FRIDAY, AUGUST 4
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 15
You might think that after everything Abram had experienced with God his faith would be rock solid. And it may have been. But a lot of rocks have at least one crack. So, before we judge those that we read about in the Bible, we need to remember that most of the time we know how the story is going to turn out. At the same time, the people we are reading about are still struggling to live by faith. Faith is easy looking back. It ain’t so easy moving forward.
As the chapter opens, God has once again comes to Abram with great and glorious promises. He promises to protect Abram. He promises to bless Abram. And He promises that His promises will be fulfilled just like He said.
Abram on the other hand seems to be struggling a bit. From his human perspective, it did not look possible for him to be a father of “many nations” or have offspring as numerous as the sands of the seas. But to his credit, he is quite honest with God about this.
There is an important lesson for us in this. First, faith is not easy. Second, even though we believe we sometimes struggle with what we believe. Third, doubts are not necessarily a problem until they lead us into disobedience. Fourth, we really should talk often with God about our doubts.
Did you notice that God was not offended by Abram’s doubts? In fact, God arranged for an episode that would reinforce His promises and drain away some of Abram’s doubts.
Verse 6 is one of the pivotal verses in the entire Bible. Abram “believed God and He counted it to him as righteousness”. Righteousness is not something we generate. Righteousness is not something we produce. It is a gift given to us by a gracious Father in response to our faith. Of course some would say “our faith” is something we generate. But Ephesians 2 says that our faith is actually a gift from God. In other words, God gives us the faith to believe His promises. And as we utilize the faith He has given us, He considers us righteous. That is a crazy transaction that is actually built on nothing but the activity of God.
As the chapter draws to a close, we encounter a most interesting episode. Animals and birds are sacrificed. Their carcasses are lined up in two lines presumably with a bit of a space between the lines. Then, after sundown, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between those two lines of carcasses.
The fire pot and torch are symbols of God. And the picture is of God passing between the sacrifices and coming through the blood of the sacrifices that had surely covered the ground. What a glorious picture this is! God comes to us only the through the sacrifice of His only begotten Son and through His precious blood spilled on the ground for our transgressions.
In verse 18, God makes a covenant with Abram after He had passed between the sacrifice. It is as God comes to us through the sacrifice of Jesus and His shed blood that we too enter into a covenant relationship with God.
What a Savior! Oh what a glorious Savior!