Chapter 2 “God Builds a Nation”
“I will.” These are words of covenant commitment and promise spoken by a sovereign God to Abraham. God’s master plan to restore us to Himself gets a fresh start with these words. God is determined to fulfill His promise in spite of the frailties and failures of His people. God chooses to create a new nation through Abraham, revealing Himself to and working through this new community of faith. God promises Abraham saying “I will…”
• make your descendants into a great nation
• give this nation a land in which to dwell
• bless all other nations through the nation of Israel
And two thousand years later God’s Son was born, a descendant of Abraham, thus fulfilling the covenant promise.
This chapter demonstrates a striking duality: God using broken people to fulfill His unbreakable promises. But on a day-to-day basis, God’s people continue to make bad choices that expose their ever- present sin nature. Abraham and Sarah, waiting for years for the child God promised, opt for a work- around to conceive an heir through Sarah’s servant, Hagar. Isaac and Rebekah raise a very dysfunctional family. Jacob perfects the “workaround method” by conniving and cheating his way through life.
But what sin changes, faith overcomes. In spite of their failures, God’s people respond in faith. Abraham picks up stakes and travels to a foreign land just because God said to. He gives his relative Lot the choice real estate, having faith God would still bless him. Abraham and Sarah, through laughter and tears, finally see God fulfill his promise through the birth of a son, Isaac. In a dramatic episode, Abraham shows he is willing to go so far as sacrificing his only son, Isaac, just because he trusts God. This foreshadows the willingness of God to do the same to his own Son. The key verse of the chapter is: “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” Therein lays the Gospel itself.
His family continues to demonstrate faith. By faith, Isaac finds a wife for his son. Jacob comes to faith after literally wrestling with God. By faith, Esau also shows Jacob grace and forgiveness. With every story, we are reminded that God works through flawed people who take steps of faith.