Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Genesis 15

Genesis 15:1 – The Promised Shield and Reward 

God knew Abram was shaky and needed assurance.  It had been a very intense time for Abram.  He had refused the most powerful king of the land in the previous chapter.  The king could come back for revenge against Abram.  Abram was discouraged.  Gen. 15:1“After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: ‘Do not be afraid, Abram.  I am your shield, your very great reward.’ ”.  God wanted to reassure him that He was his protector.  We should not look at our circumstances, but look to God who is in control.  There is no need to fear the future.  We need to rely on God and He will calm our fears.

God is a shield and reward to those who trust in Him.

Are facing and “after this” in life?  Is your “after this” after a cancel treatment, bankruptcy, loss of a loved some, etc.?  Are you sacrificially commented to living God’s Word?  He assures us with His protection as He did Abram.  He will protect us, but that does not mean we will not have times of trouble.

What do you need to trust God? 
How is God asking you to fearless obey Him?
Are you willing to place your faith and trust in God?
What makes you afraid?  Failure, death.  There are over 200 verses in the Bible about “fear not” to reassure us when we are afraid. 

God said He would be Abram’s shield.  God is our shield by protecting, deflecting and absorbing the arrows and darts from the enemy, Satan.

God said He is Abram’s very great reward.  He is our very great reward when we place our faith in Him.  We get a relationship with Him for all eternity.

If God said to you “I am your very great reward”, what would this mean to you?  Abram had no children, but he had faith that God would keep His promise and give him a son.  Gen. 15:6“Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.”  Rom. 1:16-17 tells us that the righteousness will live by faith. 

Are you living by faith? 
Do trust God to do what He says He will do? 
What does it mean to have faith? – To have faith is to trust God completely and by having faith in Jesus that He died to make us perfect in God’s sight.
What does it mean to be righteousness? – To be righteous mean you must live a perfect life, but we can’t do that without Jesus.

Genesis 15:2-6 – The Promised Seed

Abram was struggling with doubt.  Probably 10 years had passed since God made the promise to him.  Abram questioned God in Gen. 15:2-6.  He was questing God because he knew he didn’t have the ability at his age to have a son.  He probably wondered if he even heard God right. He wanted very much to do his part in fulfilling God’s promise.  He probably was wondering how this would happen.  There was no disapproval from God.  God just said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars…. So shall your offspring be.”Gen. 15:5.  Abram’s offspring today are all those who believe in Christ Jesus.  See Rom. 4:16. Gal. 3:7, 29.

Doubt is different than unbelief.  Doubt is the natural journey of faith.  Are you doubting?  Are you open to dialog with God?  God is where we go when afraid and doubting.  We all need assurance from God.  To us, God’s timing seems so off.  God showed Abram the stars to assure him that God was capable of fulfilling His promise.  Abram was led to focus on God and what God could do.  Abram took God at His Word and believed God.  “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.”Gen. 15:6.

God credits faith in His promises as righteousness.

Do you have “but God” feelings like Abram?
What is the tough question you need to ask God?
What disappointment are you living with that leads you to unbelief?
Are you willing to trust God with your tears?

Genesis 15:7-21 – The Promised Land

God had promised that Abram would possess the land.  Abram asked, “How can I know that I will gain possession of it?”Gen 15:8.   So God entered into a covenant with Abram in Gen 15:8-11.   God was personally and deeply committed to make a covenant with Abram.  With this covenant Abram was guaranteed God’s promise.  This was a custom for sealing contracts between two parties.  If we believe, God promises us that we are saved and that our salvation is secure.  It is not secure based on you obeying, but on the Jesus’ work on the cross.  Don’t live life afraid you are not good enough, because you are not.

God’s grace is sufficient while we wait for His promises to be fulfilled.

Are you waiting for God to fulfill a promise?
What are you focusing on, your circumstances or God?  He will fulfill His promises at the perfect time.
How will you live while waiting?
How will you protect your mind and heart?  He is committed to anyone who is committed by faith to Him.

Gen. 15:12-17 – Abram fell asleep and God revealed to him His future plans.  God’s plans for Abram’s descendants were good, but there would be many terrible troubles.  God told Abram that his descendants would be slaves in Egypt for 400 years.  We learn in the book of Exodus that all these things happened as God said.  After the 400 years God used Moses to free the people and God let them back to the country called Canaan.  God makes something good out of something horrible.  He freed them from Egypt.  God did not enslave Israel.  It was man’s free will that did that.  Today God assures us that trouble will come, but He is our very present help in time of trouble.

Israel is the most disputed piece of real estate on the earth.  Israel today is one of the tiniest nations on the earth.  It’s only 260 miles at its longest point.  Israel would fit into the United States 768 times.  Israel is a democratic nation, but is surrounded by 22 hostile Arab/Islamic nations.  These Arab countries are 640 times larger than Israel.  They want Israel to turn over all the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), the Golan Heights and half of Jerusalem.  Islam’s Koran commands Muslims force the entire planet to submit to its control, yet Israel is viewed as an aggressor.  Israel fights only defensive wars, because it resists total destruction from its enemies.     
Even though it’s a tiny nation, God continues to protect Israel to this day. God promised Abram and his descendants the land of Israel, which includes from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates. Abram believed God and entered into a covenant with Him. “On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, ‘To your descendants I give this land from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates…’.” – Gen. 15:18. This is their Promised Land. 


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