Summary: I preached this sermon at the weekly chapel service at Cincinnati Christian University. It is a simple sermon telling the story of the blood path covenant.
The Blood Path Covenant
If you have your Bibles open them up to Genesis chapter 15. If you don’t have your Bibles we have provided the verses on the screen so you can follow along. The passage I want to look at today with you, concerns a promise that God made to a guy in the Old Testament named Abraham. Genesis chapter 15 and let’s dive into the passage.
After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision:
"Do not be afraid, Abram.
I am your shield, [a]
your very great reward."
2 But Abram said, "O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit [c] my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?" 3 And Abram said, "You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir."
In Genesis 14 (the chapter before) Abraham had just won a battle over several national armies with just 318 men. One often forgotten characteristic of Abraham is that he was warrior. Abraham is the Ultimate Fighting Champion of this royal rumble of kings. All these kings scrapped it out in a king of the hill type of battle and Abraham emerged as the champion. Abraham not only won the battle but he got the spoils and is now extremely wealthy. If I had just won a battle like this I would have been pretty arrogant and confident and talking smack and showing off my stuff.
But we see here that Abraham is not all confident instead he is afraid. God tells Abraham, “do not be afraid.” What could Abraham really be afraid of?
What concerns Abraham is that he has no children, primarily a son. This was a big deal in those days. Having children was seen as the primary way that God blessed you in the Old Testament.
Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.
So if you didn’t have children (especially sons) then God must not be blessing you or rewarding you. So Abraham tells God, I don’t care so much that you gave me victory in battle over the kings or wealth. You haven’t given a son and therefore God you must not care about me. It is human nature to never be satisfied with what God gives us.
Abraham is afraid that he will have to leave his estate to his head servant Eliezer of Damascus. It was a custom that if a man did not have a son he could adopt a servant to be his heir. This was a last resort.
Verse 4 Then the word of the LORD came to him: "This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir." He took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be." Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
God addresses Abraham’s concern. He promises Abraham a son, a descendant. In fact, he promises not just a son but sons. And he gives him an illustration of how many children he will have. He takes him outside and has him look into the heavens and says count the stars. That’s how many sons you are going have Abraham. How many sons is that?
Discussing the number of stars in the Milky Way galaxy alone, astronomer William Keel claims that there are "about as many stars as the number of hamburgers sold by McDonald’s." Then Keel elaborates. The usual way to determine the number of stars in the universe is to consider how many stars there are in the Milky Way, and then to multiply that number by our best guesstimate at the number of galaxies in the universe. He suggests there are probably about 400 billion stars in the Milky Way, although "a 50% error either way is quite plausible." As for the number of galaxies in the universe, well that’s a whole separate mathematical puzzle.
NASA alleges there are zillions of uncountable stars.
Jeremiah 33:22 said that God will “make the descendants of David as countless as the stars of the sky.”
I think Abraham got the point. Because verse 6 says, Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
But God isn’t done with his promises to Abraham.
Verses 7-9 He also said to him, "I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it." 8 But Abram said, "O Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?" 9 So the LORD said to him, "Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon."