Summary: Abraham, Pt. 3
THE NATIONS IN UPROAR (GENESIS 15:1-21)
There is a story a number of years ago when John Kennedy was president of the United States, and Nikita Khrushchev was Premier of the Soviet Union, and Golda Meier was Premier of Israel. The three of them got together for a peace conference and decided to pray about the concerns on their heart.
John Kennedy asked God: “Will there be peace in America between the blacks and the whites?” God said, “Not in your lifetime, not in your lifetime.”
Nikita Khrushchev asked God: “Would there ever be peace between the United States and Russia?” God said: “Not in your lifetime, not in your lifetime.”
Golda Meier asked God: “Will there be peace between the Arab and the Jews?” God said, “Not in my lifetime, not in my lifetime.” (Eldon Reich, Sermoncentral.com)
A lot has changed since 9/11. Some say the last days are here, others suggest that the world is at the brink of war, and still some others deduce that God is judging America for her economic system, moral bankruptcy, spiritual decline, violence on fellow Americans and arrogance in the world.
The reason for 9/11 right from the horse’s mouth or Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian-born doctor of the Al-Qaeda terrorist network, was stated as such: “America is the head of criminals by creating this Israel, this continuous crime for 50 years. The Muslim nation shall not accept this crime.” (New York Times, “Bin Laden Taunts U.S. and Praises Hijackers” 10/8/01).
In fact, Iran’s President Ahmadinejad unapologetically called for Israel to be “wiped off the map.”
To understand current events and things to come, one has no need to look anywhere but to the past, specifically at God’s promise to Abram in Genesis 15. Genesis 15 is pivotal to the understanding of the nature, scope and gravity of God’s promise to Abraham and, specifically, his descendants, the Jewish people and nation. When Abram and Sarai were old, childless and past the age of childbearing, God appeared to him again with the promise of a son, an heir and countless generations of children.
What are the terms of God’s promise to Abraham? Why is He faithful and just even when His chosen people are fickle, fearful and faithless?
God’s Promise to Abraham is Professed
15:1 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.” 2 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?” 3 And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” 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.” 5 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.” 6 Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness. (Gen 15:1-6)
When my wife’s nephew Joshua was ten years old, he wrote, signed and dated this declaration to his mother: “I promise that I only play 25 minutes, the rest of the 5 minutes are use for turning off the computer or finishing the game. Also, when I promised that if I finish playing or doing things that I enjoy, I have to do my duty such as home work, house work, etc. I have to keep my promises. Promises are to be kept in order for my parents to trust me.” To hold him responsible, Joshua’s mother cosigned her name a line below his, and the statement was taped to the computer desk as a reminder.
Unfortunately, the promise did not work, so the youngster signed another one the following year, sticking the note to the refrigerator which says: “NO (double underline) T.V. or computer game till ALL (underline) homework and piano practice are done.” On the bottom of the new statement were these words: “Things need to do everyday (responsibilities): piano, homework, Chinese 15 minutes (optional - if there is time).”
Although Joshua forgot the second one in a hurry, his father added that all was not lost. He explained, “He got the principle of it.”
Man’s promises are corny, flaky and shaky, but God’s promises are true and trustworthy. Man may lie to you - not God. He is not a man that he should lie (Num 23:19). Hebrews 6:18 says it is impossible for God to lie. Abram was ready for his servant Eliezer (v 2) to be his heir and to benefit from his vast fortune, but God told Abram that a son coming from his body or belly will be the heir. Eliezer’s ineligibility, exclusion and disqualification couldn’t be any clearer.