This article is a part of the Biblical Hope series. To start this study from the beginning, click here: Biblical Hope.
And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness. (Genesis 15:6 ESV)
But he said, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” (Genesis 15:8 ESV)
Principle 19: Righteousness is based upon our belief in the nature of God and His promises.
It is given to us so that we would act accordingly, and in so doing, witness the source of how human behavior should look (Genesis 18:19).
And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, (1 Corinthians 1:30 ESV)
So, how does Abram learn to trust God at His word? God puts him to sleep. But first, Abram learns the necessity of spiritual warfare.
Principle 20: In the midst of darkness, righteousness is a critical part of the Believer’s armor in the combat against wickedness (Ephesians 6:14)
- Birds of sacrifice
- Birds of prey
A symbol of the church that would one day emerge. Jesus uses the parable of the mustard seed to illustrate.
Contrast: Church and Israel
- Israel: outward circumcision, physical recognition
- Church: inward circumcision, known by their love for one another
- Israel is made up of physical descendancy; Church is made up of decisive followers.
However, the opportunity for deception is widened because of lack of proximity. The New Testament is filled with warnings of false teachers and intruders masquerading as followers.
It is the enemy’s tactic to interfere with the offering. Leaders need to be cognizant of that as watchman.
As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him. (Genesis 15:12)
The backdrop for the covenant is against the reality of spiritual opposition. The covenant is solely one-sided from this point on. Unlike covenants common in that day, God is the sole party to walk through the middle of the sacrifice, symbolic that “this oath is on Him alone.” (Genesis 15:17)
Then the LORD said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. (Genesis 15:13)
Why does this information have to be inserted within the covenant.
One of many possible answers: Suffering is going to be part of the identity of the offspring of Abram.
Principle 21: A believer is trained through hardship. It is inescapable because God wants us to identify with His heart with the people around us.
Why the information about the Amorites?
- It is prophetic. God will keep His word.
- God will deal with identifiable nations who surround Abram’s offspring.
- He will use the Jews as a benchmark or plumb line for the sake of justice in the way they treat the Jews when they come out of slavery. (First illustration of God’s “kind-for-kind” foreign policy)
Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ (Matthew 25:37-40 ESV)
Next article: The Formation of Israel
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