journey. God and Abraham he gets in some fights. He wins some fights.
Ailsa: He wonders about.
Nathan: He wins some fights saving his brother, brother in law?
Nathan: Nephew, Lot. And then eventually God delivers on his promise and gives him a son. And that's Abraham's life.
Ailsa: That's Abraham and then he starts being the family that leads to Jesus basically. So, Abraham, you talked about how he gets these promises with God and we call that covenant in Christian circles, could you help us out, what on earth is that?
Nathan: In Judeo Christian circles.
Nathan: A covenant is an agreement between any two people really. It was a promise and it was typically done with an exchange of kina an exchange of goods or.
Ailsa: Is it more binding than a promise?
Nathan: It's like a formalized promise.
Ailsa: Ok. Oh, like we have one.
Nathan: Yes, we do and there was some exchanging of stuff.
Ailsa: Oh yeah, rings!
Nathan: Not a dowery.
Ailsa: Thanks for this, that was good. Yeah. So what is, can you help us out, what does Abraham promise, what are they exchanging goods with God?
Nathan: Yeah, so the first one that we encounter. First God just calls Abraham out and he says, 'leave your fathers house' and Abraham starts following him. It's shortly thereafter that God promises specifically an offspring. He says before, 'I'll make you a nation' but then he promises specifically, it's going to be an offspring.
Ailsa: To be clear, Abraham at this point, he's quite old.
Nathan: Yeah, he's 75 when God calls him.
Ailsa: No kids.
Nathan: And no kids. Pretty sure it's a done deal that he's going to have no kids.
Nathan: But then God makes it clear, like no, it's going to be an offspring, your offspring. Abraham continues on for a while, it's about ten years later, I think, that God formalized the covenant with him in Genesis chapter 15.
Ailsa: Does it give us a date? time periods?
Nathan: It gives us ages.
Nathan: And so I think it says 10 years later. And then by the time Abraham has his son Isaac he's actually 100.
Ailsa: Oh man, so.
Nathan: So he does wait 15, no sorry, 25 years from the time of calling to the time of delivery.
Ailsa: So the covenant with God that Abraham has is or Abram at the time, is for what things mainly?
Nathan: So God promises that he's going to make Abram a great nation that he's going to bring him a son, that he's going to bless him with land, and that though this blessing, he's going to be a blessing to many nations. A blessing to the world.
Ailsa: Ok, so, We're going to take a break, but we're going to come back and we'll talk about Abraham and children, Abraham and the land, and Abraham and the blessing.
Nathan: So, if you are looking for a church, I'd like to talk a little bit about the church that I lead and I'm a part of. It's called Every Nation NYC, There you can know God, grow together, discover your purpose, and make a difference. We exist for you. We're founded in central Manhattan and you can find more information at everynationnyc.org, there you will find service times and locations as well as other events that we have on offer. I hope that we can see you at one of our services coming up.
Ailsa: And now we're back. So, Abraham What is Abraham's walk with children. Because he does not have children for a long time but God shows up and gives him a promise, what's going on?
Nathan: Yeah, god promises children, and it seems like he does not deliver for quite a while.
Nathan: And so around the ten-year mark Abraham's wife Sarai at the time takes matters into her own hands and says ‘we've got this concubine,’ or not even a concubine excuse me just her servant.
Ailsa: To be fair, she does this straight after one of the covenants right?
Nathan: Yeah, God cuts like a formal covenant with Abraham it's very formalized in Genesis chapter 15 and in Genesis 16, boom.
Ailsa: There is a reason that those sit right beside each other in the Bible. So then, what happens with Sarah?
Nathan: Sarah offers her servant to Abraham, says here 'sleep with this woman and let's see if we can make a baby that way.'
Ailsa: So she's trying to get around the covenant? Or like make the covenant happen in her own way?
Nathan: Yes, yeah, she manipulates the covenant and tries to find a loophole in it.
Ailsa: Which by the way, I actually kinda like about the story, because you're like oh yeah, I totally do that right? You get a promise from God and then you try and like, oh this is what he means. This is what he means that he doesn't mean that I'm going to have a baby he just means, maybe like you know, Abraham's going to have a kid.
Nathan: Well, so explain how we, how we might do that in a real-life circumstance, hopefully, hopefully, nobodies like offering their...
Ailsa: No, I did not mean like that, ahh you know. But, there are times, you know, where we get a promise from God and we think well, maybe this is what he means when he says that. Like he can't mean fully like the full miracle that I'm imagining, he maybe just means that I'm going to you know, I can't think of an actual example right now. That's just not helpful.
Nathan: So in some way settling for less.
Ailsa: Yes, and we make up what the promise might mean.
Nathan: We could probably potentially do that often with a spouse or something like that.
Ailsa: Oh yeah, good one. Like, you know, we could just settle.
Nathan: Definitely, potential all over the place to settle in our lives for less than what God has promised us.
Ailsa: Yeah, but in the end, God makes a way, he makes his way with Abraham and Sarah.
