Monday, June 8, 2015

Reading 4: The Promise

Genesis 15:1-21

From Noah's flood we come to Abraham. The flood did not cleanse humanity of their sin but just started the cycle over again. God was still separated from His people because of sin but He chooses a man named Abram to start His plan to redeem the world. God calls out to Abram and asks him to leave his family and country to a land that He will give him. He promises to make his offspring into a great nation which will bless the entire world. So Abram leaves his family and country and heads out. The promise of having many children was attractive to Abram. It is a blessing that comes straight from God's command to Adam and Eve in the Garden, "be fruitful and multiply."

In our passage Abram has been travelling for awhile and is starting to get quite old (somewhere around His eighties) and he still did not have any children. God's promise seemed false to him as how could His offspring be as numerous as the stars when he doesn't even have a son? Abram has left everything to pursue God with the promise of becoming a mighty nation and yet He has not had one child, not one son. When God comes and speaks to Him and says, "Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great" (Genesis 15:1) Abram gets a little mad and answers God, "O Sovereign Lord, what good are your blessings when I don't even have a son? Since you've given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. You have given me no descendants of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir" (Genesis 15:2-3).

Although he started with respect you could imagine His tone was probably quite annoyed. But the great thing is the God who fulfills all promises and is all-powerful doesn't get angry at this little human who's getting a little mouthy at Him. He renews His promise! He encourages Him to keep going and says, "Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That's how many descendants you will have!" (Genesis 15:5).

That is a lot of children
Even after he has questioned God upon hearing the answer it says, "Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith" (Genesis 15:6). He just finished blaming God of being unfaithful to His promise but then believes that God will be faithful and Abram is then considered righteous! It is a reflection of our lives now. As long as we believe that Jesus died for our sins on the cross and was resurrected three days later we too are considered righteous because we believe.

God puts Abram into a deep sleep and shows him in a dream all that will happen to his descendents. He shows them as slaves in Egypt for 400 years, God punishing the Egyptians and freeing them, and then leading them with great wealth into the land He promised Abram his descendents will have. God renews His promise to Abram and will see it through.

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