GOD, A PROTECTOR AND DEFENDER GENESIS 15:1-21

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1 1 GOD, A PROTECTOR AND DEFENDER GENESIS 15:1-21

2 2 Text: Genesis 15:1-21, GOD, A PROTECTOR AND DEFENDER 1. After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: Fear not, Abram! I am your shield and the one who will reward you in great abundance. 2. But Abram said, O sovereign Lord, what will you give me since I continue to be childless, and my heir is Eliezer of Damascus? 3. Abram added, Since you have not given me a descendant, then look, one born in my house will be my heir! 4. But look, the word of the Lord came to him: This man will not be your heir, but instead a son who comes from your own body will be your heir. 5. The Lord took him outside and said, Gaze into the sky and count the stars if you are able to count them! Then he said to him, So will your descendants be. 6. Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord considered his response of faith as proof of genuine loyalty. 7. The Lord said to him, I am the Lord who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess. 8. But Abram said, O sovereign Lord, by what can I know that I am to possess it? 9. The Lord said to him, Take for me a heifer, a goat, and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon. 10. So Abram took all these for him and then cut them in two and placed each half opposite the other, but he did not cut the birds in half. 11. When birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away. 12. When the sun went down, Abram fell sound asleep, and great terror

3 3 overwhelmed him. 13. Then the Lord said to Abram, Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign country. They will be enslaved and oppressed for four hundred years. 14. But I will execute judgment on the nation that they will serve. Afterward they will come out with many possessions. 15. But as for you, you will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age. 16. In the fourth generation your descendants will return here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its limit. 17. When the sun had gone down and it was dark, a smoking firepot with a flaming torch passed between the animal parts. 18. That day the Lord made a covenant with Abram: To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates River 19. the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20. Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 21. Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites. (NET) Commentary: After the battle to rescue Lot, Abraham refused blessings from the wicked king of Sodom. (Genesis 14:21) God now reassured Abraham that he would be rewarded and protected because of his trust in God. He did not have to fear because God would protect him from retribution. Abraham was beginning to give up hope that he would have a child so he suggested that Eliezer of Damascus might be adopted as his son and become his heir. God reassured Abraham that he would have a son and many descendants by showing him the stars and saying, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. Abraham s faith caused God to declare him to be a righteous man. Abraham wanted proof that

4 4 he would have a child and this land. God asked Abraham to make a sacrifice and God s acceptance of the sacrifice was proof of His promise to Abraham. He asked Abraham to offer the same animals that would later be used in the Jewish sacrificial system. (Leviticus 1-5) God passed through the animals that had been cut in pieces to establish His covenant with Abraham. An example of the same kind of thing taking place when a covenant was made is seen in Jeremiah 34:18-19, And I will give the men that have transgressed my covenant, which have not performed the words of the covenant which they had made before me, when they cut the calf in twain, and passed between the parts thereof, The princes of Judah, and the princes of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, and the priests, and all the people of the land, which passed between the parts of the calf. Through this ceremony God formally committed Himself to the covenant He had made with Abraham. This covenant had to do with God giving that land to Abraham s descendants. Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates. Our God keeps His promises! Abraham believed in the Lord -- Genesis 15:1-6: The command to Fear Not is found in sixty-three Bible verses. This likely makes it the command that is given more times than any other in our Bible. God said to Abraham, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. (Genesis 15:1) Even though Abraham was a great man of faith he must have also dealt with some fear. This fear perhaps had its root in the possibility of revenge from the kings that he had defeated in battle. God promised him that He would be his protector and defender. David, likewise, saw God as his rock and fortress, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. (Psalm 18:2-3) Those who have God as their helper have nothing to fear. Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will

