Abraham – the friend of God (Genesis 15)

Abraham – the friend of God (Genesis 15)

Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward” 15:1

And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness” 15:6

In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates” 15:18

One of my current activities is to lead Bible studies at my church, on the Book of Genesis. It has been an exhilarating exercise for me and I hope those I spoke to have also found it helpful. On Wednesday, we came to Abraham (chapters 11 to 24) but because of time we could only consider chapters 12, 18 and 22, and even then only superficially (see here for the slide presentation I gave).

I realised at the time and more so after there were important sections not covered, not least Chapter 15. This related to an encounter with the Lord, a little after Abraham rescued his nephew Lot, who had been taken captive in the war between the four kings and the five kings and after his meeting with Melchizedek (Chapter 14). This was some years before his son Ishmael was born (Chapter 16), after which, thirteen years later, Isaac, was born (Chapter 21), who was to be his heir, after which followed the line leading to Jesus – and this despite the seeming impossibility (Sarah was 90 when she gave birth to Isaac) of it happening. Despite his meeting with God, Abraham still thought Ishmael would be his heir.

There are a number of reasons why Chapter 15 is particular significant, including:

  • Two amazing memory texts to take to heart (15:1, 15:6)
  • A further text about Abraham’s descendants being more numerous than the stars in the sky (15:5)
  • A hugely significant section of Abraham sacrificing various animals to the Lord (15:9-17)
  • A prophecy looking forward 400 years about Abraham’s descendants (15:13)
  • An explanation about the sins of the Amorites (15:6)
  • A yet to be fulfilled promise about the land God promised to Abraham’s descendants (15:18)

My point is – there is so much worth considering and Genesis Chapter 15 is particularly significant. Without further ado, what follows is the story of Chapter 15 in pictures, thanks to what has been provided by FreeBibleImages.

God spoke to Abram in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.’ – Slide 1
Abram protested, ‘Sovereign Lord, You have not given me any children and the person who will inherit all I have is my servant, Eliezer of Damascus.’ – Slide 2
‘Eliezer not inherit but a son of yours will,’ God replied. God took Abram out to look at the night sky. ‘Look up at the sky and count the stars —if indeed you can count them. Your offspring will be as numerous as the stars.’ – Slide 3
Abram believed what God told him. God declared, ‘I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land.’ – Slide 4

‘Sovereign Lord, how can I know that I will gain this land?’ Abram asked. God told him to bring a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon. – Slide 5

Abram obeyed and sacrificed the animals cutting all but the birds in half. – Slide 6
He laid their carcasses, arranged in the halves, opposite each other. Birds of prey came down but Abram drove them away. – Slide 7
As the sun set Abram fell into a deep sleep and a dreadful darkness came over him. God warned that Abram’s descendants would be mistreated as slaves in a strange country for 400 years. – Slide 8
The God explained He would punish the nation that made them slaves, and deliver them. They would leave that land with great possessions to live in the land God had promised. God promised Abram he would live in peace to an old age . – Slide 9
When the sun had set a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the carcasses Abram had laid on the ground. God promised Abram to give his descendants the land from the Wadi of Egypt to the river Euphrates. – Slide 10
However, Abraham and his wife Sarai became older and older without having a family of their own. The son God promised did not arrive and Sarai became too old to have children. Would God keep His promise? How would Abram have descendants? – Slide 11

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