Previously, [IN GOD WE TRUST] we saw that God had promised Abram, “I brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land.”
Abram, having a little trouble believing this, asked the LORD, “How can I know that I will gain possession of it?”
And now we pick up where God answers Abram (Genesis 15:7-21), guaranteeing the promise – that what God has said will come to pass.
As God instructs, Abram gathers some animals, including a heifer, a goat, and a ram, each three years old. Abram cuts them in two, and arranges the halves opposite each other. Then, falling fast asleep, he is overcome by a dreadful darkness.
At the setting sun and fallen darkness, a “smoking firepot with a blazing torch" appears and goes through the middle of the animal pieces. Out of the darkness, the LORD speaks to Abram, predicting all that will happen to his descendants: “[they] will be strangers in a foreign land, and enslaved… but they will come out with great possessions.”
But then also the LORD covenants with Abram, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates.”
Traveling forward now to the New Testament era, we see Jesus during His earthly travels. On one particular day, Jesus meets a man whose son is demon possessed (Mark 9:14-27). Jesus responds to the man’s plea for help. But, the man too, as Abram of the Old Testament, needs a guarantee. “I believe,” he says. “Help me to overcome my unbelief.”
A crowd rushes to the scene as Jesus rebukes the evil spirit. Loud shrieks shatter the air. The boy convulses violently. The evil spirit comes out, leaving the boy as dead. But Jesus lifts him up. The boy stands before the crowd, alive.
In later years, to the Hebrews (and to us as well) it is written about this Jesus: “[He] is the Mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance…” – our satisfaction-guarantee for life.
Moving on now to the Eighteenth Century we meet DavidBrainerd, born in Connecticut Colony in America in 1718. Although through much of his life he battles ill health, depression, and discouragement, he nevertheless persistently proclaims the "guaranteed promise" to the North American Indians.
He treks miles upon miles through early America’s Northeast, preaching the gospel. Often, however, his words seem to fall on deaf ears and hard hearts. Then his hope is renewed, his spirit brightened, in seeing many Indians, as well as White men, come from miles around to hear him preach.
In just a few weeks, 25 believers are baptized. A school is established. Revival breaks out among the Indians. A church is planted.
Tuberculosis taking its toll on Brainerd’s life, however, his last days are spent in the home of Jonathan Edwards, nursed by his fiancée, Edward’s daughter Jerusha. He dies before their wedding day.
God continues His search today for other “David Brainerds,” who will risk life and personal ambition for the “surpassing greatness of knowing [and making known] Christ Jesus as Lord” (Philippians 3:7-10) – the guaranteed promise of eternal redemption for all peoples, and the glory of God. (See Hebrews 9:15.)
For more consider the DVD David Brainerd: Missionary to the American Indians