Summary: Three promises made to Abram are as much ours today as they were for that time in history. We have to claim these promises and believe God.
Iliff and Saltillo UM Church
June 26, 2005
"God’s Promises to Abram"
INTRODUCTION: Today’s scripture takes place after Abram won a great victory. He defeated the kings and was fearful that these kings would later come back and take revenge on him. After these things occured the Word of the Lord came to Abram to give him encouragement. Although Abram had restored the goods taken in the battle to the owners, he was still uncertain as to what would happen in the future. Chapter 15 opens by saying, "After this, the Word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision." This was a divine communication with Abram. It came in a vision and the Lord told him three things. These three things were important promises to him as he continued on toward the future. These promises also apply to us today as believers and we need to take them to heart as we continue our journey of faith. Let’s see what we can learn from this scripture.
1. Do Not Be Afraid: God saw Abram’s fears after defeating the king. He saw the anxieties that came to him even after a great victory. All was well, but often after an achievement we have a let down feeling and in his case he had a fewarful feeling. What if they would happen to take revenge on him when he least expected it. There may have been all kinds of thoughts running through his mind at this time. He may have felt depressed as well as afraid. He may have wondered what to do next. How do we react many times about situations that come up in our lives--even achievements and successes bring about a variety of new fears and anxieties. You might move to a new location and wonder if you will make new friends. Might start a college degree and wonder if you will be able to complete it and get the grades you need. You might be fearful about your health, your finances, or any number of things. How does fear get to you? It may come upon you when you are not quite prepared for it, even after a great victory or mountain top experience.
God spoke to Abram first of all by saying, "Don’t be afraid." Throughout scripture people were told this, and I believe this same promise applies to us today. Too often we forget and we get ourselves worked up almost in a state of panic.
Don’t be afraid. Fear not--are words we all need to hear from time to time as we face difficult situations in our life. Some of you may be fearful today or this week. Allow God to calm your fears as He did Abram’s. "Don’t be afraid," He says.
In Psalm 34:4 David said, "I sought the Lord and he answered me and he delivered me from all my fears."
Again David in Psalm 56:3 said, "When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God whose word I praise in God I trust: I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?"
Today we serve the same God who Abram served, and we must also claim this promise that God will calm our fears and deliver us from them. As Him to CALM your fears.
2. I Am Your Shield: Early in His dealings with Abram the Lord also said, "I AM your shield." Faith had brought Abram into the realm of danger. The devil opposed him, working through enemies and circumstances. Yet Abram was told not to be afraid because the LORD was his "shield." Shields were for the day of the battle and the time of danger. Whether fighting at a distance or in hand=to-hand combat, the warrior must have the protection of his shield. The shield is what absorbs the shock of the spear and sword. It repels the flaming arrows and brings safety to the one being attacked. Abram understood this language better than we do today, but we are familiar with shields in some ways in our life today also. What about a virus shield for on your computer. On my computer the symbol for the virus protection is the shape of a shield and it detects viruses that might contaminate and destroy your hard drive. What about a bullet proof vest for law enforcement people? That would be like a shield. Or what about antibacterial soap and cleaning products as protection against deadly germs. What about sunscreen to protect against harmful ultraviolet rays.
God has provided a personal shield for us. Ephesians 6:16 says to "take up the shield of faith," but in this scripture in Genesis He was not referring to the shield of faith. It was the LORD HIMSELF who declared, "I AM your shield." Frequent references are made about the LORD in this capacity.