Summary: God had promised a son, but Abraham had waited so long, he was bewildered, disappointed, and working on a "plan B." The sermon had a powerful impact on people struggling with their faith.
OPEN: A representative of the gas company phoned the owner of an expensive new home to make an appointment for the service man to come in and light the pilot lights and adjust the furnace.
The owner said that was OK, but he wanted to make sure he was there, because if he wasn’t the service man would never get the furnace going.
The caller insisted that his people were well trained and would have no trouble.
"You don’t understand," the owner said, "When your man tries to adjust the furnace he’ll go out of his mind. The thermostat in the entry hall is a dummy. It’s there for my wife to play with. Only I know where the real one is hidden.”
There have been times in my life when I felt that somebody had hidden the thermostat from me.
Times when I was faced with some type of crisis in my life
Times when ALL the plans I’d made turned to dust in my hands
And no matter what I did to try to resolve the problem – nothing worked.
Everywhere I turned… I was faced with a brick wall, and I found myself powerless – and I hate being powerless.
Have you ever felt like that? (A number of people raised their hands) Good… I don’t feel so bad now.
I think everybody encounters problems like that, at one time or another, in their lives. But, what’s really frustrating – is when it happens to us. Especially when we’re Christians.
I mean… we have God on our side
… we have God working beside us
… we just know that everything will work out OK in the end
In fact, we have a promise to that effect:
Romans 8:28 “… we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”
We have this PROMISE… but, at some point in our lives, we get to feeling that “all things AREN’T working together for good.” And that can be really frustrating.
I. That’s pretty much how Abraham was feeling here in Genesis 15
Now, I want to give you a little bit of background on what has just happening in Abraham’s life. It seem there had been a war. Four Kings from the north had swept down upon the cities of the South, and (having defeated their enemy) they were returning home with prisoners and other spoils of war. Amongst those prisoners was Abraham’s nephew Lot along with his possessions.
Once Abraham heard of this, he gathered his men (a total force of 317 men) & pursued the army from the north. He attacked them by night and routed them, rescuing his nephew along with all the other captives and their possessions.
On the way home, Abraham stopped at a town we now call Jerusalem and spent time with a priest of God called Melchizedek and gave him a 10th of all the spoils.
It’s almost like God is telling Abraham: all things work together for good to you Abraham because you love Me, and you’re called according to My purpose.”
Now (get this) Abraham has just returned from a battle he had no business winning. And Abraham KNOWS that he had no business defeating this army from the north. The only reason he won was because God had helped him. That’s why he shared a 10th of the spoils with God. He was thanking God for helping win the victory.
But now… once the victory has been won
… once he has shown his gratitude to God at Jerusalem
… and now that God has visited him in a vision to confirm His love for Abraham
Notice what Abraham says in Genesis 15:2-3
“But Abram said, "O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?" And Abram said, "You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir."
Now does that sound like a complaint to you?
God’s telling Abraham… “all things are going to work together for good to you Abraham cause I’m your shield and your very great reward”
And Abraham comes back sounding a little irritated.
You see, God had made a promise to Abraham about 10 to 15 years before…
We’re told “The LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To YOUR OFFSPRING I will give this land." Genesis 12:7
That’s been a while back.
Abraham’s getting older
His wife’s not a spring chicken anymore