Summary: The Word brought to Abram comfort, protection, and blessing, and it can do the same for us.
The Word, The Assurance, The Promise
Every New Year many people desire to make a promise with themselves for self-improvement. They promise such things as quitting smoking, eating less or more healthy, exercising more, etc. And, usually these New Year’s resolutions end up being pushed to the side for just one more day, or just one more week, or “just this once, then I’ll change.”
Our scripture verses today, Genesis 15, has some very important lessons for us as we prepare to go into the New Year. It tells us how we should depend on God. It also tells us how He is there for us, ready to comfort us, to protect us, and to bless us. It also tells of re-assurance and His promise to keep us as we go through life’s struggles.
Chapter 15, when we look at it in general, is filled with God’s revelation for Abram’s life. An invitation for this revelation is found in Genesis 14. There we read that Abram not only rescued his nephew Lot, but also, more importantly, gave a tithe to Melchizedek. God’s revelation does not come to Abram because of the tithe. God doesn’t need the money. Rather, God’s revelation in Genesis 15 comes to Abram because he was faithful in his tithing.
The Bible tells us that we who are faithful in a few things will be put in charge of many things and have the opportunity to share in God’s happiness (Mt. 25:21).
God desires to bless each and every member of IBC. We have that in three points that I’m going to share: His Word, His Assurance, and His Promise.
I. The Word (v.1)
Abram returned to his homeland and chapter 15 of Genesis starts with “After this..” After he rescued Lot and gave his tithe to Melchizedek something happens. The Word comes to Abram.
The Bible (New Testament) tells us exactly what and who this is. It tells us “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” (John 1:14)
Here the Word comes to Abram right after his faithful tithing. Abram followed God out of the Ur of the Chaldeans and relied on God to deliver his enemies into his hands. He built altars at every stop along the way, and worshipped God every step along the way. Sure, there were “sin nature setbacks,” but God still used him. God still glorified Himself through Abram.
It’s key that we understand the conditions that prompted the Word coming to Abram, so that we may know and follow the example of Abram for our own lives. Looking back over Abram’s life we see:
A Heart for God
A Devotion to God
A Dedication to God.
A Heart for God -
The previous chapters of Genesis reveal in Abram a maturing heart for God. It reveals a heart that is always filled with the goodness of God. Though sometimes slightly off, Abram’s heart was always aiming at God’s desires for his life. That was his hidden agenda. Even though he lied about Sarai in Egypt, his motive was aimed at God! In Genesis 16, we see him having a son by his wife’s handmaiden. Again, his heart was aimed at pleasing God.
We do things, sometimes the wrong things, for God. Our original intention may have had the earmarks of glorifying Him. Our heart may have had the right attitude but it’s just slightly out of tune with God’s will. God recognizes this. He recognized it in Abram. Even though Abram lied in Egypt, he was still blessed with material growth, and probably spiritual growth as well.
Even though you made the wrong decision, as long as your heart was aimed at God you will mature spiritually. Even though you mess everything up, as long as your heart’s motive was aimed at pleasing God, you will grow spiritually. Abram had a heart condition, a heart that was conditioned to aim at pleasing God.
A Devotion to God -
Along with a heart for God, Abram had devotion, a commitment to God. This is something that God is always on the lookout for. The Bible tells us in 2 Chronicles 16:9 “For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”
Abram’s life was given over to God…surrendered to God…devoted to God.
A Dedication to God -
We see those two conditions (heart and devotion) that manifest themselves in Abram and we also see a dedication to God. When we yield our hearts to the goodness of God, when we devote ourselves to glorifying God and dedicate all that we have to following God, we will be yielding ourselves to the Word of the Lord, and fully ready to be used by God.
We should always be re-evaluating our lives and our growth in Him. We should always be careful in our walk and avoid anything that will draw us away from the Lord. The Word of the Lord can come at anytime to anyone in any circumstance, but, if we’re not ready for the Word, it won’t do us any good.