Presentation on theme: "Title Page. Lesson Two Genesis 15:1-3 1 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield,"— Presentation transcript:
Genesis 15:1-3 1 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. 2 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? 3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.
Genesis 15:4-5 4 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. 5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, 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.
Focus Verse Genesis 15:5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, 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.
Focus Thought God’s covenant blessings are received through faith and obedience. Through Abraham’s faith, God brought into existence a people to fulfill His purpose.
Introduction When the Lord created the human race, He designed the family to be the instrument for effecting His dominion and government in the earth. God originally intended that Adam and Eve would rule the earth through self- government under His direction. However, they yielded that privilege when they became subservient to sin through their disobedience.
Introduction Later, God established another family to serve as an example of self-government under Him. Abraham was the father of this family, and God blessed his descendants as they obeyed and served Him. Furthermore, Abraham’s family would bring blessing to the entire world through Jesus Christ, the incarnate God.
Introduction Through the spiritual lineage of Abraham, the church is now the family (Ephesians 3:15) through whom He effects His spiritual work on earth through the gospel of Jesus Christ (Isaiah 9:7). Through the new birth, we can truly live in self-government under God—not without law, but living under the higher law of God (I Corinthians 9:21).
Introduction Abraham’s faithful obedience and patient perseverance laid a foundation for his own family as well as his extended family, the church. When we follow his example, we become the spiritual offspring of the father of the faithful.
I. Chosen to Be an Heir of God A Chosen to Be an Heir of God The prospect of receiving a large inheritance is quite appealing to many people. Some individuals may have daydreamed of hearing a knock on the door and finding on the doorstep a lawyer delivering the will of some long-lost uncle bequeathing them a fantastic sum.
I. Chosen to Be an Heir of God A While this speculation makes for interesting daydreams, no one in this present world could leave an inheritance greater than that of Abraham. He laid groundwork for the coming of Jesus Christ, who gave us an eternal inheritance.
I. Chosen to Be an Heir of God A In describing this inheritance, Paul wrote that it includes riches and glory (Ephesians 1:18), and Peter described it as incorruptible and nonfading (I Peter 1:4). Certainly, it is far better to have a heavenly Father than a rich uncle, and much greater to have an eternal inheritance than a temporal one that passes away.
I. Chosen to Be an Heir of God A A.A Chosen Heir When God first called Abram, He required him to leave his current setting and go where God would direct (Genesis 12). This call included the promise of a blessing that would fill the entire earth, but it did not give direct revelation about God.
I. Chosen to Be an Heir of God A Although the Lord told Abram what He would do, He revealed nothing about His nature. In the next two instances where God spoke to Abram, God reminded him of His promise to give him and his descendants the land where he lived, yet God still did not reveal Himself.
I. Chosen to Be an Heir of God A Later, God’s message to Abram revealed who He is by shifting the focus from His actions to His being. Instead of saying, “I will,” the Lord declared, “I am.” (See Genesis 15:1.) This was a call to know Him, not just to hear Him.
I. Chosen to Be an Heir of God A This message is the first time the words vision and word appear in Scripture. It is also the first mention of the phrase, “The word of the L ORD came.” Here, God was providing a greater revelation of Himself than He had previously given to mankind. The New Testament reveals God as the “Word was made flesh” (John 1:14).
I. Chosen to Be an Heir of God A Abram also had a vision of the Word. God revealed Himself as Abram’s “shield” and “reward,” both of which God used for the first time in His conversations with mankind. Perhaps Abram was fearful of reprisals from the kings who were confederated with Chedorlaomer. (See Genesis 14:1-17.) When the Lord began His message with the words, “Fear not,” and called Himself a “shield,” Abram must have felt such comfort.
I. Chosen to Be an Heir of God A How many times are we frightened by the prospects of the future or the anticipation of unpleasant events (that usually do not happen anyway) when we should be content to “fear not” because the Lord is also our shield? (See Deuteronomy 33:29; Psalm 3:3.)
I. Chosen to Be an Heir of God B B.As Many as the Stars God’s promise to Abram was beyond the realm of human possibility. God told him that he would become the father of a multitude when at an advanced age he was not the father of even one child. To emphasize the magnitude of this promise, God led Abram outside under the canopy of the night sky. He directed Abram’s gaze toward heaven and challenged him, “Tell the stars, if thou be able to number them” (Genesis 15:5).
I. Chosen to Be an Heir of God B Surely, Abram must have quickly grasped the hopeless task of counting the stars, but he also gained a greater awareness of the glory of God. If God could make the countless multitudes of stars by His Word, He certainly could make a multitude of descendants from an old man even though Abram did not yet have a single child.
I. Chosen to Be an Heir of God B Abram’s faith leaped into a higher dimension. Somehow, God’s promise had become real and personal to him. It was no longer simply a good thought or a wishful idea. Abram’s faith now had substance and evidence. He would not stagger at God’s promise, but he would quietly and patiently wait for God to do what He said. The promise was real, and in Abram’s heart, the fulfillment was real as well.
