Fear and Faith
Gen 15:1 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.
Fear not; this is found in some form in every book of the Bible. Life is full of troubles and fears. What was Abram fearing? He and his mighty men of faith had stirred up the hornets nest by rescuing Lot, the spoils and the people back from Chedorlaomer king of Elam and a confederation of five kings. He was greatly outnumbered. Abram had a vision where the presence of God was encouraging him. Fear not: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. We find that in other places throughout the Bible.
First that comes to mind is Joshua.
Josh 1:6 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.
Josh 1:7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.
Also to Gideon
Judg 6:12 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.
Psa 3:3 But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.
Gen 15:2 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?
Eliezer was a good man, but not the blood heir of Abram, as was promised.
Gen 15:3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.
Abram reminds God of his promise. This was a sincere conversation, if we do not understand something, we may ask of God.
James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
James 1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
Ask and expect to receive the answer.
Gen 15:4 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.
Abram hears from God. Out of your bowels, shall be thine heir. bowels is a general term used for the inner parts, and figuratively, the seat of emotions. From your body and Sarah's body shall come forth your heir.
Gen 15:5 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.
Abram's seed according to the flesh were like the dust of the earth, Gen 13:16, but his spiritual seed are like the stars of heaven. One seed of Abram would be the bright and morning star, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Rev 22:16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
Gen 15:6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
Righteous faith is not just believing in God, the demons believe in God. Righteousness is by believing God, his word and promises.
Can we work out our own righteousness and does salvation come by our hard work?
Rom 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Isa 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
Heb 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
Heb 10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
Rom 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
Rom 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
Rom 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Rom 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
How can we lose what we did not earn? We either receive it from God by faith, or we do not have it, we must be sure.
Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Heb 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
Heb 6:5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
Heb 6:6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
Heb 6:9 But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.
Heb 6:10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have showed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
Heb 6:11 And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:
Heb 6:12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Heb 6:13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,
Heb 6:14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.
Heb 6:15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
Gen 15:7 And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.
Gen 15:8 And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?
How will I know? by faith in His word we know. When may be a more appropriate question. Sometimes the Lord spoke audibly to these Old Testament men; sometimes it was in the heart, with a quiet, deep conviction that God is speaking.
Gen 15:9 And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.
Gen 15:10 And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.
Three years was the length of time Jesus served. Three is also the Trinity,: Father, Son, Holy Ghost. These were the animals chosen by God. A lamb would be chosen later, representing Jesus, the Passover Lamb of God.
Gen 15:11 And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away.
Fowls are later spoken of as the devil. The devil always tries to interfere with the work of God.
James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
A covenant was made by dividing animals and walking through the center.
Jer 34:18 And I will give the men that have transgressed my covenant, which have not performed the words of the covenant which they had made before me, when they cut the calf in twain, and passed between the parts thereof.
Jer 34:19 The princes of Judah, and the princes of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, and the priests, and all the people of the land, which passed between the parts of the calf;
In Gen 15:18, God's presence passes through the divided animals. The covenant depended on God keeping it, not on Abraham.
Gen 15:12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.
Gen 15:13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;
Gen 15:14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.
The bad news of slavery for 400 years (in the land of Egypt); but afterwards they would come out with great substance.
Gen 15:15 And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.
Gen 15:16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.
The forth generation they shall be brought out. A generation here was a hundred years.
Gen 15:17 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 those pieces.
The smoke is as the cloud by day that would guide Moses out of Egypt and the pillar of fire by night. The glory cloud and the fire of God.
Gen 15:18 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:
Again the promises of a land is given, the dwelling place of the list of tribes that follow:
Gen 15:19 The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites,
Gen 15:20 And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims,
Gen 15:21 And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.
This covenant God signed alone; Abram did not haggle with God over the terms. God established and Abram accepted. Abram cannot break a contract he has never signed!
"For a very brief time, under Solomon (1 Kings 8:65) and possibly again under Jeroboam II (2 Kings 14:25), the children of Israel ruled all this territory, as a token of the final and permanent possession they will have in the future." (Morris)