Skip to main content

Genesis 15 Revisited

Sunday Morning’s sermon was from Genesis 15. You can find outline and audio link here for that.

Today, let’s look back at Genesis 15. The Abram/Abraham narratives of Genesis carry three repetitions of the covenant promise. It’s stated in 12, restated in 15, and restated again in 17.

The purpose of stating the covenant in 12 is obvious: without the introduction of the covenant, why tell Abraham’s story?

Genesis 17 restates the covenant in light of Abram and Sarai’s attempt to shortcut the plan of God in Genesis 16. It’s a reminder.

Where does Genesis 15 come from?

I think the first verse is a good clue. Genesis 15:1 states that “After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying…”

“These things” refers to the battle with King Chedarlaomer (if I write an Old Testament book, he’ll be King Cheesy) and Abram’s subsequent defeat of that king. It also refers to the snub Abram gives the king of Sodom.

So, at the outset of Genesis 15, Abram has alienated the earthly kings around him. The higher king (King Cheesy) and the lower ones around Sodom. He’s got no earthly friends left outside of his household. Lot’s basically abandoned him, Abram had left Ur and Haran, and the Egyptians don’t want him back.

What does God do at this point?

He sends Abram the Word of the Lord. He doesn’t give him a new promise. He doesn’t show him signs and wonders. He reminds Abram of what has already been promised. Then, the Lord develops some visual reminders for Abram.

I think that’s important. If I were camping out in Genesis on Sundays, this would have likely gotten its own complete sermon about what we need when we’re scared.

What we need:

Isn’t more material possessions or wealth: Abram did not receive from God one square foot of ground in Canaan to reassure him. He didn’t have Melchizedek show up and return a portion of the tithe.

Isn’t an acceleration of the plan: whether by our hand or for God to change it for us. God is at work in the world around us and His providence holds together things on this earth. We need not jump ahead.

Isn’t a trip back to the beginning. While this is true if working for Vizzini, that when the job goes wrong, you go back to the beginning, it’s not true of the walk of faith. We do, sometimes, need comfort that comes from home and familiarity. But it’s not the solution: we don’t retreat from where God has placed us. When I have tired days as a pastor, husband, father, the solution is not to move back in with Mom and Dad and go back to high school.

What we need:

Is a reminder of the prior faithfulness: Genesis 15:7, God reminds Abram of how Abram got this far. A reminder in our lives of God’s prior faithfulness is immeasurably valuable.

Sometimes, we can’t see that, though, so God’s faithfulness is commended to our minds by:

1. Others who saw it in our lives. My wife is great for this in my life. There are others, but she’s pretty constant at it.

2. Stories of God’s faithfulness to others. Every third book you read should be a biography of a follower of Christ. Really. Comment if you need a list to get you started.

Is a reminder of God’s present presence: This is the God “I am.” Whether in the NT or the OT, God is eternally in the present. Many of us remember what God has done and hope for heaven, what He will do---

But we forget He’s here, right now. Remember “lo, I am with you always”? (Matthew 28:19-20). God reminds Abram that “I am a shield to you” in verse 1. God is with Abram, even if no man is.

Is a reminder our futures are in God’s designs: Your reward shall be….You will… and so forth. Abram is pointed forward. To walk forward in obedience and faith.

Where does all this come together for us?

In your Bible. In the Word of God, revealed through inspired writing, and bound conveniently together for you to read. God’s past actions? All the way to darkness and void and forward to the Word going forth, though Paul is chained---and then some: Revelation is the history of the end of the world. It’s just already written.

In the Word of God: God’s present presence: Christ in you, the hope of glory (it’s about Him being glorified). Immanuel, God with us. I am….the way, truth, life; the resurrection; the bread of life; the living water. You get the point: throughout Scripture we see people that understood the presence of God and we are reminded by His own words that He is present.

In the Word of God: God’s designs for your future: to be used by Him to reach the nations (Acts 1:8), to be a vessel for His glory. To be transformed by the renewing of your minds. To serve Him in loving repentance.

It’s all right there.

Just as His Word returned to strengthen Abram, so His Word is there for us.

And fortunately, we don’t need visions or dreams to know His Word. If you’ve got the Internet, you’ve got it. You’ve probably got one or two kicking around the house.

So read it. And pray for those without it, some by ignorance of their need and others by where they live and the language they speak. Do something about those: pray, live, give, and go. Let your life point people to the Word.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Curiosity and the Faithlife Study Bible

Good morning! Today I want to take a look at the NIV Faithlife Study Bible. Rather than spend the whole post on this particular Study Bible, I’m going to hit a couple of highlights and then draw you through a few questions that I think this format helps with.



First, the basics of the NIV Faithlife Study Bible (NIVFSB, please): the translation is the 2011 New International Version from Biblica. I’m not the biggest fan of that translation, but that’s for another day. It is a translation rather than a paraphrase, which is important for studying the Bible. Next, the NIVFSB is printed in color. Why does that matter? This version developed with Logos Bible Software’s technology and much of the “study” matter is transitioning from screen to typeface. The graphics, maps, timelines, and more work best with color. Finally, you’ve got the typical “below-the-line” running notes on the text. Most of these are explanations of context or highlights of parallels, drawing out the facts that we miss by …

Foolishness: 1 Corinthians 1

In Summary: 1 Corinthians opens with the standard greeting of a letter from the Apostle Paul. He tells who he is with (Sosthenes) and who he is writing to. In this case, that is the “church of God that is in Corinth.” He further specifies that this church is made up of those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be saints. 
He then expresses the blessing/greeting of “grace and peace” from God. From there, Paul reflects on his initial involvement with the Corinthian people and the beginning of the church. After that, though, there are problems to deal with and Paul is not hesitant to address them. He begins by addressing the division within the church. Apparently, the church had split into factions, some of which were drawn to various personalities who had led the church in times past. There is no firm evidence, or even a suggestion, that Paul, Cephas, Apollos, or anyone else had asked for a faction in their name. Further, the “I follow Christ” faction may not have been any le…