Wow You Are Not Kidding!–Genesis 15 Final

There Abram stood looking at the Stars and listening to God promise him the Land of Canaan and many descendants…and he asked the most transparent question imaginable–So how do I know what you promise will really happen…?  God says, “Son go get a Heifer, a goat and a lamb!”  Covenants, in those days, were not nicely drafted components of a contract.  Instead, Covenants were life and death promises that required absolute performance or absolute sacrifice. 

Specifically, the parties would cut an animal into quarters and lay them out on the ground walk between the quarters to signify that failure to perform on the covenant would require like treatment of the failing party! Ouch! Here God took 3 animals as if to say not only me, but the entire trinity makes this covenant.  The Heifer representing the father, the lamb representing the son and the Goat (Scape goat) representing the Holy spirit! God was serious.

That is the same level of commitment God has made to us.  If we will follow him he promises to redeem us from the sin we are enslaved to and restore us to a family relationship with him.  Take comfort, believer–God is not kidding!!!

God Bless You

But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?”

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 for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there. 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 ancestors 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 Wadi[e] of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates— 19 the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”

Believing The Lord–Genesis 15 Part 1

Abram believed the Lord, and it was credited to him as righteousness! What an amazing thing…There Abram sat, quietly looking up at the stars sitting outside of his canvas tent home–away from his relatives and alone with his beautiful-yet, barren wife. Then and there God said, “trust me, this land will be yours and you will have heirs as numerous as the stars.”  Pretty tall order–but, Abram did trust God. Despite the trouble in Egypt and the separation and rescue of Lot, Abram knew in his heart that God had protected and provided for him and would do so all the days of his life.

At the end of the day, that is the critical part of our walk with God–the trusting and believing Him. If it was ever about what we may have accomplished, then our journey would remain about us and our nature to be self-absorbed.  As long as we can point to an action or occurrence that we control, we remain the object of our faith. When we simply believe God is who he says he is and will lead, guide and direct us according to his perfect plan, our circumstances, no matter awesome or dire remain secondary to the faith we have in him. He is Lord and Savior of our lives–we have to trust and follow him to experience the covenant relationship we desire.

God Bless You

After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:

“Do not be afraid, Abram.
    I am your shield,[a]
    your very great reward.[b]

But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit[c] my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”

Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring[d] be.”

Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

Be Careful of What You Take–and Generous of You Give–Genesis 14 Final

Abram was instantly faced with two situations–the opportunity to give of what he had and an opportunity to take what was not his, in each case–he chose wisely!  Abram saw God’s hand in his life and realized all that he had came from God.  He was, therefore, happy to share a tenth of what he had to show his grateful heart.  Conversely, the King of Sodom–offered to give Abram a great deal of plunder.  Abram knew that these men, never gave anything without a payback.  The king’s selfish nature could not give without an expectation of a return. Abram wisely refused to become tied with him.

In our lives, we are also faced with opportunities to be generous and to take from those that would demand a return.  We have to be selfless to God and give generously.  But, we must be wise in what we receive–or that may tie or entrap us to a world we want no affiliation with. Once again Choose this day whom you will serve–as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!

God Bless You

Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, 19 and he blessed Abram, saying,

“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
    Creator of heaven and earth.
20 And praise be to God Most High,
    who delivered your enemies into your hand.”

Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

21 The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people and keep the goods for yourself.”

22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “With raised hand I have sworn an oath to the Lord, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, 23 that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the strap of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, ‘I made Abram rich.’ 24 I will accept nothing but what my men have eaten and the share that belongs to the men who went with me—to Aner, Eshkol and Mamre. Let them have their share.”

The Good Land…Genesis 14 Part 1

Things are not always as lovely as they appear.  Lot was so excited to move to the plains.  The good land, the best water and the thickest grass.  But he also moved to the land where people were evil and selfish.  And while he may have been minding his own business he was caught up in the midst of their rebellion.  Fortunately, his uncle was able to save him and restore the area from the warring kings.

We have to be mindful of the world around us.  We can avoid a great deal of pain and confusion by simply staying away from people and circumstances that we know to be harmful.  It is difficult to look past the surface and see the long term consequence of our choices, but if we will take we the time, we are usually blessed far more than we could ever imagine.

