Summary: In Genesis 15 we see God making promises to Abraham and affirming those promises in an amazing way.
Genesis Series # 3 CHCC: January 28, 2007
God, the Covenant Maker
So far in our study of Genesis we’ve looked at the Creation and the Fall. Last week in Ronnie Morgan’s message we saw how God sent judgment on the world in the flood … and how God extended grace to Noah. Now, God takes the next step in establishing a relationship with the people He created. About 420 years after the time of Noah, God spoke to Abraham. God chose to form a Partnership with this man.
The first time God spoke to Abraham was in Genesis 12 when God told him to leave his home in UR. He was called Abram back then. God said he would show Abram a land that would belong to him and his descendants.
Today we’re going to look at Genesis 15 where God speaks to Abram again --- after a silence of 8 years. At this point, Abram must be wondering what’s going on. He left Ur, but now … 8 years later … he’s still camping out in a wilderness area. So far, he doesn’t own any real estate. And so far, he hasn’t had a son who would inherit his property … if he HAD it.
Then, at last, Abram heard from God again. God told him: “I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.” So now, Abraham knew that THIS place --- the property where he was camping --- was the Promised Land that would one day belong to his descendants.
Here’s how Genesis 15 starts: 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." Notice this verse starts with two words: After this … If you’re curious by nature, you’re probably wondering: After what? The answer to that question shows why the first thing God said to Abraham was, “Do not be afraid.” It turns out that Abram had good reason to be afraid!
1. Do not be afraid Genesis 15:1-7
You see, Abram had just returned from the battlefield. In fact, he had just won a great victory over 4 powerful Kings who had been terrorizing the area. Abram had some powerful enemies. He may have been wondering if those enemies would try to take revenge on him … some time when he least expected it. He was probably exhausted and he may have been wondering what he was supposed to do next. He may have felt a sense of let-down.
I don’t know why it is, but often we experience a big “let-down” right after a big success. You get a degree, or finish a project, or land a big promotion, or win a big award or make a big purchase --- you complete some major goal. And then you have that depressed feeling like “Is that all there is…?” That’s why young women are warned to expect some degree of “Post-natal depression” right after the birth of a baby. That’s why Retirees need to be ready for a sense of let-down after they are finally able to retire.
Abram may have been experiencing a kind of post-traumatic stress, like many Soldiers experience after a War. But for Abram, there was an underlying fear. God had protected him in the past, but would God continue to protect him in the future? That’s why the first thing God said was, "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield …
2. I am your shield Genesis 15:8-16
This was exactly what Abram needed to hear. He KNEW what a Shield was. Remember that Abram had just returned from battle. He probably owed his own life to the strength of his Shield.
The shield is what absorbs the shock of the spear and sword. It repels even flaming arrows. Abram understood this better than we do … but we use all kinds of Shields in our lives today:
• You probably have a Shield on your computer that protects your hard drive from computer viruses that could contaminate it. On my computer the symbol for the virus protection is in the shape of a Shield.
• Antibacterial soap and cleaning products act as a Shield against germs.
• Sunscreen is a Shield against harmful ultraviolet rays.
• The bulletproof vest worn by law enforcement is a type of Shield
Imagine yourself as a Soldier about to go into battle. You know you may face machine guns and rocket-fire and bombs. Considering the kind of weapons Soldiers face today, God might say, I am your armored HumVee and your Kevlar vest.
And you might ask the same thing Abraham asked in verse 8: O Sovereign LORD … ummm how can I KNOW for SURE that you’re going to come through on these promises…?”