Nathan: He does, so Abraham does sleep with this woman, Hagar, Sarai's servant, maid, and they make a baby, call him Ishmael. And God makes it very clear, Abraham almost like brings him to God, God appears to him again and he's like well here's my son, and God says, 'not that one'. And that's actually when God cuts a second covenant with Abraham and this one is the covenant of circumcision. The first one was all the animals. Abraham chops all these animals in half. And in this one, Abraham gets chopped himself, it's very personal.
Ailsa: Ahh, so it almost like drives it deeper in some ways.
Nathan: I'm sure it felt a lot more personal for Abraham on the second round.
Ailsa: Just like, Not what I meant Abraham, not what I meant.
Nathan: And so that very distinguishes Ishmael, not in the covenant and Isaac who is now the product of this circumcised Abraham, is part of the covenant cut.
Ailsa: And Sarah's Son.
Nathan: And he's Sarah's son, yes.
Ailsa: And she gets pregnant at.
Nathan: I think 90 years old.
Nathan: It's a miracle.
Ailsa: And then the rest of the Bible goes through how there's a whole line and there's a whole bunch of families that come from Isaac.
Nathan: Yes, we are waiting on the promised seed of the woman from Genesis 3 When God preaches the gospel to satan in Genesis 3 to the snake he says, 'there's going to be an offspring of this woman' and so the Bible has this full genealogies all the time genealogies, genealogies and it's saying that the one, the promised one is coming, the promised one is coming.
Nathan: And they're all summed up in Jesus. and there are no, from the star of Matthew and Luke, there are no more genealogies in the new testament.
Ailsa: Because of Jesus and we're done.
Nathan: They've been summed up, yeah.
Ailsa: So we've got the promise of Isaac, and then there is also a promise to do with the land. And what is or a covenant to do with the land what's that?
Nathan: Yeah, there is, God promises Abraham That he's got this land for him. That it's going to be his land, and today it's the land of Israel modern-day Israel.
Ailsa: But, he does not get it right?
Nathan: That's true he does not get it. He does not see, I mean he sees it, but he does not own.
Ailsa: But does he like live, does he like walk around and live on it?
Nathan: Yes. He's like kind of nomadic. He's in it but he's living a nomadic life. He's a shepherding, he's herding his flocks there. By the end of his life, he buys a small piece of it.
Nathan: And he buries his wife Sarai there or Sarah there. And that's it.
Ailsa: That's all he sees of it. But when you read the Bible again you see where his people get to inherit that.
Ailsa: Ahhh, that's a bummer though, isn't it? He got this promise from God and he didn't see it.
Nathan: But he was faithful in the meantime and I think that this is like really important. So often times Christians see their life and all of God's promises hinging on their immediate future. So if it doesn't happen in the next week, if it doesn't happen in the next year, five years, ten years. God makes promises that are bigger than our life. Bigger than even our life span. He's thinking generationally, he's thinking long term. So often times we can live with a level of disillusionment because we were just not patient or did not have a big enough scope. So God's covenants he means these things they are deep they're meaningful He's going to deliver but he does not always deliver... Right in the next thing.
Ailsa: Right in the next six months.
Nathan: I'm going to find a scripture verse from the new testament that talks to this.
Ailsa: Oh, nice.
Nathan:So here's this scripture, it's Hebrews chapter 11, verse 13 through 16. I'm going to read verse 13 and 16."These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth... But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city." and then it goes on to talk about how Abraham when he was tested, offered up Isaac. So the context is all about Abraham and Sarah, how they saw the land but they did not possess it. But even so, God was preparing for them a city. What's funny is that that is not even fulfilled in the conquest of Israel. It's fulfilled much much later and is still yet to be fulfilled when the city of Jerusalem will come down Revelation chapter 20.
Ailsa: Oh man, so you're saying the covenant of Abraham is not yet completed?
Nathan: The covenant continues.
Ailsa: Oh, that's like ongoing. Ok, and then the last bit they talk about how he's going to be a blessing to the nations?
Nathan: He's going to be a blessing to the nations. And so it's hard to do when you don't have any land and you don't have any great resources, you don't have any children and God brings to Abraham this child and it's though Isaac and through the generations that follow that the people of Israel are going to come about. The Hebrew people, the Jewish people. And it's from them that we get the Messiah, Jesus.
Nathan: And so God has this plan all along to bring his son into the world to bring Jesus into the world to be a blessing. So when we look at this as well and we consider Christianity and it's global spread particularly if you have a global mindset Christianity is not head in any one ethnicity, it's not held in any one single culture, it's a truly global religion. It's not tied to North America or Europe or South America. There are millions of Christians in Asia, there are millions of Christians in Africa, Millions of Christians in South America, North America, and Europe. It's truly global.
Ailsa: And that all comes from the covenant with Abraham.
Nathan: That is. That's the promise of God that he made thousands of years ago to Abraham.
Ailsa: To one man.
Nathan: That we would all be blessed through him. And so that's why we call him the father of our faith.
Ailsa: And on that note that was about that bible with Every Nation NYC. Don't forget you can follow us on Instagram or Twitter at AbouThat Bible and if you're interested in Every Nation NYC you can go to evarynationnyc.org and you can find all our service times on there. Thanks, guys, we'll see you soon.