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Abraham: A Covenant Keeping God

Genesis: Foundational Principles for Life  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  41:48
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What promises of God do you hold onto when you are struggling, going through a harder time in life???
I will never leave you or forsake you
Vengeance is mine, I will repay
I will uphold you
I will renew your strength
I will give you rest
I will build my church, Satan will not prevail
After three days I will rise
I will come again and take you to myself
Genesis 15:1 begins with “AFTER THESE THINGS” … after chapter 14
Victory in battle
Giving up the supposed riches of spoil and Trusting God
Enemies created
This chapter begins with a vision of sorts. There is interaction between God and Abram…

God’s Assurance & 2 Promises…

Genesis 15:1
Genesis 15:1 NASB95
After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; Your reward shall be very great.”
Don’t Fear (Power)
I Will be your Shield (Protection)
I will give great reward (Provision)

The Dialog of Chapter 15

… is a dialog between God and Abram… they are exchanging “words
ABRAM= 3 sentences each posing a question
God= most of the rest of the chapter is Him speaking. MATTER OF FACT answers are given and He gives His Word to Abram… A Covenant! Promises!!!
There is a beautiful relationship conversation going on here… Isaiah 41:8 and James 2:23 we see that God refers to Abram as His FriendNO ONE else has He identified that way.
This morning I want to take us through this pertinent dialog as we go through each section together...

A Realistic Question

Genesis 15:2-3 presents a very realistic question based off of God’s Assurance and 2 Promises…
Genesis 15:2–3 NASB95
Abram said, “O Lord God, what will You give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Since You have given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir.”
God you could give me everything but what is it worth if there is no heir to pass it on to?
This was customary in his day and there is an interesting word play in his name…
Name meaning… possessor heir or son of possession
He is old, Sarai is past childbearing years… God these are real issues to look at

God’s Gracious Response

Genesis 15:4-7 shows how gracious God is to help us understand…
Genesis 15:4–7 NASB95
Then behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “This man will not be your heir; but one who will come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir.” And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness. And He said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess it.”
God does not even use Abram’s servants name
You will have a son… “shall have” your own flesh and blood! It is fact
A picture and reminder is given in the Stars...
My words brought those stars into existence… My word will be done
I am” the Israelites coming out of Egypt would have resonated with God’s identifying himself this way as the one who brought you up out of Egypt to the land I have promised!
Verse 6 is a beautiful statement of Faith that saves us not works… Reckoned to him as righteousness
This is an accounting term… paid in full. = IT IS FINISHED
Abram Believed!!! Three times in the New testament we see reference to Abram’s Faith… Romans 4:3 Galatians 3:6 & James 2:23
This statement made here is the message throughout scripture… Man cannot make himself righteous, it is an act of God that declares us righteous and we receive this through faith!
God’s statement however about the land posses another question by Abram Genesis 15:8

“How May I Know?

Abram is living in tents, as will his son, and grandson, when you are a nomad in a strange land yet God has promised you land this can raise questions.
Remember Abram’s faith has already been noted
Faith does not always provide us with all the answers and can leave us asking questions
From this point on in the chapter, Abram will listen, obey, and believe but he does not speak… What we see moving forward is God’s Words Genesis 15:9-11
Genesis 15:9–11 NASB95
So He said to him, “Bring Me a three year old heifer, and a three year old female goat, and a three year old ram, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, and laid each half opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds. The birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, and Abram drove them away.

Imagery of God’s Answer

Abram would have known and understood what was about to take place… A Covenant!
The three animals cut right down the middle
Laid out so there would be a path
Those who would enter into this covenant would walk through the halves to symbolize:
Should I not fulfill or hold to this covenant may the same happen to me
This was a formal, solemn, binding agreement involving a DIVINE promise!!!
The birds of prey are a picture as we will see of things that may try to hinder or attack this promise…
Consider this covenant as it unfolds before us… Genesis 15:12-21
Genesis 15:12–21 NASB95
Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, terror and great darkness fell upon him. God said to Abram, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. “But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with many possessions. “As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you will be buried at a good old age. “Then in the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.” It came about when the sun had set, that it was very dark, and behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a flaming torch which passed between these pieces. On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I have given this land, From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates: the Kenite and the Kenizzite and the Kadmonite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Rephaim and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Girgashite and the Jebusite.”

God’s Covenant!

Verse 12 - You and I cannot enter into the presence of God without fear… there is darkness everything else is gone it is just Abram and God
Verse 13 - “Know for certain” this is going to happen… 400 years in Egypt. When this happens it may feel like the birds of prey attacking my promise… I AM GOD!
Verse 14 - God judges Egypt and they even leave with the spoils of Egypt when they leave!
Verse 15 - Abram is 85 at this time and will live to be 175 we know from scripture! He just finished a war in chapter 14 but God reassures him he will be laid to rest in peace
Verse 16 - God is patient… the sins of the Amorites is not complete. He will give the land in time. Abram will not have to fight for every piece of land
Verse 17 - Is absolutely powerful!!!! Abram is witness to this covenant made to him and his descendants, BUT he is an observer… It is ONLY GOD who passes through!
Consider this impact from the writer of Hebrews 6:13-14 read
Hebrews 6:13–14 NASB95
For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and I will surely multiply you.”
When we make an oath we place our hand on the Word of God… it is greater
BUT GOD swore by Himself… The all mighty, all powerful, all knowing , all holy God swore by himself because there was none greater! He cannot lie!
Verses 18-21 - These verses are vital for us to understand!
There are various teachings out there that look at these covenants in scripture and declare them for the church as well.
The basis is that we are Abram’s spiritual descendants.
This is incorrect and begins to add to and take scripture out of the context
The scripture here is very clear… this is between God, Abram, and Abram’s descendants!
Just prior to this statement, God made it very clear that Abram’s descendants would come from his own body!
Not a type, or imagery or spiritualization
The land Israel is fighting for today is land that God has promised them!
These verses give very real boundaries and areas!
Israel has come close but never in its history has it possessed all the land
It will happen though when Jesus comes back and sits on the throne of David!
And Jesus has promised US… YOU AND ME that He will return!!!
This passage encourages us as believers though… God came through in Egypt, He gave them the land with Joshua, He sent His messiah that brought Salvation by Faith… AND he will fulfill his promises concerning our salvation and the blessings that come with it… 2 Peter 1: 3-4
2 Peter 1:3–4 NASB95
seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
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