Abram’s Justification by Faith- F260- Week 2- Day 4

Today’s Reading:
Genesis 15

This Week’s Memory Verse:
(8)  By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

Hebrews 11:8

Highlight:

(1)  After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
(2)  And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?
(3)  And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.
(4)  And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.
(5)  And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
(6)  And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

Genesis 15:1-6

Explain:

“(1)  After these things …”

Genesis 15:1a

Today’s verses start out with the expression “After these things” which gives us a chance to refer to what had happened in the past few chapters. Abram was called by God to leave his country and kindred in chapter 12. He and his wife Sarai go to Egypt. There Sarai was noticed by the princes of Pharaoh in an ungodly way. God plagued Pharoah’s house because of this. In chapter 13 we see God was blessing him with wealth. Abram left Egypt and went to Bethel where he had sacrificed earlier. There was a division between his workers and Lot’s so they separate. Lot ends up going into Sodom. Abram intercedes for Lot in prayer and rescues Lot out of that city. Then we see this very interesting figure, prophet, priest, and king Melchizadek, who blessed Abram, and even tithed to Abram.

After all of this happened, God comes to the Abram in a vision and says this expression to him.

“…the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.”

Genesis 15:1b

God says this to Abram and certainly it could describe Abram’s past, present and his future. God had proteceted (shielded) Abram. God had exceedingly blessed (rewarded) Abram. By putting this in the present tense it is as if he is stating that this is a constant and ongoing reality for Abram.
But that brings up a question for Abram. God had promised him that He would be the father of a great nation, and that all of the families of the earth would be blessed by him. How is this going to happen if he doesn’t have a child?

(2)  And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?
(3)  And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.

Genesis 15:2-3

Abram asks the question about his servants child. There were traditions that made chlidren born to the servants part of the lineage of their masters. Was this how God was going to fulfill his promise to Abram? It was a relevant enough question for Abram that He brought it up to God.
Here was God’s answer.

(4)  And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.

Genesis 15:4

God was reaffirming this promise. The older that Abram and Sarai grew without children, the more and more implausable the fulfillment of this promised must have seemed to be. Yet God clearly declared to Abram, you are going to have a son. He will be your biological son. He then illustrates this answer with a object lesson.

(5)  And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.

Genesis 15:5

What were the objects in the object lesson? The countless stars in the sky that God had made. If you have ever been outside of the city lights on a clear night and were able to see the stars, you know just how countless the stars really are. That many stars must have seemed pretty incredible as a promise to a man who didn’t even have 1 child. Yet look at Abrams response to God.

“(6)  And he believed in the LORD; “

Genesis 15:6a

Abram took God at His word. Even though he didn’t have any kids, he believed that God would give him countless numbers of children. When Abram believed God responded, too.

“and he counted it to him for righteousness.”

Genesis 15:6b

There it is. Justification by faith found in the first book of the Bible. God didn’t justify or count Abram as righteous because of his works. He counted him as righteous because of his faith.

Apply:
We are made right with God by believing HIs word. It’s a good thing, because if we were made right with God because of our behavior, we would be in trouble. Our good deeds can never outweigh our bad deeds. Many of our good deeds are done for the wrong reason and with the wrong motivation. On our own we have no hope. But when we believe God, because of Jesus’s righteousness and His atoning, sacrificial death, we can have his righteousness imputed to our account and our sins taken away. How? By faith. We must have the simple yet profound response to God that says, “God, I believe you. I believe what you say.” And we must then act on what He says.

Respond:
Lord God, I know that you desire for me to grow in my faith and trust in what you say. Help me to do that today. Grow my faith in You. Amen.

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