Many descendants (Rom 4:18)

“Hoping against hope,

Abraham believed

That he would become

The father of many nations.

According to what was said.

‘So numerous shall your descendants be.’”

ὃς παρ’ ἐλπίδα ἐπ’ ἐλπίδι ἐπίστευσεν εἰς τὸ γενέσθαι αὐτὸν πατέρα πολλῶν ἐθνῶν κατὰ τὸ εἰρημένον Οὕτως ἔσται τὸ σπέρμα σου·

Paul said that hoping against hope (ὃς παρ’ ἐλπίδα ἐπ’ ἐλπίδι), Abraham believed (ἐπίστευσεν) that he would become (εἰς τὸ γενέσθαι) the father of many nations (αὐτὸν πατέρα πολλῶν ἐθνῶν).  According to what was said (κατὰ τὸ εἰρημένον), “So numerous shall your descendants be (Οὕτως ἔσται τὸ σπέρμα σου).”  Paul used Genesis, chapter 15:5, to back up his argument.  Yahweh had told Abraham to look toward heaven, and count the stars, if he was able to count them.  Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”  Abraham believed Yahweh, so that he reckoned him as righteousness. This was the calling of Abram.  Yahweh appeared in a vision to him and told him not to be afraid because Yahweh would be his shield.  Abraham said that he was sterile and the inheritor of his estate was to be his household slave, Eliezer of Damascus.  Yahweh said that Abraham would have his own heir and that his descendants would be like the stars in the heaven.  Thus, Abraham believed that hoping against hope, he would become the father of many nations.  Paul knew the story of Abraham very well.  Do you know the biblical story about Abraham?

Salvation for the children of Abraham (Isa 51:1-51:3)

“Listen to me!

You that pursue deliverance!

You that seek Yahweh!

Look to the rock

From which you were hewn!

Look to the quarry

From which you were dug!

Look to Abraham your father!

Look to Sarah who bore you!

He was but one when I called him.

I blessed him.

I made him many.

Yahweh will comfort Zion.

He will comfort all her waste places.

He will make her wilderness

Like Eden.

He will make her desert

Like the garden of Yahweh.

Joy will be found in her.

Gladness will be found in her.

Thanksgiving will be found in her.

The voice of song will be found in her.”

Second Isaiah says that the rock of salvation is Yahweh. If they were pursuing righteousness, they were seeking the Lord, Yahweh. They had to remember where they came from. Here it is not dust, but a rock quarry that they came from. The rock from this quarry was formed to make them. They had to remember not only Abraham but also Sarah, one of the few times that she is mentioned outside of Genesis. Yahweh blessed Abraham so that he had many descendants. Now Yahweh was going to comfort their offspring at Zion. The desert and the wilderness were going to become like the Garden of Eden, the garden of Yahweh. There would be nothing there except joy, gladness, thanksgiving, and hymn singing in this new Garden of Eden.