2017-09-27 / Religion

God made a covenant with Abram

Sunday School Lesson
Rev. James Temples

Genesis 15

As we read the historical accounts in scripture, it is easy to wonder why these events are important in our day. The answer is not obvious to the self-centered heart. In a world that is “locked in” on the entertainment mindset, the historical facts might seem to be “boring.”

The Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21) inspired the Apostle Paul to write, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14.

The divine record is the unfolding account of the creation of the world, the creation of all life, including that of humans, the fall of the human race from innocence, the divine plan for redemption, and the promise of the eternal future. As these events come to pass, our Heavenly Father, the creator of the universe, uses lowly humans as agents of his purpose.

The spiritually-lost human race needed a savior. This Coming One would provide the redemption that would satisfy the demands of our Holy God. The man, Abraham, was the individual who was chosen as the “father of the nation” through which this redeemer would come. At the time of the call of this man, he was told “in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Genesis 12:3c.

As Abram — later known as Abraham, left his homeland, Ur of the Chaldees (Genesis 11:28) he was not given all of the divine, eternal promises, nor how this plan would unfold. When he reached the Promised Land, his life was not always simple. However, he was obedient and successful in his actions.

The city of Sodom was the location chosen by the man, Lot, who was nephew of Abram. This city was captured by a group of kings. The small army of Abram’s trained servants, three hundred and eighteen,” (Genesis 14:14), defeated these kings and recovered all. (Genesis 14:16). This kind of victory by such a small army would make this clan easy prey for selfseeking groups.

This military possibility must have produced fear in the heart of Abram. At this point, he did not have a great spiritual background. His limited experience was not sufficient to produce in him any kind of “robust faith.” God, Jehovah was not going to allow this man to become overwhelmed, and lose heart. “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.” Genesis 15:1.

The thoughts of Abram turned to the first promise that was given, “And I will make of thee a great nation.” Genesis 12:2a. “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? 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.

As the conversation continued in the vision, “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. 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.

The divine message was sufficient for Abram. “And he believed in the Lord; and he (the Lord) counted it to him for righteousness.” Genesis 15:6. As the conversation continued, the Lord “said unto him, I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.” Genesis 15:7.

There are several names by which our Heavenly Father is known. Each of these names reveals some facet of his character and relationship with humans. The name, Jehovah, is the “covenant name” of God. He revealed himself in this manner to Abram. This godly man desired more information, “Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?” Genesis 15:8.

God gave to Abram detailed instructions regarding a sacrifice that was to be offered. This faithful servant of God carried out his assignment. Sacrifices were to be burned, but no directive had been given concerning this action. The meat of the offering was exposed to the elements. During the day, “when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away.” Genesis 15:11.

This picture of the enemy of our soul attempting to “steal” that which is offered God can be seen in our personal lives. In the parable of the sower, Jesus Christ of Nazareth pictured the “fowls that came forth and devoured them, the seed, up. Matthew 13:4. He interpreted these “fowls” as “the wicked one that catcheth away that which is sown in his heart.” Matthew 13:19c. As Abram chased away the predators, so, we can be victorious, with the help of the Holy Spirit that is present in our lives.

The Hebrew word translated “covenant” comes from the root word, “to cut.” The agreeing individuals would walk between the pieces, as a sign of agreement to the terms. The record tells us, “And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.” Genesis 15:12. The voice of God gave assurance of the divine promise. Genesis 15:13-16. “And it came to pass, that when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between the pieces. In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram.” Genesis 15:17, 18a.

In the fulfilment of this covenant, the savior, Jesus Christ Nazareth, was born. He was/is the redeemer of our spiritually-lost race. All mankind can know a personal relationship with our Lord. John 3:16. Please accept Him into your life, today. Romans 10:9, 10.

Rev. James C. Temples’ Sunday School Lesson has appeared in the Early County News each week since 1967. A native of Early County, Rev. Temples taught in public schools 32 years and 10 years at Southeastern College of Assemblies of God, in Lakeland, Fla. He also served as pastor and evangelist during those years. He can be contacted at P. O. Box 1484, Swainsboro, GA 30401; 478- 299- 2068. Email: temples_ james@yahoo.com

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