Genesis 15


‘After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: ‘Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.’ But Abram said, ‘Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?’ And Abram said, ‘You have given me no children; so, a servant in my household will be my heir.’ Then the word of the LORD came to him: ‘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.’ Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.’ Genesis 15:1-6

The Word of God came to Abram in the form of a vision. He had reasoned to be afraid because of the war he had won and so he would worry about people taking revenge. Abram also seems to be concerned about his lack of children in order to carry out the promises of Genesis 12:1 / Genesis 13:14-17. I think it’s important to point out that even though Abram doubted, it was sincere doubt.

God is going to make up for what he had given to the Lord and the reward will be God is going to be with him, his shield. In other words, God promised to protect him, 1 Corinthians 10:13. Under the Hurrian law of the time, if a couple had no children to carry on their heritage or inherit their possessions, they could adopt a servant to be the heir of all that they had and so it’s possible that Abram had adopted Eliezer who was a good man and Abram’s right-hand man, Hebrews 6:11-12.

By asking Abram to count the stars, He was reassuring Abram that Eliezer wasn’t the man or a part of God’s plan, but Abram himself would have many children, as numerous as the stars. Abram believed God and took Him at His word, even though it would be 15 years before he got his child.

Because of Abram’s response, he was credited as righteousness. This is the first time the word ‘believe’ is used, Romans 4:1-3 and it’s important to point out that he was made right before God because of his faith and because of his obedient walk, He believed God not believed IN God, James 2:19.

This is also the first time the word ‘righteousness’ is used, note that he was credited before he was circumcised, Romans 4:9-10. Today all Christians are sons of Abram by faith, Romans 4:19-24.

‘He also said to him, ‘I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.’ But Abram said, ‘Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?’ So, the LORD said to him, ‘Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.’ Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half. Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.’ Genesis 15:7-11

Although Abram had some sincere doubts, God goes ahead and makes a covenant with him. Covenants were common between individuals and nations at the time of Abram. In the making of a covenant, the promises of the covenant are first declared, and then sacrifices are made to seal the agreement, Jeremiah 34:18-20. Here the Lord directs Abram to prepare to seal the covenant God is about to make.

‘As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. Then the LORD said to him, ‘Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterwards they will come out with great possessions. You, however, will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age. In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.’ Genesis 15:12-16

Abram is going to have to be patient as God reminds him that the fulfilment of the land promise isn’t going to happen immediately. There are certain things which must happen first, the first of which is his descendants would first go into Egypt and become slaves to the Egyptians. They were going to have to remain there as slaves for 400 years.

Notice the phrase, ‘for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.’ God is patient with people and nations, but the Amorites were going to reach the point of no return where they will be judged by God. This was going to be fulfilled when Joshua takes the Promised Land for God, Deuteronomy 9:4-5.

There’s no doubt the sin of these people was terrible, hence why God wanted them destroyed so that they wouldn’t influence the children of God when they entered the land.

‘When the sun had set, and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, ‘To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates—the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.’ Genesis 15:17-21

Here we see the sacrificial covenant being made, the smoking pot and burning torch signify God’s presence, Exodus 13:21-22 / Exodus 19:18 / 1 Kings 8:10-12 / Exodus 3:4.

Notice that Abram plays no part in this covenant, God went through this covenant Himself, in other words, it’s based on who God is not because of Abram and anything he has done. The covenant included the promise of the land, where the list of nations mentioned was living at this time.

We must remember that God was bringing Abram’s descendants into the Promised Land, so He could establish them as a nation and eventually bring the Messiah, Genesis 3:15, who would introduce a new covenant, Jeremiah 34:18-20.

Go To Genesis 16



"Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."