check out also CATHOLIC TIMELINE BANNER

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Abraham's Faith

Before I begin, I need to give credit to Jeff Cavins for showing me the Abraham counting stars idea, and Bob Salmon for showing me the split / Israel idea. - Thank you both.

Chapter 15 of Genesis really reveals the great faith of Abraham, and the great promise of God.

God tells Abraham that he will be rewarded. Abraham says that any gift that God would give him would end up being the gift of his slave because Abraham had no children.

God says that Abraham will have a child, and that this child would be the heir of all the blessings that God would give, and not only just one child but many descendants, to prove it God says this
Genesis 15:5 And He took him outside and said, "Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them." And He said to him, "So shall your descendants be."
6 Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.


Now at this point everyone imagines Abraham walking outside and pointing up at the stars and beginning, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5....counting the stars. But there is much more going on here. Later on in the conversation with God the text says...as it became dark. This is suggesting that when God says
"Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them." And He said to him, "So shall your descendants be."


This was happening during the day time. So Abraham would not have seen any stars, yet he still believed God. FOR THIS REASON
6 Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.


He Had great faith, because he knew that the stars were there, but he just couldn't see them.
6 Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.

God's next promise to Abraham is the land that he is living on which currently doesn't belong to him, yet God promises it to him.
Genesis 15 continues
7 ¶ And He said to him, "I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess it."
8 And he said, "O Lord God, how may I know that I shall possess it?"
9 So He said to him, "Bring Me a three year old heifer, and a three year old female goat, and a three year old ram, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon."
10 Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, and laid each half opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds.


Now this to us is a very strange command, the cutting of animals in half.
But here is what it means. When two different peoples of that time and place were making a covenant they would take animals, cut them in half and walk in between them.
This symbolized that if they ever broke their end of a deal that "may they be cut in half like these animals"


And we are going to see God himself make this covenant.
12 Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, terror and great darkness fell upon him.
13 And God said to Abram, "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years.
14 "But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve; and afterward they will come out with many possessions.
15 "And as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age.
16 "Then in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete."
17 And it came about when the sun had set, that it was very dark, and behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a flaming torch which passed between these pieces.
18 On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your descendants I have given this land.


Something that is significant here is that about a thousand years later Abraham's descendants would break their end of the covenant during the reign of Rehoboam and Israel was then split in two. The north was called Israel and the south was called Judah.
Not only were they split in half but they each eventually lost their land. The land of course represents heaven, and when we break our covenant with him, we loose our gift of the land there as well.

1 comment:

Sara Schultz said...

Who'd have thunk .... Such a joy to see you so in love with God!