Abram’s Assurance of God's Covenant  (Genesis 15)
 

Gen 15:1  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. 

Gen 15:2  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? 

Gen 15:3  And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. 

Gen 15:4  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. 

Gen 15:5  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. 

Gen 15:6  And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. 

Gen 15:7  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. 

Gen 15:8  And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? 

Gen 15:9  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. 

Gen 15:10  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. 

Gen 15:11  And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away. 

Gen 15:12  And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. 

Gen 15:13  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; 

Gen 15:14  And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. 

Gen 15:15  And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be
buried in a good old age. 

Gen 15:16  But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. 

Gen 15:17  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. 

Gen 15:18  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: 

Gen 15:19  The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, 

Gen 15:20  And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, 

Gen 15:21  And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites. 

 

The context: Following the battle with Chedorlaomer king of Elam, Abram expresses fear and doubt.

Gen 15:1  After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram:
Gen 15:8  And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? 

 

Abraham had just come from a battle, it was possible there could be consequences, repercussions after the battle. Abraham needed some reassurance.
However, God knows what we need before we even ask Him.
Abraham needed God’s protection. God said, 
“I am thy shield”.
Not only that because you have been faithful and you kept your oath not to take reward, “and thy exceeding great reward”. 

God also knew Abraham’s fears. “Fear not, Abram”:

Abraham is straight with God. He knew God’s promises but as yet there had been no sign of the promised seed.
V3 Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. Meaning Eliezer of Damascus.
Without an heir, Eliezer would inherit what was Abraham’s.

You can hear Abraham’s doubt in his question. It was as though he was saying, Lord, I don’t understand what’s going on.
I believe you Lord but I will be honest, I can’t see how You are going to do it.
Abraham wasn’t doubting God’s promise but his human nature was desirous of the promise and up to now, nothing had happened.

We need to be honest with God, we can’t hide our fears, our doubts and our feelings from God.
God sees into our hearts, He knows our thoughts and our longings.
The scriptures reveal the omniscience of God, the all knowing God.


1 Kings 8:39 then hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive and act and render to each according to all his ways, whose heart You know, for You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men,
Psalm 38:9 Lord, all my desire is before You; And my sighing is not hidden from You.
Psalm 44:21Would not God find this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart.
Matthew 9:4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, "Why are you thinking evil in your hearts?
Romans 8:27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.


Have you ever prayed for the salvation of someone and even why you are praying you can’t for the life of you, understand how God can save such a character.
When you know what they are like, maybe, what things they are or have been involved with, how far away from God they seem. How in the world  is God going to save them?

There are quite a lot of Christians that must have doubted God when they prayed for me, I must admit when I first heard the Gospel message, properly, even I doubted that God could save me and change my life but God did save me and God did transform my life. He did what I and many others, especially the people that knew me, the people I worked with, thought He couldn’t.
I remember people saying, “you will never change, it is only a phase”.
Yet here I am 47 years later, still going on with the Lord.

The Apostle Paul was one like that too, a persecutor of the Christians, having them beaten, arrested, thrown into prison and even holding the coats of those who stoned Stephen to death. Yet God saved him. Even after Paul’s conversion, the Christians were very afraid and wary of him, knowing what they did about him.


Acts 9:26 And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple.

I remember being persecuted for ten years by a man that used to be my friend. I agonised over this situation, I asked the church to pray for me. I was in a situation where I could not get away from him because we worked together. Life was unbearable and it was very difficult to go to work each day to the constant persecution. It seemed that no one could or would help. I reported the situation to the management but all they did was separate us.
I could not see how this situation could be resolved.
Then, one day we got word that the whole factory was being relocated to another town and this man refused to go.
I believe to this day that God moved a factory in answer to prayer. I was set free from the persecution. I never had to deal with or see the man again.
Nothing is impossible with God.

 

Gen 15:4  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. 
 

God told Abraham that he would have an heir, born of his own flesh.
Sometimes we need to be reminded by God of what He has promised. We are truly blessed because we have the word of God, filled with precious promises and sometimes when we are doubting God’s promises, or feeling dejected, God will bring to our remembrance those promises that we have read in His word.

God here was reminding Abraham of the promises He had made in
Genesis 12:2.
Then God, as we read in the next verse emphasises the promise.

Gen 15:5  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. 
 

God here, gave Abraham a glimpse into the future, Abraham knew that God was giving him an insight into the many nations that would come from him.

Abrahams response is a fundamental truth of scripture,
“And he believed in the LORD”:

Abram put his trust in God, specifically in God's promise to him, that he would have an heir from his own loins and through his wife Sarah and that from his seed would come the Saviour of the world.
God credited this belief to Abram's account as righteousness.

