Summary: Genesis verse-by-verse
One day a man holidaying in the Bahamas noticed a big crowd gathered at the end of the pier. As he got closer he observed someone preparing for a solo journey around the world in a tiny homemade boat. Without exception everybody was telling him all the things that could go wrong. Suddenly the man felt an IRRESISTABLE URGE to offer some encouragement. So as the little boat drifted toward the horizon he began jumping up and down shouting, “Go for it! You can make it! We’re proud of you!” Just a few needed words of encouragement for someone undertaking a monumental task.
In Genesis 15 Abram is in the midst of a monumental task. God has called him to be the father of a nation that would bless the entire world. And even though Abram is a man of faith, we find him needing some assurance from the Lord that everything was going to be alright. So we find Abram getting lots of assurance from the Lord that He would take care of him and would accomplish the promises that He had set forth for his life. The first thing we see is:
1. God assures Abram of His protection.
Now remember, Abram had just won a great military victory over the four eastern kings. Would they eventually come after him in retaliation? Not only that, he turned down the wicked king of Sodom’s offer of an alliance. Out of embarrassment would Bera and his allies come after Abram as well. Would his life now be more concerned with war than God?
[Read Genesis 15:1.]
So what we see here is the beginning of a conversation between the Lord and Abram which gives him some much needed encouragement. He tells Abram to not worry and to not fear, He would be His shield. He would be his protection. He would fight his battles for him.
But God didn’t stop with just assuring Abram of his protection. He also reminded him of His promise to make Abram into a great nation and a blessing to all. And it’s as if the Lord was trying to help Abram with his doubts that God could actually pull this off through him. I mean, it had been ten years and still Abram and his wife had no son through which this nation could be built. Unfortunately, this would be an issue that Abram and Sarah would continue to struggle with as we’ll see next week. But they sure didn’t doubt because of a lack of encouragement.
2. God assures Abram that he will have a son.
[Read Genesis 15:2-5.]
In the ancient world it was common for couples that couldn’t bear children to adopt one of your servant’s kids so that there would be a legal heir of your possessions. Abram already had someone in mind for this and might have even started making the arrangements. It seems that he’d given up on the idea of Sarah bearing children.
So God lets him know that he would have a son that the nation, a huge nation, would come through. This promise was dependant on God, not him, to perform. Some how and some way God would give them a child and the earth would be blessed.
Abram’s initial response was an affirmation of His faith in God.
[Read Genesis 15:6.]
The Hebrew word for believe here is ‘aman’ which means to build up, to support, to believe. Used here is gives the idea that Abram had confidence and trust in God. Not that this was his salvation experience – for we know Abram was already a man of faith. But that after hearing from God he vocalized his resolve that he believed in God. And through this, God gives us some assurance as well.
3. God assures us that salvation is by faith alone.
[Read Genesis 15:6.]
Abram was a man who lived before the Bible had been written, before the Law had been given, before the Temple had been built, before Jesus had come and died and rose again, and before there were any churches on the scene – yet he was just as much of a believer as you and I. Simply because the mode of salvation has never changed and never will. Redemption is attributed to those who believe in God.
God revealed Himself to Abram and Abram responded in belief. He believed that the God speaking to him was the creator God of the universe and the One, True God to be worshipped. So Abram is called righteous because he believed.
The New Testament teaches this truth over and over again that salvation is by simple faith in God. We can’t earn it, we can’t buy it and we sure don’t deserve it. It’s a gift of grace for those who choose to believe.