I. Chosen to Be an Heir of God B It is sometimes difficult for people in a sinful condition to believe that God can transform them. They may wish they could be like the believers they have observed. Somewhere, the promise of transformation must become real to them through the substance and evidence of faith.
I. Chosen to Be an Heir of God B Just as Abram’s promise was humanly impossible, so is the promise that God will change us. However, the Lord’s promises are not dependent on our ability or aptitude. God’s promises depend only upon our faithful obedience to a faithful God.
I. Chosen to Be an Heir of God B Abram could not go to the altar and walk away as an instant father of a multitude. There was no conference or camp meeting he could attend that would give him the key to receiving the fulfillment of God’s promise. The only key was for him to believe God and live faithfully based on that belief. When God’s word gave him directives, he obeyed readily.
I. Chosen to Be an Heir of God B When God did not speak to him for a time, he just kept doing what he already knew was right. Abram never looked for an instant answer; he knew that God’s promise was futuristic and that he would attain it one day if he would faithfully continue to live for God by faith.
I. Chosen to Be an Heir of God C C.A Promise for the Future God’s promise to Abram was not an immediate blessing. He could hope to see only a portion of the promise fulfilled. He knew that he would have a son, but he did not know how God would fulfill the promise of an innumerable progeny. He would see his son and perhaps his grandson, but the ultimate fulfillment of God’s grand vision for Abram’s seed would be beyond the span of his own life.
I. Chosen to Be an Heir of God C Abram left his homeland, traveled to a distant place, sojourned as a pilgrim and stranger, endured hardship, dangers, famine, and war—all for a promise that he would never personally see fulfilled except through faith (Hebrews 11:13).
I. Chosen to Be an Heir of God C He literally gave his life so that descendants whom he would never know might have an opportunity to know and walk with God in a land that was all their own. Thus, he became a stepping-stone for generations yet to be born.
II. Covenant Given A Covenant Given A.A Covenant Given Twenty-four years after Abram’s departure from Ur, God again spoke to him. For the first time, the Lord identified Himself as the “Almighty God” (El Shaddai). Abram was the first to hear this revelation. The almighty God had the power to protect him, provide for him, and to fulfill the covenant that He was about to establish.
II. Covenant Given A The realization that the God he was following was the God of all power and might comforted Abram. No enemy could withstand him and no difficulty could hinder him when the Almighty was on his side. He did not need to fear the inhabitants of Canaan. He need not question his or his wife’s physical ability to bear a son.
II. Covenant Given A These things did not matter when the almighty God had spoken. What He said, He had the power to do; what He promised, He had the might to fulfill. Abram could be content even when he could not fathom how God was going to work everything out. Just knowing that the Almighty was involved satisfied him.
II. Covenant Given A We may endure numerous difficulties and trials, but through it all we can have the assurance that the One we serve is the Almighty. No enemy is too strong; no need is too great; no burden is too heavy. As Paul declared to the Romans, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). His being on our side tips the balance in our favor. Whatever our trial or struggle, we can be certain that God is able either to deliver us or to give us the grace sufficient for us to endure.
II. Covenant Given B B.The Sign of the Covenant Although God initiated the covenant, Abram had the responsibility to obey. God instructed Abram that he and all the males of his household were to be circumcised. In this way, each man among Abram’s descendants would have in his own body a mark of the covenant of God that would be “in [their] flesh” for evermore. Furthermore, any male that was not circumcised would be removed from God’s covenant.
II. Covenant Given B The New Testament does not abolish circumcision. Rather, it provides a spiritual application that applies to the hearts of both men and women.
Romans 2:28-29 II Timothy 2:2 “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Romans 2:28- 29).
Colossians 2:11-12 II Timothy 2:2 “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead” (Colossians 2:11-12).
II. Covenant Given B New Testament circumcision involves a humble, repentant person obeying the command to be baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins. Numerous Old Testament references also note the connection between godliness and circumcision. (See Leviticus 26:41-42; Deuteronomy 10:16; 30:6; Jeremiah 4:4; 6:10; 9:26.)
II. Covenant Given C C.Abram Renamed Along with the promise of becoming the beginning of a new and great nation, God also gave Abram a new name. Abram means “father” or “high father,” but God changed his name. This change would emphasize the promise of God, for now he would be called Abraham or “father of a multitude.”
II. Covenant Given C God gave him a name that would accurately convey the significance that he would have in the unfolding plan for the ages. Paul called Abraham “the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also” (Romans 4:11).
II. Covenant Given D D.A Nation Promised God’s covenant with Abraham was more than just the promise of a son. A male descendant was only the beginning of what God had in store for this patriarch. God had declared that He would make Abraham fruitful to the point that his children would become nations. Some of them would become rulers, kings, and sovereigns.
II. Covenant Given D Furthermore, the Lord promised to continue this covenant with Abraham’s children, allowing them to posses the land where Abraham sojourned. His children would be blessed, and through them God would bless all nations of the world.
II. Covenant Given D God began fulfilling His promise through the twelve tribes of Israel, the root from which Jesus Christ sprang. However, He also fulfilled it in the New Testament church, where we, as born-again believers, become the children of Abraham by faith. (See Galatians 3:7.) We are a holy nation and a royal priesthood (I Peter 2:9), and we shall reign with Christ (Revelation 20:6).
