Weary & Hopeful: The Covenant with Abraham

Text: Genesis 12:1-3

Main Point: We are weary because we are building our own tower of Babel. But God is keeping his promises.

Merry Christmas! Why are we so tired? That’s our question for December, “Why are we weary?” Maybe we have been making some poor eating choices and maybe we haven’t been exercising as much as we should. Last week, looking at the promise made to Adam and Eve, we learned that we are weary because of perpetual enmity between the serpent and the woman. Because of our rebellion there is a weariness to womanhood, a weariness to relationships, and a weariness to manhood. But we have hope because of the work of Christ to destroy the devil and his work. Because of the promise of a new creation, we anticipate Jesus’ return when he will make all things new. The work of the snake crusher brings hope and help to our weariness. The promise of Jesus’ return makes us pray, “Come quickly Lord, Jesus!”.

Today we are going to take a quick look at the covenant God made with Abraham. We’re going to look at Abraham and his offspring and consider our weariness. Our question is, why are we weary? Here is the answer we will start with: we are weary because we are building our own little tower of Babel.

Let’s turn to Genesis 11 and read verses 1-4

Remember our first question

I. Why are we weary?

  • We are weary because we are disobedient

God gave Adam and Eve, then Noah and his family, the same command, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” (Gen 1:28). In Genesis 11:4 we see that the people are building the city for the specific purpose of not multiplying and not filling the earth. They want to stay right where they are. They don’t want things to change. They are disobedient.

I want you to understand that disobeying God will wear you out. But, is all weariness caused by our disobedience? No, we know from Job that not all pain is caused by sin. It is not a one for one, like every ounce of difficulty is caused by sin. But it is true that the way of the sinner is hard (Prov 13:15). The way of the treacherous is an enduring rut. Disobeying God will wear you out.

We must hold two truths in tension. First, sin causes pain. Second, not all pain is caused by sin. So, when we are weary, we need to consider the possibility that our weariness could be caused by disobeying God’s commands. If you don’t do what God says to do, that can cause weariness. When you do what God says not to do, that can cause weariness. The people in Shinar are wearing themselves out making bricks, planning a city, and building a great tower. They are working hard at the wrong things. They are weary from their disobedience. Maybe you are too. The good news is, you can turn to Jesus. He came to seek and to save sinners. Jesus came to restore the weary and give them rest.

Now for another source of weariness

  • We are weary because we want to be god

In Genesis 11:4, the people want to build a city with a tower in the heavens in order to make a name for themselves. Think back to the Garden of Eden and how Eve was tempted. The serpent told the woman, “when you eat of the fruit your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God” (Gen 3:5). Adam and Eve sinned because they wanted to be like God. They wanted to make a name for themselves. They were not content filling the earth with the image of God. They were not content making God’s name known. They wanted to be honored, worshipped, and remembered.

John Calvin explains the struggle, “This is the perpetual infatuation of the world, to neglect heaven, and to seek immortality on the earth, where everything is fading and transient” (Genesis Commentary, 327).”

Consider with me today, that we are weary and frustrated because we are trying to make a name for ourselves instead of striving to make God known. We work ourselves weary because we put our faith in the almighty dollar. We’re more devoted to making twitter followers than we are devoted to making Christ followers. We’re more concerned about our legacies and reputations and names than we are about God. This is weariness and a chasing after the wind.

Our time is short today, but it is important that you understand another potential source of weariness.

  • We are weary because the work is hard

I’m not talking about justification or salvation. That work is easy. Faith is receiving the work of Christ, the righteousness of Christ. Being restored to God is a gift we receive, not a paycheck we earn. Sorting out the details and working out the logic can be difficult. But receiving the Holy Spirit is as easy as believing you need Him, and Jesus gives Him.

So, when I say, “the work is hard,” I’m not talking about salvation; I’m talking about making disciples. One verse out of many, Galatians 6:9, “let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Winning souls and making disciples at work is hard. Discipling your wife and children is hard. Loving your neighbors is hard. You are going to want to quit because it’s hard. Watching Netflix is easy; making disciples can be wearisome.

Just maybe, you are weary because the work is hard, and Jesus hasn’t returned yet. Just maybe, you are weary because you are trying to make a name for yourself while you are trying to make disciples. We can’t serve two names; it is wearisome. Just maybe, you are weary because you think you are god and have to do everything, so you never rest.

Let us be a repenting and believing people. Repent of wastefulness and redeem the time. Repent of whining and complaining against God and believe eternal rest is still to come in Christ. Repent of working seven days a week and believe Jesus so that you can work hard six days and rest the seventh.

There you have it, three reasons we are weary. Now, why do we have hope? How does the covenant with Abraham give us hope?

II. How can we have hope?

We read from Genesis 11, about the people trying to make a name for themselves. Now look at Genesis 12:1-3. Let’s read it.

