[Today: Genesis 15] – In the previous chapter, God requires Abram to return the spoil of the battle on the plain to the king of Sodom. In the process, Abram paid a tenth to Melchizedek and kept nothing for himself. The curtain on Gen. 15 opens with Abram worried about money. Do you ever worry about money? This chapter will give you great insight and great peace in this area of your life.
[Gen 15:1-21 KJV] 1 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I [am] thy shield, [and] thy exceeding great reward. 2 And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house [is] this Eliezer of Damascus? 3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. 4 And, behold, the word of the LORD [came] unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. 5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. 6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. 7 And he said unto him, I [am] the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. 8 And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? 9 And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. 10 And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. 11 And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away. 12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. 13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land [that is] not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. 15 And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. 16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites [is] not yet full. 17 And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. 18 In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: 19 The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, 20 And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, 21 And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.
In the previous chapter, Abram wins the spoils of five cities and five invading armies. Before he can claim any share of the proceeds of war, an enigmatic figure known as Melchizedek intervenes taking a tenth of the wealth and instructing Abram to return the 90 percent back to the wicked king of Sodom. This was the second great sacrifice that God required of Abram. He had already given up much in allowing Lot to have the best of the land God had set before them.
In chapter thirteen, after separating from Lot, God speaks to Abram from a mountain top and promises him and his descendants everything as far as the eye can see. In the battle on the plain (ch. 14), Abram must surely have felt this word was coming to pass. With his miraculous military victory, Abram could only have assumed this was the fulfillment of God’s promise. He was to be disappointed when God’s high priest called upon his covenant obligations to give everything back to Sodom and return to his wilderness sanctuary.
What was Abram’s response to this setback of his expectations? The next conversation Abram has with God deals head-on with an overwhelming fear that had driven Abram to the point of distraction.
“Fear not Abram I am your shield and your exceeding great reward…”
God promises to be Abram’s shield. In winning the campaign with 318 men against five armies, Abram made himself a target of opportunity. In returning to his wilderness sanctuary, he gains no walled cities as his defense. In modern language, he was a sitting duck. His second problem was a total preoccupation with the wealth that was in his grasp, but God required him to return all Bera, the wicked king of Sodom. God tells Abram not to be afraid. What was he afraid of? God assures him that He in Himself is his shield (to protect him) and his reward (literally salary – to provide for him.) Did Abram worry about money? We tend to see these people as mythical individuals beyond self-doubt, fear, or worry. But when God told Abram He was Abram’s exceeding great reward the word, there is a root word meaning “salt” which is where the word “salary” comes from.
So God is telling Abram that He was his protection and not the walls of Sodom. He was showing him that God-himself was his paycheck and not the contaminated wealth of the cities of the plain. Notice that God doesn’t say that he will act to protect Abram or provide for Abram. Instead He told him he (in His person) WAS his protection and preservation. This is the nature of the Melchizedek covenant of which you and I are a part of:
[Rev 1:6 KJV] 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him [be] glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
[Rev 5:10 KJV] 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
[1Pe 2:9 KJV] 9 But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:
The priesthood of the believer is little understood in Christianity. It is often quoted, but what is the nature, privileges, and prerogatives of our priesthood? We are not Levitical priests because we don’t qualify. Our priesthood comes from Jesus himself. What was his priesthood?
[Hbr 5:9-11 KJV] 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; 10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. 11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.
Our priesthood is the same as Jesus, the High Priest of our profession. As such, we are not just recipients of mere gifts – God gives us himself as our shield and our reward. What God is for us he is in his person – not in mere impersonal endowments. 1 Cor. 1:30,31 says God made Jesus to BE our righteousness, our sanctification, our redemption. Jesus said in John 14:6 that he IS our way, truth, and life – in His person.
So as with Abram so with us – God IS our protection, He IS our provision. If you have him, you have provision you have protection. If it is any other way, then the scriptures are not reliable, and we are deceived.
In v. 2-4, we see again Abram allowing his mind to contradict the revealed directives of God. He complains about being childless and has himself focused on what God wasn’t doing rather than what He was doing (…behold you have given me no heir…). Notice the patience of the Father who does not rebuke Abram but continues to speak to his inherent potential. In Christian culture, many times the slightest deviation brings swift rebuke, but the God who said “love never fails” never steps out of love for He cannot fail. Paul addresses this principle in his letter to the Romans.
[Rom 2:4 KJV] 4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
What Abram was learning and what we need to know are the lengths to which God will go to accomplish his promises. He never equivocates or approaches His promise from the standpoint of spiritual anemia. God has a ways and means committee, and He doesn’t accept limitation nor our vain attempts to limit how He gets things done.
Abram then chooses again to trust God and believe in the outcome God has promised. Where Abram gets in trouble is casting in his mind just HOW God is going to do what He promised. God limits His sovereignty where the outcome is concerned, but He retains His sovereignty where the PROCESS or MEANS he gets things done.
Abram needed to stop conjuring in His mind HOW God was going to fulfill His promise. Put your attention on the outcome and leave the details to the Father. To do otherwise is to spend the rest of your life as Abram dealing with an Ishmael situation.
In v. 5-6, God tells Abram that his seed after Isaac will be as the stars of the heavens. We discussed in the previous chapter about the dust seed and the sand seed, but Jesus was the star seed. According to 2 Peter 1:19, Jesus is the DAYSTAR arising in the hearts of the community of redeemed men. He is the firstborn – we are the many brethren. If Jesus is the day-star, then you and I are part of the constellation of His redemption.
Now for the fourth time (v. 7-16), God ratifies his covenant with Abram. Once in Gen. 12:1-3; then again in Gen. 13 after Lot departs; then again in Gen. 14 when Melchizedek meets Abram on the plain of Mamre. Now the pre-incarnate Christ Himself prepares to meet Abram among the torn animals of a prepared sacrifice.
When Abram laid the animals out, they were in the shape of a figure-eight, which is the Arabic mathematical symbol of infinity. The torn animals represented the deprecations the parties to the covenant would call down upon themselves if they broke the covenant being made. The two parties would lock arms and walk among the torn animal declaring “thus do God to me and more besides if I keep not the declarations of this covenant…”
Abram prepared the sacrifice but then was called upon to wait while the vultures came to turn the covenantal sacrifice into mere carrion. Abram drove the carrion-eaters away – preserving the sacrifice awaiting the hand of God to manifest as promised.
Abram found that preparing the sacrifice was to be followed up by waiting on God. Finally, God appears but instead of walking arm in arm with Abram the Father causes him to fall into a trance while God himself appears to pass between the pieces of the sacrifice in what is known as a unilateral covenant. This unique covenant was a ONE-SIDED COVENANT and represents what Jesus did for us on the cross. In the one-sided covenant, only one party passed between the pieces while the other witnessed. The active party is in effect saying “I’m covenanting with you and I will keep both sides of this covenant and all you must do is BELIEVE and ENTER IN.
The smoking furnace and burning lamp is known as a CHRISTOPHANY a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ. What you see in Gen. 15 is the outward manifestation of the GLORY of GOD that is IN YOU as a born again believer. He still walks that symbol of infinity within you – keeping his covenant to be all He promises and what we must do is believe.
In conclusion, (v. 18-21) God shows Abram then next 400 years or four generations of Abram’s descendants. Letting scripture interpret scripture you now know how long a biblical generation is: 100 years (a subject of great debate but is stated plainly here in the scriptures).
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