A. An old woman had, for years, been thoroughly overcome by all kinds of troubles and trials in life. Her family had done all they could for her, but nothing seemed to help. Finally, they gathered together one day and told her. “Grandma, we’ve done all we can for you. From now on you’re just going to have to trust God.” A look of fear and total dejection came over her face as she said, “Oh, dear. Has it come to that?”
1. It always comes to that!
2. Our world, it seems, does not know what to do with God
a. Many have a lack of faith, or a weak faith
b. Others have a misconception concerning faith
B. The life of Abraham gave us any many insights into faith and trust in God – Let us now look into another episode in the Life of this great man.
A. ABRAHAM’S FAULTY ASSUMPTION
1. Genesis 15:1
2. “After these things,” that is, after Abraham had delivered Lot from the invading kings, the Almighty gives Abraham words of encouragement:
a. Man has two basic fears:
1) The presence of evil
2) The absence of good
b. Thus, God presents himself as a:
1) “Shield” – He is our protector from evil
a) Psalm 3:3
b) Psalm 18:2
2) “Exceedingly great reward” – He will provide what we need
a) Psalm 34:9-10
b) Psalm 37:25
3. Genesis 15:2-3
a. Notwithstanding the great promise just given, Abram is still childless and landless; and the Lord has made as yet no sign of action in regard to these objects of special promise.
b. So Abraham is wondering if Eliezer is the heir of which the Lord speaks
4. We, too, can make faulty assumptions at times
a. Do we assume that because our prayers are not answered as we wish that God is not answering our prayers or does not care?
b. Do we assume that because we are faithful to the Lord that no trouble will befall us?
c. Do we assume certain things about people without the proper evidence?
d. Assumptions can be dangerous
B. GOD’S FAITHFUL ASSURANCE
1. The Revelation
a. Genesis 15:4-5
b. God renews His promise and says that Eliezer is not the promised heir, but the one that shall “come forth out of thine own bowels”
c. The seed promised is here renewed – and Abraham is seen as trying to rush the plans of God, or perhaps there was some doubt on his part
1) Abraham tried to rush the plan through Eliezer
2) Later he would try to change the plan through Ishmael
3) It is a tragedy when man tries to change God’s plan
d. Do we ever try to rush or change the plans of God, or do we ever begin to doubt – we need to remember that our timeline may not be the same as God’s.
e. Notice the character of God’s promises:
1) 1 Kings 8:56 … His promises are unfailing
2) Romans 4:21 … His promises are assured by Divine ability
3) 2 Peter 1:4 … His promises are of infinite value
2. The Response
a. Genesis 15:6
b. One of the greatest words in the Old Testament is found here for the first time in Scripture – it is the word rendered “believe,” a word which essentially means “trust”
c. So now, when God asks Abraham to carry out certain orders, he unhesitatingly obeys, and this attitude is a demonstration of his faith.
1) But even more is revealed here – God’s response to Abram’s implicit obedience shows that the patriarch met with God’s favor and was considered “righteous” as a result
2) And now, in the verses following, we see the Promise and the Sign issuing forth in the Covenant.
d. Unfortunately, this verse has become the playground of false teachers who say that a man is justified by faith alone, but…
1) Paul connects faith & obedience – Romans 1:5; 16:26
2) James 2:14-24
3. The Ratification of the Covenant (15:7-17)
a. The Details
1) Genesis 15:7-11
2) God renews the land promise with Abraham and confirms the promise with a covenant
3) The Lord now directs him to make ready the things necessary for entering into a formal covenant regarding the land. These include all the kinds of animals afterward used in sacrifice….. The number three is sacred, and denotes the perfection of the victim in point of maturity….. The division of the animals refers to the covenant between two parties, who participate in the rights which it guarantees.
4) For whatever purpose a covenant was made, it was ratified by a sacrifice offered to God; and the passing between the divided parts of the victim appears to have signified that each agreed, and if they broke their agreement they would to submit to the punishment of being cut asunder – an ancient mode of punishment
5) Do you realize that we have made, in a sense, a covenant with God in baptism? God gives us remission of sins and we are to give Him a life of faithfulness.
6) With regard to the Ratification of the Covenant, notice…
b. The Destiny of Israel
1) Genesis 15:12-16
2) The history of Abraham’s seed would not be a continuous highway of peace, for it is prophesied that they would go into Egyptian bondage and leave as a great nation with great substance
3) This all came to pass just as God said
4) We can count on what the Lord says. Notice a few examples:
a) Romans 8:28
b) Mark 16:16
c) John 5:28-29
5) With regard to the Ratification of the Covenant, notice…
c. The Descent of God
1) Genesis 15:17
2) The “smoking furnace” and “burning torch” possibly symbolize the smoke of destruction and the light of salvation….. Their passing through the pieces of the victims and probably consuming them as an accepted sacrifice are the ratification of the covenant on the part of God, as the dividing and presenting of them were on the part of Abram.
3) Concerning us today God has done His part
a) He has given us the blessed sacrifice of His Son
b) He has given us His written word to direct our paths
4) Are we doing our part?
a) Have you taken advantage of the sacrifice of Jesus by obeying God’s plan of salvation?
b) Are you doing your part by remaining faithful and walking in the light as He is in the light?
“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you have forgotten how it goes.”