God’s Covenant (Genesis 15) Commentary

After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:  to reassure him “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; Abraham was a stranger in a dangerous land; This is the first reference to God as a “shield”; The Lord is the protector of all of his people; The Psalms often identify God in this way: See Psalms 3,7,18  your reward shall be very great.”  Faithfulness to God is rewarded with grace, mercy, protection, love, eternal life; Some translations say “I am your very reward”, that our relationship with God awards us with all that defines God  But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?”  It is fair to tell God of our grievances, He wants to hear our troubles and cares, and bear them for us. Abraham felt as though he were trapped, destined to be childless forever.  And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.”  This was not to be accusing, or a degradation of his servants, but reminding the Lord of His promise, about Abraham’s descendants.  And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.”  Reading scripture can reassure us of the promises of God.  God’s appoach to Abraham is gentle, not rebuking any lack of faith, which indicates that Abraham was not angry, but more longing for a son, and called on God to fulfill His word. And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”  This is a moment between friends, between a Heavenly Father and son. Abraham expressed his troubles, and God relieved him. And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness. Abraham trusted God, and his faith grew from this interaction.

And he said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.”  Nothing is beyond God, He called Abraham specifically.  But he said, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?”  The world as we know it is full of doubts, betrayals, and distrust. Human experience will limit our faith if we let it, but we must overcome it, and know that God keeps his promises. “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.”  Obey the Lord, give him your faith, as these sacrifices were a symbol of.  And he brought him all these, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other. Give to God what he asks of us. But he did not cut the birds in half. This was required by ceremony.   And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away. Protect the sacrifices and gifts you give to God. Unbelievers will try to destroy them. Guard your heart and spirit.

As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him. God is light, but darkness is permitted that He may shine through it. Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. Israel would suffer greatly in the land of Egypt; We suffered greatly in sin  But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. The Lord would free them; Jesus freed us from sin.  As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. Abraham would live a long life, and die before his people would claim the land And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete The Lord had an appointed time.

When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. Consuming the sacrifice. On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give[c] this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, 19 the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, 20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, 21 the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.”   The covenant was  sealed with Abraham’s sacrifice in faith; Our covenant is through the blood of Christ, and sealed by the Holy Spirit, as we, in faith, accept him as our savior.

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