This was not a righteousness credited to him for anything he had done but simply because he trusted God.
Since none of us can be good enough to accomplish perfect
righteousness, we must be clothed in God’s righteousness through Christ. This is what Abram did: he believed in the LORD and it was counted unto him as righteousness.
Jesus said this:
John 8:56-59 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.

Abraham looked for the future Messiah and believed in Him. Abraham was saved by grace through faith in just the same way as we are.
Abraham looked forward to the fulfilment of his salvation, where we look back to Calvary.

This is a clear expression of salvation by grace through faith.


Eph 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 

Eph 2:9  Not of works, lest any man should boast. 

Romans 4:1-3 What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness."

However, we still find that doubts crouches at the door.
Abraham believed God and he was justified. He knew he believed and God spoke to him saying:

 

Gen 15:7  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. 

When we are saved, we are convicted of our sin, we are convinced by the work of the Holy Spirit that Jesus is the Christ. We may have responded to an altar call or we prayed quietly on our own, or someone may have led us to Christ.
We may have received some counsel and we accept that we are saved, born again.
Yet some time later we begin to have doubts. This is not unique. The devil is a wily goat, he loves to raise doubts and maybe we needed assurance from God.
The devil even tried to get Jesus to doubt His calling. When the devil came to Jesus in the wilderness but of course Jesus had no doubts. He said: 


Mat 4:3  And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread

Matt 4:6 If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: 
 

Well Abraham did have his doubts and here it shows itself again.

Gen 15:8  And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? 

Abraham had no deed of ownership to the land of Canaan, all he had was a promise from God that the land would be his and his descendants.

At this, God prepared to make a covenant with Abraham.
The way that a covenant was made in those days was by laying carcases of animals on the ground and cutting them in two. The carcases would be laid down with a pathway down the middle and both parties would walk down the middle together and saying what the terms of the contract would be.


Gen 15:18  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: 
 

The word for “made” here is (Hebrew - kârath) meaning to cut. (that is, make an alliance or bargain, originally by cutting flesh and passing between the pieces):
Literally, God cut a covenant with Abraham.

 

We see an example of this kind of covenant in Jeremiah 34.

Jer 34:18  And I will give the men that have transgressed my covenant, which have not performed the words of the covenant which they had made before me, when they cut the calf in twain, and passed between the parts thereof, 

Jer 34:19  The princes of Judah, and the princes of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, and the priests, and all the people of the land, which passed between the parts of the calf; 

Jer 34:20  I will even give them into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of them that seek their life: and their dead bodies shall be for meat unto the fowls of the heaven, and to the beasts of the earth. 

This was serious business, when two people make this kind of covenant, they are expected to keep it. The covenant as it were, was sealed with blood. What they were saying was, if I break this covenant, let this same bloodshed be poured out on my animals and me!

God was making it quite clear to Abraham the seriousness of His promise.

Gen 15:9  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. 

Gen 15:10  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. 

Gen 15:11  And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away. 


Next, we see an interesting thing. Abraham falls into a deep sleep.

Gen 15:12  And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. 

Gen 15:13  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; 

Gen 15:14  And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. 

Gen 15:15  And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be
buried in a good old age. 

Gen 15:16  But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. 

God reveals to Abraham what would happen to his descendants at some future time.

This was a revelation of the children of Israel in captivity in Egypt. Exodus 1: 1 -14.

However, God also revealed that after this captivity, the Israelites would return to the land.

This is what you might call bitter sweet news. God was assuring Abraham of the surety of His promise. This will come to pass and not only that but Abraham would grow old and live to a good age.

The next part of the text shows that the covenant was an unconditional covenant. We see that whilst Abraham was in this drowsy state, God alone passed through the severed carcasses. God represents Himself by two emblems: a smoking oven and a burning torch.

In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram,

Abraham did not walk through the severed parts.
It was a one sided covenant, made by God with Abraham. God signed the covenant for both of them, as it were.


Gen 15:17  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. 

Gen 15:18  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: 


This covenant did not depend on anything that Abraham would do but the covenant was based on who God is. This covenant is an UNCONDITIONAL COVENANT.
This is a covenant that will never be removed from the nation of Israel. This covenant is a permanent and everlasting covenant.


Gen 13:15  For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. 
 

The word “forever” here is Hebrew (Ad Olam) the meaning being, ~Eternally – Always – Continual – Perpetual.
God was confirming His oath to Abraham. This was the assurance that Abraham was asking for.


Romans 11:29 KJV  For the gifts and calling of  God are without repentance.
Rom 11:29 Berean Study Bible  For God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable. 
2 Corinthians 1:20 (NKJV) For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.


                                       ......................................................................

For more information on this unconditional covenant, Read also:

Blog 127 God’s Covenant with Abraham


https://jeffreyunsworth.wixsite.com/teleiosbibleblogs/127-god-s-covenant-with-abraham

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