I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.” – Genesis 15:7
This is my third post from Genesis 15 on the Abrahamic Covenant. You may read the first two posts here: The Word of the Lord; God Renews His Promise to Abram.
In summary (Genesis 15:1-6):
- God’s word came to Abram in a vision. He told Abram to not be afraid, for He would be his shield and very great reward (15:1-2).
- Abram questioned God: “What can you give me since I remain childless?”
- As God’s vision to Abram continued, He told Abram that his son would come from his own body. Once again, God renewed His promise to give Abram many descendants. This time He told him to count the stars—if indeed he could count them—“So shall your offspring be,” (15:4-5).
- Abram believed God, and God credited (imputed) it to him as righteousness (15:6).
This post covers Genesis 15:7-11. You may read it here: Bible Gateway.
God renews His promise to give Abram the land, (Part 1).
Unlike us, Abram didn’t have access to a Bible for guidance. We know that Abram believed God’s words (Gen. 15:6). So Abram’s questions were more of an inquiry, seeking confirmation of details and assurance, rather than an expression of doubt:
O Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I will gain possession of it [the land of Canaan]?” – vs. 8
God’s answer ends in an unforgettable ceremony. But first, God gives Abram specific instructions.
God tells Abram to bring: a heifer, a goat and a ram, (each three years old), along with a dove and a young pigeon.
Animal sacrifices in the Old Testament sound strange. But when Abram practiced God’s instructions, he knew that sin’s curse could only be removed by sacrifice in the shedding of blood.
Layman’s Bible Commentary notes: “The sacrifice that God instructs Abram to make involves the same ceremonially clean animals that are used later in the sacrificial system under the Law of Moses. The use of five different kinds of sacrificial animals underlines the solemnity of the occasion. The text implies that Abram is familiar with the ritual to take place, because God does not explicitly state what to do with the animals; he also sacrifices them and lays them out as an offering (15:9-10).”
In His perfect timing, God would connect the sacrifice with His promise. When God finally responded, (which we will explore next week), Abram could only observe in an unforgettable, sensory enriched ceremony (vs. 12-21).
But after Abram prepared his sacrifice, God was silent.
Abram waited. . . . And he waited. . . . And he waited.
In the meanwhile, birds of prey swooped down on the carcasses. But Abram held his ground and successfully drove them away.
Why Did God Wait to Respond?
Satan’s tactics include:
- Doubt – of God and His Word
- Discouragement – taking our focus off of God and onto our problems
- Diversion – making the wrong things appear more attractive than the right things
- Defeat – making you feel like you’ve failed, so why try?
- Delay – convinces us to procrastinate, so we don’t act on the right choice
When you find yourself waiting on God, keep praying and hold tight to His promises (Eph. 6). Our all-knowing God will act in His perfect timing.
Stay tuned . . . Next week we’ll discover how God seals the deal concerning the land (Part 2, Genesis 15:12-21). Have a great week!