>Abraham

>I went to the Women of Faith conference a few weeks ago.  One of the regular speakers was Sheila Walsh and I purchased a book she wrote called “Beautiful Things Happen When a Woman Trusts God.”  Sheila is one of my favorite Christian authors.  I have a few of her books. 

In this book Sheila writes about ten Biblical characters who placed their trust in God.  Today I was reading about Abraham.  Several years ago one of my Bible study lessons was about Abraham.  As I studied him I was impressed by his faith and trust in the Lord.  Most Christians know the stories that make up Abram’s life: God’s call to the land of Canaan, Abram’s time in Egypt with his sister/wife and Pharoh, Sarai and Hagar, the promise and birth of Isaac and the sacrifice of Isaac.  But the part of the story that I didn’t know quite as well is the part describing God’s Covenant with Abram, found in Genesis 15:

God’s Covenant With Abram

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. 7 He also said to him, “I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.” 8 But Abram said, “O Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?” 9 So the LORD said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.10 Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half. 11 Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away. 12 As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. 13 Then the LORD said to him, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. 14 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. 15 You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age. 16 In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.” 17 When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. 18 On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates19 the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”

In those days a covenant was sealed by the two parties to the covenant passing between the two halves of the sacrifice.  The idea behind this was that whoever broke the covenant would be torn in two just like the sacrifice.  This sacrifice was a bit different.  Abraham gathered and prepared the animals God requested and watched over them, driving away the birds of prey and others who would have feasted upon the bodies of the sacrificial animals.  But then he fell asleep.  God spoke to Abram as he slept, He spoke to him of his descendants and the future.  He spoke to Abram of his descendants’ disobedience.  He spoke to him of the Israelites’ time in Egypt and the subsequent exodus.  God spoke to Abram of the land his descendants would inherit.  Then, God did something remarkable.  He alone passed through the covenant sacrifice.   This placed the burden and responsibility for the fulfillment of the covenant on God alone, the covenant depends completely and totally upon God for its fulfillment.  God made it a one-sided covenant, dependant upon His grace.  God was telling Abram, and us, that he would rather be torn apart than have the relationship with humanity destroyed. 
I don’t know about you, but that is a great comfort to me.  God loves me so much that He does not want our relationship to be damaged.  God has promised to do whatever it takes to preserve our relationship.  Sending His son to be the redeeming sacrifice for our sins is proof of that.  I will be eternally grateful for that sacrifice.
What I want is to fully trust God, to fully rely on Him.  I want to obey Him.  I want to emulate Christ and live the life He asks of me.  Will you take that journey with me?
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About Go Send or Disobey

John Piper said it succiently... "Go, send, or disobey." This is my journey along path to be a missionary of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
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