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Current series in Galatians:


Monday, July 29, 2019

2019.07.29 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 15:7-21

Questions for Littles: Whom did the Word of Yahweh say that He was in Genesis 15:7? What did He say that He had done? What did He promise that He would do? What does Abram ask in Genesis 15:8? What does the Word tell Abram to bring Him in Genesis 15:9? What does He tell him to do to them in Genesis 15:10? What three things fall upon Abram in Genesis 15:12? What bad news does God give Abram in Genesis 15:13? What good news in Genesis 15:14? What good news in Genesis 15:15? What reason does Genesis 15:16 give for why this is going to take so long? What pass between the animal pieces in Genesis 15:17? What does Genesis 15:18 say was happening? What was God binding Himself to do in Genesis 15:18-21?    
The passage that we have today is a marvelous display of the mercy and patience of God.

When Abram asks, “how shall I know” in Genesis 15:8, we want to scream into the text, “Because God just told you! Don’t you realize that the living God is speaking to you?!” Already, before any of God’s response to His dear one’s weak faith, great mercy is on display. God speaks to Abram! But we are not in a position to criticize, are we? Don’t we have the breathed-out words of God on the pages of the Bible? And do we marvel at and cherish at God’s having spoken and continuing to speak to us?

God’s response is not to admonish but to assist. He gives Abram instruction for an oath ceremony—not because the Word of God itself is made more sure, but because He is going to present it in a way that is more sure to Abram’s weak faith. The Lord does this throughout Scripture, and He does it for us today with the sacraments. God is being patient with Abram.

God also explains more to Abram. He owes Abram no more details. The secret things belong to our God. But, just as Jesus said that He treats us as friends by bringing us into what He is doing (John 15:15), so also God treats Abram as a friend (here, and especially in Genesis 18:17-19). We too are given not merely commands but much to support us as God opens His mind to us and tells us what He is doing.

What we see is that God is assuring Abram. This is important, because Scripture says that whatever does not proceed from faith is sin (Romans 8:7-10Romans 14:23; Hebrews 11:6). So, God takes His weakly believing servant and gives his faith a booster shot. The Lord wants us to be sure, and tells us to pursue that assurance too (2 Peter 1:10). God assures His people.

But perhaps the most amazing thing in this passage is how it is that God assures Abram. In this oath ceremony, the dead animals on either side form a walkway of blood between them, calling down the curse of death upon whomever breaks the promise. But God does not have Abram walk between the pieces. He manifests Himself in two different ways to walk between the pieces! It will be Himself that God kills (which He will have to become a man to do) in order to keep His promise to Abram. The difference between Abram and the Amorites is not that the Amorites are sinners, and Abram is not. The difference is that Abram has the death of Christ!
How has God been demonstrating patience with you? Do you have “the Christ difference”?
Suggested Songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH459 “My Hope Is Built”

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