Genesis: The Beginning
The Covenant 1-16-16
READ: Genesis 15
Yesterday, Scripture revealed the importance of seeing beyond this physical realm into the things of the Spirit when looking at our lesson from Lot’s choice. In today’s reading, we will see Abram’s faith needs a boost; he is feeling discouraged about “how” God’s promise is going to take place when clearly…it looks impossible. The LORD God has proven Himself faithful to protect Abram and his loved ones (recapturing Lot from the enemy), but will He further reward Abram out of the abundance of His goodness?
Abram’s wealth continues to accumulate, but it brings him no joy because he has no heir (son) in which to leave it. Abram’s faith is struggling to believe the things the LORD told him in the past as he now prays, “O Sovereign LORD, you have given me no descendants of my own…” Yahweh answers that prayer in a vision by laying out the terms of the covenant he offered Abram earlier. The LORD tells Abram not to fear and then takes him outside instructing him to look up into the sky and count the stars. The LORD God promises Abram he will have as many descendants as the number of stars he can count.
Abram believes the LORD; Abram demonstrates faith in action as he is counting, so the LORD counts Abram as righteous. Restated, Abram looks to God to meet his need for salvation and blessing; an act of faith. Counting counts (looking to the LORD for human salvation and abundant living—John 10:10).
Abram receives an affirming word from the LORD about his descendants, but he is still concerned about the land the LORD promises because he fears the retaliation of the kings he just overthrew to recapture Lot. Makes sense to me. The LORD reminds Abram He is with him.
Yahweh, the Sovereign One, responds to Abram’s second request for reassurance by taking him further through a covenant process of cutting animals in half; a common ritual in biblical times. This ritual communicates the promise just made between two people is so strong that each party is basically saying, “May this happen to me if I do not keep my promise to you!” This is called “cutting a covenant.” This covenant is ratified (made official) in blood.
The LORD God causes a deep sleep to come over Abram signifying He is in control of everything from here on with Abram and his descendants. Restated, salvation is based on faith in the LORD alone (we too are saved by faith in the LORD and made official in blood). The LORD reveals hard times will come to Abram’s descendants (vulture-like nations bent on destroying his descendants), but the LORD will be faithful to deliver his descendants and bring justice. As for Abram, the LORD tells him he will die as an old man and ascend to the afterlife of peace (eternal life with Yahweh is unconditional for Abram as he trusts the LORD God for salvation).
Abram witnesses a smoking firepot and a flaming torch passing between the halves of the animal carcasses. This symbolizes the covenant the LORD God just made with Abram is unconditional and entirely dependent upon Yahweh to fulfill His eternal purpose for humanity made in His image. The covenant the LORD made with Abram continues…(we will see a smoking firepot [cloud of smoke] and flaming torch [pillar of fire] again as we read). Blessings as you trust the LORD’s promise for salvation…