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  The Great Bible Story #13
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Abram and the promise

Jacob Ninan
God spoke to Abram after seeing how he had dealt with Lot and the land, and the spoil from the battle. He told him that his reward would be very great because of his faith and faithfulness. But Abram wondered what good the reward would be without an heir, since he did not have any children. He was trying to reconcile in his mind with the thought that his servant Eliezer would become his heir. But God had great plans for Abram. He took him outside, and showed him the stars in heaven and teased him, asking him to count them. God said Abram's descendants would be more in number than the stars!

This was a great moment of Abram's life. He believed God and in what He said, even though he and his wife were old. God recognised this simple trust in Him and responded by declaring Abram as one who was acceptable to Him. This has become an outstanding example to all human beings to show that it is faith -- our trust that relies on God and yields to Him -- is the one that gets us a right standing with God.

Abram wondered how God was going to give him the Promised Land. God asked him to make an animal sacrifice cutting the animals into two halves. As Abram watched in awe, God made as if a smoking oven and a flaming torch passed through the sacrifice, between the cut pieces. There God renewed His promise to Abram that He would give the land from Egypt to the River Euphrates to his descendants.

As time passed by and Abram and Sarai did not get any child, they started wondering. Sarai suggested that perhaps they could have children if Abram would take Hagar, her Egyptian maid, as his wife. Abram did not give up his faith in God, but he may have thought that perhaps this was how God was going to fulfil His promise. In that moment of weakness Abram agreed, and took Hagar also as his wife. But when Hagar became pregnant she began to despise her mistress, Sarai. This became a problem for Abram and Sarai, and Abram found himself helpless trying to deal with both women. Sarai began to treat Hagar harshly. Hagar ran away to the desert in despair. But God was watching her and spoke to her saying that she should return and submit to Sarai at this time. He said that she would have a son whom she was to call Ishmael. Ishmael would be a wild man -- he would be against everybody, and everybody against him. So Hagar returned to Abram and Sarai, and gave birth to Ishmael, the first son of Abram. Abram was eighty six years old when Ishmael was born.


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