5 5 not fear what man shall do unto me. (Hebrews 13:5-6) Abraham did not accept the reward offered to him by the wicked king of Sodom. (Genesis 14:21) He did not need that reward because God said to him, I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. (Genesis 15:1) God would be a very great reward for Abraham. Our greatest treasure in this life is God Himself. Another first is seen in Genesis 15. We hear for the first time words spoken to God by Abraham. And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. (Genesis 15:2-3) Ten years had passed from the time God first promised Abraham a son. Abraham is now willing to accept Eliezer, as an adopted son. God may delay the fulfillment of His promise because the time is not right, but He will never fail to keep His promise. Abraham faith shows as He accepts God as Lord. God encourages Abraham by showing him the stars and reminding him that he and Sarah would have a natural born son and many descendants. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. (Genesis 15:6) This is the first verse in the Bible that explicitly connects faith, righteousness and justification. Abraham s faith is focused upon the promise of God that he would give him a son, through whom blessing would come to the entire world. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:29) Sacrifices and a Covenant -- Genesis 15:7-11: Abraham had some understanding of God s plan to send a Savior to the world. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. (John 8:56) God brought Abraham into this land for the purpose of sending the Savior. God stated simply, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. (Genesis 15:7) The purpose of Salvation is not an inheritance of land; the purpose of Salvation is a heavenly inheritance. Jesus said, The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

6 6 (John 10:10) Abraham wanted some proof that He would inherit the land. He said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? (Genesis 15:8) Abraham took his doubts and fears to God for help! God entered into a very somber covenant agreement with Abraham. Five different types of sacrificial animals were used. Abraham cut them in half, except the birds and God symbolically passed between each half to seal the covenant. Those who made such a covenant were saying that if I fail to keep my covenant the same end that the animals met would be my end. (Jeremiah 34:18-20) God made promises to Abraham -- Genesis 15:12-16: The Bible said of Adam, God caused A deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof. (Genesis 2:21) The exact expression is used concerning Abraham in Genesis 15:12, And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. During this deep sleep God gave Abraham several promises concerning the nation of Israel. (1) Your seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs (Egypt), (2) Abraham s descendants would serve Egypt, (3) They would be in Egypt for 400 years; (4) God promised to judge Egypt, (5) Israel would come out of Egypt with great substance. (6) Abraham would not live to see this slavery. He would die in peace and be buried in a good old age. (7) In the fourth generation Abraham s descendants would come out of Egypt. All of these predictions were perfectly fulfilled because God always does what He promises. Genesis 15:16 adds the words, For the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. In their fourth generation the iniquity of the Amorites is full. There is a certain point of iniquity to which nations may reach before they are destroyed and beyond which God does not permit them to continue. Abraham s seed and the land -- Genesis 15:17-21: God promised Abraham s descendants the Land. In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates. (Genesis 15:18) God did not

7 7 promise that it would be easy for the Jews to possess the land. They would be put through a smoking furnace of affliction. Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. (Isaiah 48:10) Covenants were often made by sacrifice. Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. (Psalms 50:5) God, very specifically gave the geographical boundaries and the nations of the land that He would give to Abraham. God promised the land of these 10 nations to the Jews; the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaims, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and the Jebusites. Can we trust in God s promises and rest in God s covenant? How merciful God is; He has done so much in providing a Savior for mankind. What a mighty God we serve! Give God the praise for providing the sin-offering which makes heaven possible for all who through faith will obey Him. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens. (Hebrews 7:26) To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus as the Christ (Mark 16:16), repent of all sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Romans 10:9-10) and be baptized for remission of sins. (Acts 2:38) After baptism keep your covenant with God by being faithful to Him. (Revelation 2:10) By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street, Greenville, Alabama 36037

8 8 Questions on Genesis 15: Abram asked God if Eliezer was to be his heir. Were they blood relatives? If not, what was the relationship between them? 2. This was the third time God had appeared to Abram since his arrival in Canaan. Name the other two times. 3. Verse 2 records the time Abram to God. 4. In verse 1 God promised Abram abundance. 5. How many descendants did God promise Abram and what was the meaning of this promise?

9 9 6. Abram had faithfully obeyed God in everything he had asked. This time he questioned God about the land. By what can I it? 7. How did God demonstrate the proof of his promise? What was used in this agreement? 8. God told Abram to prepare a, a and a, each 3 years old, along with a and a. 9. How was Abram to prepare the animals?

10 What is the meaning of cutting a covenant? 11. Explain the significance of the fact that only God walked between the animals. 12. What happened to Abram as he waited for a sign from the Lord? 13. During Abram s deep sleep, God revealed the things to come for his descendants. Name the events God foretold.

11 In what way did God execute his judgments on Egypt? 15. Why did the descendants stay in Egypt 400 years? 16. When and how did God appear before Abram? 17. Name the boundaries of the land God promised to Abram.

12 In ratifying this covenant only God walked between the animal parts. Explain the significance of this. 19. Name the people who were inhabiting the land promised to Abram.

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