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Good and Bad News — Genesis Chapter 15

This blog post will cover the devotional #84 for Genesis Chapter 15.

Please note that this devotional book is for sale as a physical (paperback) &/or digital (PDF) book on my website.

[84] Genesis 15:1-21

Why did God say, “Do not fear, Abram—I am your shield and exceedingly great reward”? Abram had just returned from killing Lot’s captors and he felt guilty about it—which means that God didn’t send him on that errand any more than He sent him to Egypt. Abram was never a man of war or violence. Recall (from devotional #82) how he wanted to end the strife between his and Lot’s men, and avoid strife arising in their family? Abram feared that, not only was he at risk for losing the promises that God had given him, but worse, he was guilty of blood and therefore unqualified. We can see something similar in 1 Chronicles 22:8, when David wanted to build God’s house but wasn’t permitted to because he’d shed so much blood. When God told Abram not to fear because He was his reward—Abram responded, asking, “Lord God, what will You give me—I am childless, and the steward of my house is Eleazar of Damascus…look, You have given me no seed, and my heir is one born in my house?” He was basically telling God that his own trusted servant would have to be his heir because God hadn’t given him a son—so how could the promise possibly be fulfilled? Abram had so easily trusted and believed God before, but now his mind was tormented with his faithless mistakes leading up to that point, and he struggled to believe. God first reassured him that Eleazar—his servant—wouldn’t be his heir, but that someone from his own loins would be. Then, He further showed that his own offspring would be as countless as the stars. Abram believed God—which God recognized as righteousness. Secondly, God said that He had brought him out of Ur to inherit the land that He had brought him to. Still struggling, and now even seeking evidence he could grasp, Abram again questioned, “What will prove that I will inherit it?” When he went into a deep sleep, God told him that he’d die in peace and be buried at a good old age. He also told him that his offspring would be strangers and slaves in someone else’s land for four hundred years—where they’d be afflicted. However, He would allow judgement to come upon that nation; and Abram’s offspring would depart with great wealth, but wouldn’t return here until the fourth generation—because the Amorites’ iniquity wasn’t yet full. It’d be within the four generations, though, because 1 Kings 21:26 tells us that the Amorites did abominable things—such as following idols—and that the Lord cast them out before the children of Israel. Now, the animals that God had Abram prepare before he went to sleep (most of which he divided into two parts and waved free of the fowls that came down upon them) were addressed after God’s announcement in the dream. God made a covenant with Abram, saying, “I have given this land—from Egypt to the great river, Euphrates—to your seed.” This animal ritual was what people did when they made covenants—the way we sign contracts today to legalize them (aka, 'Cut a deal' or 'Strike a bargain'). A similar situation was addressed in Jeremiah 34:18, 19. “I will give (into the hands of their enemies) 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 two, and passed between its two parts…Their dead bodies will be food for the fowls of the sky, and the beasts of the earth.” Thus, we can see in Abram’s situation—God not only comforted and reassured his fears, guilt, and doubt, but even went further than giving just His word. He made a symbolic pact between them, which helped nudge Abram back into confidence in the eventual fulfillment of His promise. In devotional #85, we’ll see who it was that he placed his confidence in.

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