Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Genesis 15:7-21

This morning I’m gong to try to get us through this very important passage, so I’m trusting the Holy Spirit to do the work! Let’s remember that after God had promised to be Abram’s very great reward, Abram does a little complaining: You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir. (vs.3) Then God takes him outside and shows him all of the starts and promises that Abram’s heirs will be as numerous as the stars! Now, we saw yesterday that Abram believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. But, like the man in Mark 9:24 who said to Jesus, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief,” Abram struggles with belief:

But Abram said, “Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?” (vs.8)

Instead of thumping him on the head, the LORD is longsuffering with Abram, as He is with you and me. So he makes a formal covenant with Abram. According to Jon Courson’s commentary, it was customary for men to seal a deal be cutting an animal in half, then meeting between the halves of the carcass and clasping each other’s hands, “showing they were deadly serious about keeping up their end of the bargain.”

Abrams brings the required animals and birds, and arranges the carcasses . We’re told, Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away. (vs.11) Birds of prey generally symbolize evil  - is there any bird more evil than a big, fat, black crow feeding on dead animals??  So, Courson says, while Abram is preparing to make this covenant with God, he is having to fight off the “birds of doubt and unbelief.” He’s busy flapping his arms to shoo them away. Eventually, exhausted by his own efforts, Abram falls asleep waiting for the blessing. Have you wearied of waiting for your blessing? Have you been praying for many years for the salvation of your family? Have you been waiting forever to become a bride or a mother? Does it seem like the job you want and need will never come? Have you fallen asleep waiting? GOOD! Because now it’s time for GOD to do the work.

As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. Then the LORD said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. You, however, will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age. In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”
When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates— the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.” (vs 12-21)

It was GOD who was making this covenant that could not be broken. God knows our weaknesses - that no matter how sincerely we would like to, we just can’t keep our promises. And so the promises of God are “yes” in Him alone! (2 Cor 1:20)

Here’s what Jon Courson says about this passage: There is only one Promise Keeper, only One in Whom all the promises are yea and amen. Jesus came on the scene and did what we were unable to do. He kept the covenant, the promises, the commandments. All of the promises of God are in Him and kept by Him.

Tomorrow we’ll take one last look at this great chapter. Have a great morning!

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