|Genesis Chapter 15
Wouldn’t it be great if, after you make a right decision, after you ascend to the mountaintop as Abram did with his experience with Melchizedek, if you could just kick up your heels and stay there? Unfortunately, often after the mountain, we end up in the valley. I often think that those that I admire for their spirituality are constantly spiritual, but I suspect that we all have our valleys.
But first Abram, because he chose to honor Melchizedek, and kept his promise in obedience to God to take nothing from Sodom, Abram must have had some doubts, and God came to him and gave him encouragement. This is the first time “do not be afraid” shows up in the Bible, and we will find out that many, many times God will remind man not to be afraid. And this verse reminds me about the 91st Psalm.
Genesis 15:1 After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”
Abram, seeing the years pass by asks God a valid question, but does not accuse God of not keeping his promises. God does not mind honest questions. Abram asks God in verses 2-3, “Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascas? Then Abram said, “Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!”
In those days, servants were like members of the family. Exodus 21:6 talks about how a servant, at the end of his term, if he wishes can remain with the family by presenting his ear to the doorpost, and a nail is driven through. That servant is then part of the family. Eliezer, who will be the one to find the wife for Isaac, only then he will be listed in Genesis 24 as the oldest servant in the house – but it is Eliezer.
Now here is the cool thing: Eliezer means God the comforter. El is the preface for “God”. and the second half of the name is to succor, comfort. This sounds remarkably like the Holy Spirit to me, and I wonder if Eliezer isn’t an earthly picture of the Holy Spirit. And the being nameless when he goes to find a wife for Isaac is kind of like the picture of the Holy Spirit – who speaks only of God not of himself, is a servant, and the Holy Spirit’s goal is to find a bride for Christ, which is why he goes into the wilderness to seek us out.
Back to Genesis 15, given his childless state and age, it seems to the physical senses like that is impossible. In fact, often in the Bible we see God working that way, against impossible odds. This way it is not something man can do, and God gets the credit due Him.
Again, Abram will choose to believe God, as it is shown in Genesis 4:6 says, and God will count that as righteousness. This is the Abrahamic covenant, and it was before the law. Abram did not have to do anything to be accounted as righteous. Genesis 15 4-6 God promises Abram that the heir will come out of his loins. Then God brings him outside and says, verse 5, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendents be.” Then the famous verse that the whole chapter hinges on, in my opinion. verse 6 “And he believed in the LORD, and HE accounted it to him for righteousness.”
I love little prepositions, notice he believed IN the LORD, and when we are saved we are IN CHRIST. It is only IN the LORD, and IN CHRIST that we are righteous. When we are IN our own wills, our own ideas, our own plans, we are unrighteous. So, are you IN or OUT. To be frank, I am sometimes in and sometimes out. My goal is to be in more and more each day.
I have heard a teaching on this passage about the stars that I am still considering, not sure, having to do with the constellations and how they show the gospel in their configuration. For example Virgo, the virgin (Mary), etc. And that this comment about the stars is in reference to reading the gospel message through them. I am not certain. I do know that God uses dust and stars – and we know that there are an infinite amount, unable to be counted.
Abram then asks God in verse 8, note it is not are you sure I shall inherit, but “Lord GOD, how shall I know that I will inherit it?
In my past, when I was still sorting out God, I would question His promises, assume that they were for others, not for me. I would want to see the outcome first, then believe. But that is not God’s plan, it is faith first, then in God’s timing (which often in my opinion is very long in the future), the outcome. But I used to often ask God “Why” and a wise person told me that I should change my question from “Why” to “How” How is a submission question, and leaves the way open for God to illuminate your path. (Those who do not know my past can check out my testimony).
Here is what is termed: THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT
The first Covenant was the covenant that God made with Noah, with the rainbow, and promised that no more would he flood the earth. God did not exact a promise from Noah, it was a covenant that was solely from God – and in the same way, we will see that Abraham will be out cold when God cuts the covenant – it is a promise from God, Abram did not require a human response.
God instructed Abram to get a three-year old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtle dove and a young pigeon. I find it interesting that Jesus was presented to the temple with turtle doves – but all of the above animals were those used in temple sacrifices. Although the sacrifices were usually yearlings – the large animals are all three years old. I wonder why. Could it be three days in the tomb? Jesus’ three year ministry? the trinity? there are a number of reasons, but the age surprised me.
Abram cuts the animal in half – putting one half on one side, one half on the other, leaving a path for walking through. This was called cutting covenant. The people would split the animals and walk through together to seal the bond. It was a serious and binding covenant. But notice what happens.
All day Abram sat waiting for God to cut covenant with him. Abram kept scaring away the birds, the vultures that came down on the carcasses. Isn’t that like with us, we have a promise of God and the vultures come trying to steal the promise. They tear at what was once dead, feasting on what we have been given. Abram fought these vultures off, and finally became exhausted, and as verse 12 states, “a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him.”
Remember, how Adam had a deep sleep fall on him before Eve was created? Well, here a new way of walking with God, the walk of faith and belief, will be cut. It is cut by God, not by Abram. Abram is asleep, as we shall see when God walks through.
I am curious about the horror and great darkness. Does anyone have an idea of why that? unless it is that without God there is really no light.
Then God gives a prophesy to Abram that we will see come true. Here are the elements of the prophesy.
1. Abram’s descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs. (Egypt)
First mentions, blood, word of the Lord came unto, vision, fear not, shield, believed, accounted, righteous, Adonai Jehovah.
Now, when the sun went down (which in Israelite timing was the beginning of a new day), God passed through (while Abram was sleeping), and he walked through and cut the covenant. He went through as:
1. a smoking oven – God’s wrath
Listen to the extent of the land, from the river of Egypt (the Nile) to the Euphrates. and a whole list of ites – Kenites, Kenezites, etc. Israel does not hold all the land promised to them by God to this day.
But, because God said it, it will come to pass.
It is incredible to me, that just as with the gift of salvation, it is God who does the hard work. We accept the gift, believe, and then God graciously changes us to conform more with Him. What an awesome God we serve.
Hoping your day is blessed.
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