Can the Promises be Kept? 1

Today's Bible reading: Genesis 17:1-9

The story of Abraham begins right off the bat with God's call and God's promise“The Lord said to Abram: “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.  And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

God calls – Abraham obeys.  He has to act in faith to follow the call to a strange land.  But from the start the stress is on God's promises: Abraham is to possess the whole land of Canaan … he will become a great nation… and through him, blessing will pass to all people of the world.

It is important for us to note and highlight the dramatic tension in the Abraham stories.  Weakness and sin stand in the way of the promises being fulfilled.  When Abraham reaches the promised land, other owners already live there.  Lot - Abraham's brother-in-law - chooses the good land to the east, leaving Abraham a nomad in the poor country west of the Jordan River.  He even has to buy land in which to bury his wife Sarah when she dies. Only in death does he own some of the promised land!

Prayer: Lord, teach us to treasure the precious Word and Sacraments, which mark and sign us as Your beloved children.  Amen.