Chapter by Chapter - Genesis 15

     Have you ever done something against another and feared what might happen? What if you helped put a man in jail for a crime he committed, and he was soon to be released from jail...would you fear retaliation? For me, the old phrase, "sleep with one eye open" quickly comes to mind. I would worry and so did Abram after he attacked an army to save his nephew Lot.  He feared retaliation from his attack BUT... God intervened. God came to Abram in a vision:

"Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward." - Genesis 15:1

     Abram was directly told by God not to worry. Talk about having pressure taken off your shoulders. The creator basically says "Hey...I got this. They will have to go through me to get to you." Wouldn't this be nice to hear during our times of trouble? To hear God speaking directly to us and say "Do not worry, I got this". Well, he already did.

     In the bible, the phrase "do not be afraid", "Fear not" shows up A LOT! God wants us to put our trust, our faith in Him. He will be our shield, our defender. To do so, we need to give Him our trust.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." - Philippians 4:6

     Continuing on in Genesis, Abram begins to question God regarding His promise of children and land. He tells God "You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir." God already told Abram what will come to be, years ago, but He never gave Abram a set date when it would occur. As you and I know, and several people from within the stories of the bible do too; over time we become impatient and allow doubt to sink in. We begin to say "this will never happen" or feel deceived because we were promised something yet we see no results. Just like the bible says in Philippians 4:6, Abram shares his concerns and presents his requests to God. God answers:

"'This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.' He took him outside and said, 'Look up at the sky and count the stars - if indeed you can count them.' Then he said to him, 'So shall your offspring be." - Genesis 15:4-5

     So God reassures Abram, he will have descendants. Just like Abram though, we tend to forget God's promises occur on His schedule, not our own. That's not to say that God is too busy for us at the moment and will get to it one of these days. It means that God has a plan, and He knows when it's the best time for you to receive what's promised. When we pray, we must believe we have received God's help because the truth is, God already has the plan in motion from the moment we ask and trust Him. He knows when the prayer will be answered resulting in the best possible outcome. We just have to trust Him.

"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." - Mark 11:24

     As we move to verse six, we come to a very important line of scripture. "Abram believed in the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness." This is a foundational principle to the entire bible. It shows a man trusting God and God crediting him with righteousness. It is salvation through faith. Think of the word credit. Credit is something added to your account. The word righteous means right with God or right standing before God. So every time you put your trust in God, like Abram does in verse 6, your name is credited with righteousness. I don't know about you, but that puts a huge smile on my face knowing God is smiling at me, crediting my name with righteous, when He sees I am putting my faith in Him.

     God and Abram make another covenant. Why? Think about it. If you want to recall a promise made to you, it helps to have a lasting memory of that promise, such as the covenant in Genesis 15. How could you ever forget cutting several animals in half and making a pathway for both parties to walk between showing an agreement has been made. This sounds weird, I know, but back in these times this was a traditional ceremony. Today, we just sign contracts and keep a copy on hand.

    The covenant is completed. God will deliver a family to Abram whose descendants will number the land like the stars in the sky. The descendants will first go through a period of enslavement before receiving the promised land of Israel. Why not now? The land is occupied by the Amorites and God explains the Amorites' sin has not reached its peak yet. God knows the time will come to bring judgement to the Amorites but this is not the time to do so. God also assures Abram that although his ancestors will become slaves in a foreign land, they will come out with great wealth. Some believe that this slavery occurs in retrospect to Sarai's harsh treatment of her Egyptian servant Hagar, who conceived a son to Abram. The bible does not describe why this must happen, but rest assure, God has His reason and He has a plan

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Ken is a blogger at Christian Pals Blog. He enjoys anything creative and playing golf.
Proud father, husband, and servant of God.

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