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Genesis 15




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!

Posted by Joe Ligon with

Genesis 14




SCRIPTURE: Genesis 14

Here’s an interesting little piece of trivia.  This chapter includes the first war that is recorded in the Bible.  The story turns from trivia to personal in verse 12.  The invading kings capture Lot, all his folks, and all of his stuff.

It was at that point that Abram became involved.  His involvement turned the war and the five kings from the valley of the Jordan won.  Included in that victory was the release of Lot, all of his folks, and all of his stuff.  Lot, it seems, went right back to his home in Sodom.  We really don’t learn lessons very quickly or very well.

It is after the battle, that we encounter a most unusual story.  On his way home, Abram is met by two kings: Bera, the King of Sodom; and, Melchizedek, the King of Salem.  Bera wanted to make a deal for the “persons” that Abram had.  Melchizedek offered a meal.

Most folks who study this kind of thing think that Melchizedek is a Christophany.  A Christophany is a pre-Bethlehem appearance of Jesus.  A Christophany is Jesus taking on the form of a man and coming to the earth not yet as the Savior of the World but as the second person of the Trinity.  So, why would people think that?

First, Melchizedek literally means King of Righteousness.  King of Salem literally means King of Peace.  Salem could either be a shortened version of the Hebrew word “Shalom” or it could be a shortened version of the word Jerusalem.  Of course, it could actually be both.

Second, Melchizedek offers a meal of bread and wine which could prefigure the Lord’s Supper.  Third, Melchizedek speaks a blessing from God Most High over Abram.  And, fourth, in Hebrews 7 we read where Melchizedek had neither father nor mother and had neither a beginning of days nor an end of life.

I am quite convinced that all the evidence points directly at the fact that Melchizedek is none other than Jesus who came in the form of a man to communicate for God and connect with people of faith. 

Abram’s initial response to this was to tithe to Melchizedek.

As you think about the timeline of this chapter, there is a most interesting thing to think about.  If Melchizedek is Jesus (again I am convinced that He is), He didn’t show up until after the battle is over.  From our perspective, I think we would want Jesus to show up before the battle, give us battle plans, give us promises of victory, and give us courage to go fight.  There are certainly times that that is exactly the way Jesus operates.

But not this time.  In fact, Jesus didn’t show up until after the battle.  Get this.  He didn’t show up until after the victory. 

Here’s what I want you to think about.  We can make a really good case that we should only fight the battles Jesus says we should fight.  We can also make a really good case that we should only fight those battles the way Jesus says we should fight.

But there are times that we need Jesus to touch down in the midst of our victory.  Dealing with victory can derail us as quickly as defeat can.  Victory often brings its own set of temptations that we are less than prepared for.  We really do need Jesus in our victories.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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