II. Covenant Given D Peter declared to those who had seen the lame man walk that they had become partakers of the Abrahamic covenant (Acts 3:25). As the children of God through the new birth, we have the promise of a new land (Revelation 21:2).
II. Covenant Given D As such, we are ourselves blessed while being a blessing to the whole world (Galatians 3:9; Matthew 24:14). While the promise made to Abraham was specifically directed to his physical descendants, a spiritual progeny exists that includes both Jews and Gentiles through faith.
III. Covenant Confirmed A Covenant Confirmed A.By Obedience The Bible declares that the Lord tested Abraham by making an unusual request of him (Genesis 22:1). Our modern use of the word “tempt” is almost exclusively negative because we use it in the context of an allurement to do wrong or evil. However, in this passage of Scripture, it means to “try” or “test.” God certainly was trying Abraham when He directed this patriarch to sacrifice his promised son as a burnt offering.
III. Covenant Confirmed A Abraham had already shown a willingness to obey God both by leaving his homeland and by being circumcised. These were noble acts, but they were not of the same magnitude as the task that God now demanded. The sense of loss at leaving his home and comfortable surroundings was tempered only by the promise of a new home.
III. Covenant Confirmed A The covenant of circumcision was painful, but only for a few days. However, when God asked Abraham to kill the very son that He had promised, Abraham realized that this was a test of great magnitude.
III. Covenant Confirmed A To put a knife through the heart of this wonderful child who had been the source of delight and joy to this aged man would be no easy task. To extinguish the glow in the eyes that had looked upon him with trust and pure, simple love would be heartrending. This test would stretch Abraham’s faith and obedience to the extreme.
III. Covenant Confirmed A Abraham did not hesitate or attempt to reason his way out of obeying God. He simply arose early, took the necessary provisions, and set out to obey the Lord. He went bravely to the place, prepared the altar, and began the process of carrying out the command. Surely, he believed that God would somehow raise Isaac from the ashes of the altar and restore him to life (Hebrews 11:19).
III. Covenant Confirmed A When Abraham drew the knife back to take his son’s life, the Lord stopped him and declared:
Genesis 22:16-18 II Timothy 2:2 “By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice” (Genesis 22:16-18).
III. Covenant Confirmed A Jesus Christ came from Abraham’s seed and gave Himself as a sacrifice for all mankind: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
III. Covenant Confirmed B B.By God’s Oath An oath has long been recognized as the proof of veracity. When any elected official begins his term, he is sworn in by repeating an oath of office. This oath or affirmation is a solemn pledge that the official will do his best to fulfill the responsibilities of his position according to the law.
III. Covenant Confirmed B These oaths or affirmations are predicated on two points. First, the person who affirms to fulfill his responsibilities of office must believe in God. Second, the person must believe in the future rewards or punishments that God gives. These beliefs ensure the witness’s truthfulness on the witness stand. Thus, an oath has force only when the one making the oath believes in God.
III. Covenant Confirmed B The writer of the Book of Hebrews explained that people swear by one greater than themselves, and the oath of a God-fearing person serves as a final and indisputable witness to the truth. (See Hebrews 6:16.) God desired to affirm to Abraham the truthfulness of what He had promised. Therefore, since there was none greater, He swore by Himself.
Court of Law One court in the state of New York refused to allow testimony from a man that claimed to be an atheist. “The court of common pleas of Chester county (New York) a few days since rejected a witness who declared his disbelief in the existence of God. The presiding judge remarked that he had not before been aware that there was a man living who did not believe in the existence of God; that this belief constituted the sanction of all testimony in a court of justice: and that he knew of no cause in a Christian country where a witness had been permitted to testify without such belief” (New York Spectator, August 23, 1831).
III. Covenant Confirmed C C.By Our Hope Faith in God’s Word gives us hope. As we recognize the immutability of the counsel of the Lord, we have a refuge to which we can flee when doubt attacks us. Certainly, our hope in the truthfulness of God’s Word provides an anchor for our souls.
III. Covenant Confirmed C When the winds of higher criticism or pseudo-scientific evidence blow, the truth of God’s Word will stand and keep us secure. When the waves of fickle popular opinion crash against us, the anchor of a firm confidence in God’s infallible Word—absolute truth—will securely hold us.
III. Covenant Confirmed D D.By Jesus Christ Our High Priest The veil of the Temple represented a barrier between mankind and God. For centuries, people wondered about the reality of God’s presence behind that opaque, obstructive barricade. However, Jesus removed that barrier through the sacrifice of His own body and the shedding of His blood (Luke 22:19-20; Hebrews 10:20).
III. Covenant Confirmed D He made it possible for each believer to enter the Holy of Holies through receiving His Holy Spirit. We have a firm assurance that testifies of the reality of His promise both to Abraham and to his descendants by faith.
Reflections Abraham was a great man of faith and faithfulness. He believed God and lived out that belief by consistently walking with God and obeying His Word. May his life inspire us to do the same.