Day 4

Jesus Is The True & Better Abraham

from the Advent 2015: Born Is The King reading plan


Genesis 12:1-4, John 8:54-56, Galatians 3:6-14

What are the greatest risks you’ve taken this year? Where have you taken a step of faith, unsure of what would follow?

God calls us to things that leave us feeling vulnerable. Why do we feel this way? Because although God knows exactly what He means to do in and through us, from our limited point of view anything could happen. We see only a fraction of what the Lord knows. It has always been this way.

It is the kindness of God to move us to a place where we have no choice but to trust Him. Look at Abram and you will see that God’s call put everything in Abram’s life on the table—his home, his community, his wife, his descendants, his security, and his legacy. On top of all that, God told Abram that the call to follow Him would eventually become a blessing to the nations. So not only would everything in Abram’s own life be affected by following God, so would the entire world.

The call was framed as a covenant—a promise that God would fulfill through Abram’s life. The promise was that God would take a people to Himself and never let them go, and that all the nations of the earth would be blessed through Abram’s line. This call was about so much more than Abram’s future. It was about the coming redemption of the people of God around the globe and down through time—a redemption that would be accomplished by Christ.

John tells us Abram believed God’s blessing to the world would come through one of his descendants who would bring people from every nation into the covenant-keeping love of God, and that Abram took great joy in this hope (John 8:56). But like us, Abram saw through a glass darkly. He looked forward to the fulfillment of a promise without the clarity to see how God would keep it.

We often find ourselves in this position, don’t we? We cannot see how God will care for us, so we are left to trust that He will because we are more precious to Him than the birds of the field that He also cares for (Matthew 6:26).

The redemption for which Abram trusted God came through his descendant, Jesus. Matthew’s Gospel opens by illustrating this point with a genealogy. The rest of Abram’s descendants could only do so much, in terms of keeping the covenant. They could welcome strangers and sojourners into their gates and show them hospitality, but only Jesus could actually facilitate their adoption into His Father’s family, making them full heirs to the Kingdom of God. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise” (Galatians 3:29).

Abram looked forward to God’s redeeming grace, and we, on this side of the cross and the empty tomb, look back. But like Abram, there are times in our lives when God calls us to follow Him into and out of things without showing us the big picture. Seeing how God fulfilled the promise He made to Abram through Christ assures us that even when we cannot make sense of the path He has called us to walk, our Father sees the road with perfect clarity.

The good work God began when He first called Abram to follow Him is a work He will be faithful to complete in us because of Christ, our true and better Patriarch.

written by Russ Ramsey

Post Comments (60)

60 thoughts on "Jesus Is The True & Better Abraham"

  1. Daniel Riemenschneider says:

    He always has a plan. Therefore He chooses to teach us to have faith along the way.

  2. Mike DeAlto says:

    God is all-knowing. He cares for us deeply and asks us to walk in faith to do what he has called us to do. We must trust that he will lead us through even when we don’t know what will happen because he is a loving God.

  3. Mike DeAlto says:

    Most of the time we won’t know exactly what’s going on or what the results will be. It is our tendency then to back away from an opportunity because we are worried about the outcome. We must have faith that God knows what he’s doing even when we don’t.

  4. Mike DeAlto says:

    I will seek to trust in Jesus and have faith when I feel the Spirit prompting me to do something. I need to realize that because I don’t know what the outcome will be I still don’t need to worry.

  5. Mike DeAlto says:

    That because Christ set us free, we are able to have faith in a God who leads us in love. The Gospel frees us from having to worry about every detail in our life and leaves us with trust that God has a plan and knows where our journey ends.

  6. Mike DeAlto says:

    That God will make me completely dependent on him when he asks me to do something and I don’t know what will happen. That the thought of that wouldn’t scare me but make me feel secure in my relationship with the Lord. That, like Abram, I will go where he tells me without knowing what’s before me.

  7. Alex Reed says:

    God keeps his promises, and even though we may not see the big picture He has created for our lives, we should rejoice in the fact that He loves us and wants the best for His children.

  8. Alex Reed says:

    Man fails over and over in trusting God. Even through the lineage that Matthew presents, there are many items that most would have written out of their history. But because of the cleansing blood of Jesus, we are saved and adopted.

  9. Alex Reed says:

    Jesus’s past and lineage was just as messy as ours, but he was the perfect man and son of God. His sacrifice made it possible for all of our messiness as humans to be washed away.

  10. Alex Reed says:

    I will respond by listening for the push that God gives me in situations I might feel uncomfortable in. Knowing that my temporary worry is not warranted, as His plan is bigger and greater than I could ever hope to imagine.