  • The covenant with Abraham gives us hope

Look at the promise of Genesis 12:2. God is going to make Abraham into a great nation and God will bless him and make Abraham’s name great, so that Abraham will be a blessing. In Genesis 15, 17, and 22 God elaborates this promise and solidifies his covenant with Abraham.

The three primary pieces of the covenant are offspring, land, and blessing. Here, Abraham becomes a type of Adam. God is going to plant him in the land, bless him, and cause him to multiply and fill the earth. The seed of the woman, that particular line, will come through Abraham. So, we have hope not simply because of the covenant with Noah and the promise that creation will continue. Now, specifically we have hope because what was lost to sin will be restored through Abraham and his offspring.

There are many things to learn from Abraham. For today, in our weariness, we need to gain hope. What was ruined by sin will be restored. God is working his redemption plan. Be hopeful. Be hopeful and be Christ centered.

  1. Jesus fulfills the covenant with Abraham

Lord willing, we will get to dig into the covenants with Israel and with David over the next two weeks. For today, we need to focus on Abraham and Jesus.

Hold onto your socks because I’m about to blow them off. Jesus is the promised son of Abraham. Jesus is the source of blessing for the nations. Matthew opens his Gospel by naming Jesus the son of Abraham (Mt 1:1). In her Magnificat, Mary affirms that Jesus is the fulfillment of the promises made to Abraham and his offspring forever (Luke 1:55). Listen to Galatians 3:16, “Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, ‘And to his offsprings,’ referring to many, but referring to one, ‘And to your offspring, who is Christ.” Jesus is the only true son of Abraham. The blessings of the Abrahamic covenant are realized in Christ. We have the blessing because of Jesus.

There is so much we can say here and I’m going to trust that you will keep coming (Gal 3:13-14). I don’t have to say everything today, and we will talk more about covenants down the road. For now, I want to focus our attention on one hope-giving verse, Galatians 3:29, “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”

I am explaining a way of reading the Bible that brings the whole story together and gives you hope in your weariness. Jesus is the Genesis 3:15 seed of the woman who crushes the serpent. Jesus is the Genesis 17:7 seed of Abraham that will bless the nations. Jesus is the reason all things were created. Jesus is the reason all things are being redeemed. Joined to Jesus by faith, you become an heir according to the promise. You have a glorious future!

In your weariness, grab onto hope. This broken world, these broken relationships, this frustrating work, and this wearisome mission is not the end of the story. Brokenness is evidence of the good beginning and the glorious ending that is to come. How will we get to that glorious ending? We will get to the new heaven and the new earth through the promises God made. We will get to the new heaven and the new earth through the promises God keeps in Jesus. We have hope because Jesus rose again. We have hope because Jesus is coming again. We have hope because we are joined to him. We are heirs. We have an inheritance to come.

III. So, what are we anticipating?

God promised Abraham offspring, land, and blessing.

  • We look forward to our inheritance

The basic and worldly fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham was realized through the nation of Israel in general and King David and Solomon in particular. The establishment of Solomon, God dwelling in the temple, and peace for the nation of Israel point to fulfillment. But their immediate failure makes us ask, “Is that all there is?” Jesus screams out to us, “No! There is so much more than Solomon, the temple, and the land.”

When we look forward to Jesus we are not spiritualizing the promises to Abraham. When we look forward to Jesus we are rejoicing over a better Solomon, a better temple, and a new earth (Luke 11:31; John 2:19; Rev 21:1). We are not working to rebuild Eden or Israel. God has promised us better things than that. Anticipate the blessing. With Christ we will enjoy the land, a new earth. With Christ we will enjoy worshipping the Father with the redeemed nations. God’s promise to bless the nations through Abraham will be realized through Jesus when all the nations are gathered together to worship God. Don’t settle for a rebuilt temple in a tumultuous Jerusalem. We look forward to joining with the nations on a new earth as we worship God and no temple is needed. Come quickly Lord Jesus and make all things new. Bring your redemption as far as the curse is found. Church, we must anticipate his coming and we must

  • Get to work

You want that day? Do you want the fullness of joy in the presence of God (Prov 16:11)? Do you want to add your voice to the worship song of the nations? Get to work. Jesus tells us what to do, “This gospel of the kingdom must be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Mt 24:14). The fulfillment of the promises made to the seed of the woman and to Abraham will be realized at the return of Christ. There will be a new earth! First, we finish the mission.

Think about it? Why do we give generously to the Lottie Moon Christmas offering? Why do we go, send, and pray? We get involved in missions because of the covenant with Abraham. We want to enjoy the blessings of God. We want men and women from the Ukraine to realize the blessings of God. We want to see Jesus Christ celebrated as the covenants are kept and brought to their glorious ends. Let’s go to the nations because of life and hope in Jesus. Let’s send our sons and daughters and parents to the nations. Let’s pray for the work in the nations because God has promised to bless the nations through Jesus Christ, the true seed of Abraham.

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