God Bless You

The four kings seized all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food; then they went away. 12 They also carried off Abram’s nephew Lot and his possessions, since he was living in Sodom.

13 A man who had escaped came and reported this to Abram the Hebrew. Now Abram was living near the great trees of Mamre the Amorite, a brother[b] of Eshkol and Aner, all of whom were allied with Abram. 14 When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15 During the night Abram divided his men to attack them and he routed them, pursuing them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. 16 He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people.

Dad’s Know…Genesis 13 Final

You can almost picture the scene—Abram watching Lot trotting down the hill, rejoicing at the great trade he had just secured.  He took all the “good” land and left his silly uncle with the hill country.  Abram was looking out over the land—a little sad…but then, as dad’s do, God said, “Look over all the land–as far as you can see, and as far as you can walk– all this will be for you and your lineage.”  A huge spiritual hug from a Dad that understands us better than anyone. Abram stepped out in faith and continued to trust God even when it seemed as though God was not delivering.

We act similarly, when we truly believe and follow God, there are days that simply feel like the promises will not be delivered upon.  Trials and tests wear us down,  and the world gleefully skips by announcing all the victories it enjoys.  In those dismal points, God calls out—child, I love you and have an amazing eternity planned for you!  Do not lose hope! Simply follow and as far as you can see and as far as you can walk it will be yours!  Faith is a journey, and while difficult at times, it is amazing, full and meaningful when we allow Him to lead and we simply and humbly trust and follow!

God Bless You

 

The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring[a] forever. 16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. 17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.”

18 So Abram went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he pitched his tents. There he built an altar to the Lord.

Sometimes We are not Better Together–Genesis 13 Part 1

Abram and Lot had already become rich.  There faith had been blessed.  But as they grew it was apparent they had to move apart.  Once again, Abram trusted God.  Abram said to his nephew–You pick anywhere you want to live and I will go elsewhere.  Lot picked the fruitful lush plain, close to the city.  It would be easy, and he would have it all.  Abram was fine with that–even as the elder and leader of the family–he was not concerned to stay up in the hills where it would be more difficult to maintain his herds.  Abram knew God would provide.

We need to have the same faith.  We have to trust that it is God that provides, and he will astound us–if we will humbly follow his lead.  One thing we can be pretty confident in, though–God does not typically lead us into easy and evil.  If faced with the choice of easy and evil–we should always walk away.  Lot thought he would have it all, but as the song says, “Every form of refuge has its price.” We need to avoid easy and evil and trust God to provide the means and the supplies to follow closely. If we do, as with Abram, it will be counted to us as righteousness!

God Bless You

Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. And quarreling arose between Abram’s herders and Lot’s. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.

So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.”

Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11 So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: 12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. 13 Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord.

From Hero to Zero–Genesis 12 Final

It could happen to anyone of us at any time. Abram knew God was going to make him into a great nation.  He left his home, took his family and travelled to Canaan; simply because God promised land to him.  

Still, when trouble appeared in the form of famine, Abram left Canaan and went to Egypt. While in Egypt, Abram was willing to trade his wife for his life and wealth. One moment, Abram was the man of great faith, The next moment he was a liar and a coward.  

In any given moment, we are the same. When we trust the Lord, we can be people of great faith. On other days, however, given the right circumstances, we can walk away from everything we know, and become sniveling cowards, relying on our own senses rather than on our Lord. 

Thanks be to God, for His patience, His grace and His mercy. He is willing to start each day brand-new.  Not only is God willing to lead, guide and direct us, but, he is also willing to forgive and restore us when we repent and return to him. What’s more, he protects us from our own failures, and often uses them to make us the people of God we are called to be.

Those are the times we see unconditional love displayed by God. And those are the altars, the moments in time and space, that reminds us of how much God loves us; and how we are to treat others. 

Help me Lord to trust you and treat others with the same kindness you have treated me. 

God Bless You

 10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. 11 As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. 13 Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.”

14 When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that Sarai was a very beautiful woman. 15 And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. 16 He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.

17 But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai. 18 So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!” 20 Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had.