  11. Alex Reed says:

    I will pray for God to whisper to my heart through His Spirit. That He fill my heart with the joy of His coming through Jesus Christ, and the fulfillment of the promise He made to Abram.

  12. Taylor Homeyer says:

    This is a convicting message for me. I couldn’t imagine being in Abraham’s place and being asked (By God) to do so much and to trust through faith that God would deliver and keep His promise. Honestly, it’s remarkably difficult for me to do that now when I’m fully aware of what Jesus has done to deliver that promise of redemption. And I still don’t even get the gravity of the situation.

  13. Taylor Homeyer says:

    God calls us all away from being comfortable into areas of the unknown for a purpose. He wouldn’t do that if he didn’t know what was going to happen. As a man, a husband, and a father someday, I need to be able to fully trust God with my life and the lives of my family. I need to follow Abraham’s example and trust that the Lord will lead me to where He wants me to go. But, it’s up to me to say Yes and I cutie Him in to lead me.

  14. Daniel says:

    That God has better plans for our lives then we could ever have. That the echoes of an action could last for an eternity instead of a few moments that we call a life.

  15. Daniel says:

    Being patient.

  16. Daniel says:

    That man struggles to trust God in his sovereignty and seeks to fast forward to the answers now. But he must learn to be patient and be still.

  17. Daniel says:

    That the Gospel was something that had to be built. Something that was set up from the beginning of time and needed to play out in the many years before Christ walked the earth. It required a patience that unfolded into something amazing.

  18. Daniel says:

    Praying for the strength to trust in God and to be patient for the things He has unfolding in my life.

  19. Tanner Holman says:

    God sees everything. When He told Abram to follow Him and from his descendants one will rise, He saw Jesus there from the start of the covenant. And when He made His covenant with Abram, He saw Jesus covering my sins now. So I can only imagine what is in store for the future beyond me. God doesn’t have to imagine though, He sees it all perfectly.

  20. Tanner Holman says:

    We are short-sighted and often have little faith. But despite that, God still desires to use man and their faith to fulfill His will. He doesn’t have to, but God chooses to love us and use us for His plan that He sees way ahead of time.

  21. Tanner Holman says:

    We’re still in the Gospel news because we’re waiting for Jesus to come back again. Abram could not see the Gospel, but he was living in it too, living by faith. We must live by faith in the part of the Gospel we live in now.

  22. Jonathan Newman says:

    God doesn’t show us the clear path of how he will take care of us or fulfill his promises, but he graciously makes it so that we have to rely on and trust his faithfulness, goodness and sovereignty.

  23. Jonathan Newman says:

    We can only do so much to welcome people into our human families, but we need a greater patriarch to let us and our neighbors into God’s family.

  24. Jonathan Newman says:

    Jesus is that greater patriarch by whom we can receive the blessing of adoption promised to Abraham’s lineage. He made it available to not only Jews but all people who would come to him. And when we are blessed with salvation, we remain on earth to be a blessing to others by offering them the good news and the good works of Jesus.

  25. Jonathan Newman says:

    Remembering that I have been blessed to be a blessing is one of the most encouraging things I could dwell on. This makes me motivated to move towards people both Christian and non-Christian to show them this amazing gift, both pointing them towards Christ and treating them with love, understanding, and service.

  26. Jordan Benesh says:

    The gospel sets us free. Jesus died by hanging on a tree, in the face of the idea that those who hanged on a tree were condemned.

  27. Jordan Benesh says:

    We are shortsighted and lacking in ability to see and know God’s plans, because we are influenced by the world.

  28. Jordan Benesh says:

    He is sovereign and faithful. He has my best interest in mind. He puts me in situations that test and grow my faith.

  29. Jordan Benesh says:

    I will pray. I will be open to experiences God lays before me and thrusts me into.

  30. Jordan Benesh says:

    Pray that I am put into situations that require bold faith, brave faith, strong faith.

  31. Cam says:

    This was God’s plan from the beginning. Jesus is the better and perfect patriarch within whom we find salvation.

  32. Cam says:

    This particular devotion shows us that God had a plan in Jesus from the beginning. He knew that Abraham’s line was important and preserved it throughout time to get to Jesus. He has cared and will care forever.

  33. Cam says:

    It tells me that we needed God on both sides of the covenant. We were unable to fulfill our side, so he fulfilled it for us.

  34. Blake MacNelly says:

    Man is capable of incredible faith in God. Seeing how Abraham left and trusted God and this faith was counted to him as righteousness..that’s cool. It’s amazing to see how simple it is to believe.

