On Sunday evenings we have been considering one of the major characters of the Bible, Abraham. We have been looking at his life and his faith. Hebrews 11:8 tells us that Abraham followed the Lord by faith. We are also instructed to live our lives by faith. So tonight we continue to look at this great example of a life of faith. We left Abraham last week at a high point in his life. He had just successfully led his army against the four kings of the city-states and rescue Lot as well as all others who had been taken captive from Sodom. He was able to recover all of the stolen goods and was victorious in all. Not only had he been able to overcome the enemy on the battlefield, but he also overcame the subtle attack to compromise with the world.
However, when we begin chapter 15 we find that the Lord appeared to Abraham and the first words He spoke were these, "Fear not". The walk of faith is not without struggles and difficulties. It isn't necessarily a smooth road to travel, but we have the assurances that we do not travel this road alone. God is with us every step of the way. Abraham had concerns and fears, but God was there to reassure him in the midst of those fears. In this chapter we will see three areas of concern that Abraham had, and we will see how that God met each one of them. As we consider Abraham's life of faith, we can find encouragement and strength to live by faith in the God who will meet our every need.
I. He Was Concerned About His Safety. v1
A. Why would Abraham be afraid?
1. Our emotions can 'fall apart' after a time of great danger and difficulty.
2. Remember Elijah, after the great victory on Mt. Carmel he was afraid for his life!
3. Another factor was the possibility that the four kings might return with reinforcements and attack Abraham's camp.
4. If Abraham was killed!, what would happen to God's promise?
B. Listen to God.
1. "...the word of the Lord came unto Abram... "
a. This is the first place in Scripture where we find these words of encouragement.
b. They are used more than 100 times in the Old Testament.
c. The faith that conquers fear is not faith in our feelings, but faith in God's Word.
2. "...fear not, Abram..."'
a. Once again, this is the first place in the Scripture that we find these assuring words spoken.
b. God calls him by name.
c. The God who names and numbers all the stars also knows our names and is concerned about our needs.
3. "...I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward."
a. God's remedy for Abraham's fear was to remind him of who He was.
Ps. 46: 10a, "'Be still and know that I am God:"
b. God's 'I AM' is perfectly adequate for man's 'I am not'.
c. God is our shield and our reward.
d. He is our protection and our provision.
e. Abraham didn't have to worry about fighting another battle.
f. And he didn't have to regret losing the wealth offered him by the King of Sodom, because God would reward him in far greater ways.
Psalm 84:11, "For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory. No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly."
II. He Was Concerned About His Heir. v2-6
A. We see Abraham asking. v2-3
1. God had promised that his descendants would be as numerous as the dust of the earth.
2. But Abraham and Sarah were still childless.
3. And if he were to die, the only heir would be his servant Eliezer.
4. Abraham was not just concerned about himself and his wife, though they wanted children.
5. He was concerned about how God would work out His plan of salvation for the whole world.
6. Principle to remember: "God's will must be fulfilled in God's way and in God's time."
B. We see Abraham looking. v4-5
1. God made it clear that Abraham alone would be the father of the future heir.
2. God said, "'...out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir." NO SUBSTITUTES would be acceptable.
3. He told him to look up to the stars and that just as they are innumerable, so shall thy seed be.
4. Whether Abraham looked down at the dust or up to the stars, he would be reminded of God's promise.
C. We see Abraham believing. v6
1. Promises do us no good unless we believe them and act on them.
2. We are not saved by making promises to God, but by believing His promises to us!
3. Abraham would later prove his faith by his works when he would offer Isaac on the altar, but now righteousness was given to him by God.
4. Genesis 15:6 is the O.T. equivalent of John 3:16.
III. He Was Concerned About His Land. v7-21
A. Abraham sought assurance. v8-12
1. God affirmed to Abraham that he would possess the land.
2. Abraham asked God for a token of assurance.
3. He was confident that God would give him the promised son, but the land was in the hands of 10 pagan nations.
4. It was one thing to own the land, but another to posses it and enjoy it.
5. God "cut a covenant" with Abraham.
a. The custom was that two people would walk together through the divided pieces of the sacrifice.
b. This would bind them to a promise, and in effect was saying that if they did not keep their word, they deserved the same fate as the animals.
c. God did not allow Abraham to enter into the covenant with Him.
d. He alone, passed through the pieces of the sacrifice.
e. This made the covenant binding only with God, it was unilateral.
B. The terms of the covenant involved God's plan for the nation, Abraham, and the land. v13-21
1. God's plan for the nation. (13-17)
a. Bondage in Egypt for some 400 years.
b. God's judgment upon Egypt.
c. God's deliverance of His people.
2. God's plan for Abraham. (15)
a. Peaceful death at a "good old age".
b. That was 175 years old.
c. Abraham would walk with God for about 100 years.
3. God's plan for the land. (18 -21)
a. The land will belong to Abraham's descendants through Isaac.
b. To date, Israel has never fully possessed all of the land.
c. However, Jesus Christ will rule and reign for 1000 years and all of God's promises to Israel will be fulfilled.
When Abraham was concerned about himself, God assured him saying, "I AM!" When he was concerned about his heir, he heard God say, "I will!" His concern about the land was met by God's promise, "I have given!"
For you and I today, we need to understand that God will meet all of our concerns. He does this through His Son, Jesus Christ.
(Philippians 4:19) But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
(Genesis 15:6) And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
Abraham believed God, do we? He will meet our every need. He will give us strength for the journey and He will keep His promises to us.