February 11, 2021 – Thursday
Romans 4:17-18 NIV
17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.
18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
Paul in verse 17 is quoting Genesis 17:5 which reads, No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. Here Abram means exalted father and Abraham means father of many or father of a multitude. Then in verse 18 he is quoting Genesis 15:5 where during a vision the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them. So shall your offspring be. God was telling Abram his age and current childless state would not continue. Immediately after hearing this, Abram believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness. Now let us take a look at our verses for today.
First, As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not. What makes Abraham so powerful as a father figure is that he believed when he had no reason to believe. His wife, Sarai, had a womb that was dead, yet God brought it to life, and she became Sarah and Abram became Abraham. Then to them was born a son – Issac. There is also the promise of salvation in this verse as it says, the God who gives life to the dead and we are reminded we were once dead in sin, but given new life through His Son Jesus.
Also, notice in the verse God speaks of it as already done, I have made you a father of many nations. God did not make a promise, He made a statement. Being God, He knew it would take place, so He could speak of it as already done. Something to keep in mind whenever we read about anything either the Father or the Son said will happen, because it will. Like Abram we can believe.
Our second verse says, Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” This is something of an unusual sentence beginning with Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed, for we might ask what in the world does that mean? Barnes Notes on the Bible has a nice short explanation, Abraham believed in hope – Believed in what was promised to excite his hope. Hope here is put for the object of his hope – what was promised. He believed in hope. 1 Corinthians 13:7 we are told, Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love always hopes. About this the Pulpit commentary says,
Christians seem to have lost sight altogether of the truth that hope is something more than the result of a sanguine temperament, that it is a gift and a grace. Hope is averse to sourness and gloom. It takes sunny and cheerful views of man, of the world, and of God, because it is a sister of love. How can we be down in the face or of a sour temperament when we, as Christians, have the hope of heaven and belief and faith in the same? Having such hope permits us to say under the worst circumstances, It is well with my soul with a smile. Many know that saying from the song which may be found here, here, here, and here.
Spurgeon wrote about Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed, saying, All true believers, like Abraham, obey. Obedience is faith in action. You are to walk in the steps of the faith of father Abraham. His faith did not sit still, it took steps; and you must take these steps also by obeying God because you believe Him. That faith which has no works with it is a dead faith, and will justify no one. Obey God because you believe Him!
Prayer: Heavenly Father – We believe. We believe because of the promises You and Jesus have made. Help us to take action as Abraham did and walk in our faith and belief. – In Jesus name. Amen.