    Man is a key player in the gospel story. The gospel is a love story for sure. Between God and Jesus and also God’s creation, us. The way God rescued us by killing His son demonstrates the love He has for us. “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”…that’s love man. The way God invited Abraham to be a role player in the redemption of mankind is INSANE! To be told you and your offspring will be a blessing and eventually lead to THE blessing is astounding. Why would God want us to be a part of this? Broken and stubborn people? It almost makes no sense. It begins to make sense when we see how much glory He gets from our obedience and love towards Him. A father and son relationship prospers the most when the two are in agreement. When the two share interests. When the two spend time together. God has invited us into that relationship with Him and through His son it is attainable and readily available.

    Man is cursed. We are cursed by sin. Only Jesus has power to remove this curse. We are overly capable of turning to sin and the law. We are “prone to wander” but only by faith in Christ is righteousness achieved. Unmerited, undeserved, yet freely and lovingly given to us…we can live in a freedom from sin through Christ and the Holy Spirit.

  35. Blake MacNelly says:

    God knows me intimately. He is not fooled by my acting or my lying. He sees who I am and sees my heart. My attitude and motive and passions and wants and desires and needs and thoughts and all that lies within me that no one else can see or hear, He knows it all. It’s really frightening to be exposed and known so well. I feel like Adam and Eve trying to clothe myself and hide…hoping He doesn’t see how often and willingly I daily fail Him. I pretend He can’t see that sometimes. It’s hypocrisy motivated by a desire to please Him and protect myself from shame and guilt. But I cannot please God. Not ever…the law is impossible to abide by. Only Jesus could fulfill the law. The guilt and shame and pride are products of my flesh. But through Christ I have been renewed. No longer living as a slave to sin. But a slave to righteousness, and therefore a slave to faith. “The righteous shall live by faith”. That God knows me intimately is frightening but it is also freeing and beautiful. What an unbelievable message. Someone as broken as me could be known completely and still loved deeply. No part of mankind would be capable of this love except for Jesus. God is crazy. He is absolutely and wonderfully crazy.

    God is loyal. He commits Himself to a purpose and sticks to it and owns it. He does not waiver or show up late. He means what He says. He is true to Abraham and the generations following Him. He makes true to His promises. Who has ever been capable of keeping every single word spoken and action thought or goal set completely and perfectly? No one. Yet God has. He is loyal to Himself and His word and to us.

    God is a planner and an incredible story teller. He designs beauty and heroism and rescue in the most epic story ever…the gospel. How can it be that the entire bible fluidly forecasts the coming of Christ, the death and resurrection of Christ, and the rescuing of God’s people from sin and death?! Only someone with absolute control and authority and power and imagination and joy could make this happen.

    God gives glory to Jesus. This is cool. The idea of letting someone else praise you and not your own mouth. It’s like when God said He was well pleased with Jesus. He affirms Jesus and loves and dotes on Him. Encouragement and relationship and intimacy. That’s amazing. He does not withhold praise and recognition from Jesus.

  36. Blake MacNelly says:

    I need to really ponder this idea of intimacy in the trinity and also think about the ways I desire intimacy and the actions I take to obtain it.

    I must share the gospel. Especially as I consider internationals who don’t understand or know it. Galatians 3 is so good for speaking against works based salvation.

    I must walk in faith that God is good and loving and the word is clear and truthful and that I can rest in His sovereignty.

  37. Blake MacNelly says:

    The gospel is the central story. The bible is centered on the gospel.

    The gospel is available to all who simply place their faith in it.

    The gospel is justification for those in sin.

    The gospel is old. It is ancient, before time. It is the relationship between God the father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. A story of glorification and sacrifice and love and obedience and intimacy and justice and righteousness that is put on display to us when Jesus comes to earth and dies for us.

    The gospel is given to all. No one is justifiable apart from the gospel and the gospel is not prohibited to any specific group of people. Everyone has the option to believe.

  38. Blake MacNelly says:

    Pray for the faith to walk in intimacy with God.

    Pray for the passion to love and dwell and seek after God.

    A fresh understanding of the gospel

    Security and confidence in my identity and gifts and passions.

    A calling

    Rest and peace for my heart

    A true understanding of my condition and status right now and the ability to live upright and honestly as a redeemed child of God.

    A fulfillment of my need for intimacy.

    Guidance on the future

  39. Jerod Theobald says:

    Man must not ask “Why?” He must stay the course and have faith in God’s plan. The “why” is not important. God will lead us to where we need to go.

  40. Brad says:

    I want to be trusting the Lord with His plans for me. I want to rid myself of this idol of comfort, this feeling of entitlement to a calm and easy life. I love it so much! But it keeps me from being willing to go when God calls me to go. I’ve been in a place where I say that I trust God’s big-picture plan is better than mine, but often I ignore the more “obvious” calls on my life to share the Gospel, live like Jesus, and trust that God will provide in those areas as well.

  41. Brad says:

    The Gospel is the beautiful method by which the Lord keeps his promise to Abraham and his descendants. And all the things that we were supposed to do, to live up to, were met in Jesus Christ, who lived the perfect life and died on the cross for us.

  42. Brad says:

    Ours is a God who keeps His promises. He delights in doing this, in making a way to hold to His word in spite of the ways it may seem impossible. It’s crazy to think about the way that God knew before time began how this would all work out… that He would fulfill His promise to Abraham through Jesus. God is infinitely wise and creative! He knows what He’s doing.

  43. Brad says:

    Man cannot impact the promises of God. God’s unconditional promises are ones that He fulfills regardless of whether humankind meets their end. We are only on the receiving end… and this is good! Because we fail and mess up and turn away from God. We are in desperate need of a God who keeps promises because of who HE is, not because of who WE are.

  44. Aaron Mitchell says:

    Man must live by faith. God has told me this thousands of times, and he will continue to tell me through the end of my days. Man is untrusting and foolish, but God knowing this sent his Son to redeem us and give us joy. Man is blessed to live in this time of redemption.

  45. Aaron Mitchell says:

    God has a plan that is often not fully known until it is manifested. Our God is a God of wisdom and mystery, and though his plan is unknown, it’s endgame is, and it is glorious!

  46. Aaron Mitchell says:

    I am often wary of Gods plans because they do leave me vulnerable. I will step out in Faith and trust God to fulfill his master plan this the has prepared in advance for me to do.

  47. Aaron Mitchell says:

    The Gospel is the plan that God has shared with us. It is our vision of what is to come and it shows us the fruits of our labor will not be in vain. The Gospel is the new covenant, the promise of eternal life through Christ.

  48. Aaron Mitchell says:

    I will pray for joyous zeal. I Lord make my heart yearn to see your plans established, make my heart willing to complete your plans and my I rest in your arms when I am vulnerable. Give me Joy they I might spread it to those around me!!
    Amen.

  49. Gregg D says:

    We have a limited view. In our natural we will become concerned, anxious, fearful – but God has called us to overcome that with FAITH.

  50. Gregg D says:

    Through Jesus we can know we are forgiven, we are adopted as his sons, and can rest knowing we are a part of Gods family.

  51. Gregg D says:

    Because of Gods love for me, even when I can’t see the next steps, or far into the future, I can rest assured God does know and has a plan and will be our strength and shield.

  52. Gregg D says:

    Even though I don’t want to invite uncertainty into my life :), I know that in the face of it – God is not absent. In fact he has proven himself to me in the midst of uncertainty and adversity. Nothing about fear and anxiety is from God – God wants me to know I can rest in him.

  53. Gregg D says:

    God protect me and my family, and help me to trust you in certain and uncertain times. Your promises have extended over millennia – let me believe you for the promises you have in my life. Help me not try to fix my anxiety with my own striving, procrastination, or flat out avoidance and just trust what God is going to do and follow him.

  54. Chris Cambell says:

    Even at our most faithful we are always in danger of sinning. Abraham kept calling his wife his sister and she was made to have sex with various rulers who were then punished. What an utter failure on Abraham’s part. Yet he was willing to risk so many other things, in the end, he valued his own life over his wife’s honour and sexual exclusivity.

  55. Chris Cambell says:

    God knows, not only where Imm going, but how I’ll get there and the infinite ways I’ll stumble and have to rise again along the way.

  56. Micah Newsom says:

    That Christ has lived and died to fulfill the Promises of God. Christ is the great promise and He has known the Father perfectly.

  57. Micah Newsom says:

    God always fulfills his promises, in His own time, precisely how and when He means to.

  58. Micah Newsom says:

    That we are not capable of knowing everything that God plans to do in our lives, but trusting Him is our only means to lasting fulfillment.

  59. Micah Newsom says:

    By praying for God to increase my trust in His promises and for Him to remove my worries about things that I can’t control, because He is in control of everything.

  60. Micah Newsom says:

    For faith to trust God. I will Thank God for having a perfect plan and for sending Jesus to fulfill the promise and make me Holy. I will ask God for friends who will remind me to be faithful and ask that I could be used to strengthen others faith.

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