Genesis 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.
We have just come from the point that Abram had helped out in the Kings wars, and had paid a tithe to the King of Salem, Melchizedek. In Genesis 15 we find the covenant between Abram and God. God had promised Abram a child which is now very many years ago. Abram was old, and Sarah was in her 90’s. We have to remember this is not long after the flood so people were living longer, but even so, 90 years old was getting past her prime!
What follows verse one is very interesting. It is all THEORY (read prophesy) about Abram’s descendants, which Abram addresses with God. He tells God, “Well, I guess I can give all that I have to one of my servants sons, since I don’t have a son to give it too!” (vss 2,3)
God goes on to describe not only the fact that Abram’s son will inherit the land that God gave Abram, “From the River in Egypt (the Nile) to the Great River Euphrates.” But that his children will number like the stars in the heavens that he could count. God also told him that his children will be slaves to a nation for 400 years of hard toil. Then one day God will judge that nation for the cruelty that his children will suffer, and that when they leave that country, it’s people will shower them with “great sustenance”. Gold, bronze, silver, jewels.
Abram has GOT to be thinking, yeah, right! I am about to die of old age and you are telling me about a nation that will be my progeny? “Theory sounds good God, but I don’t see any practical goin’ on!” BUT even so, Abram believed God would do what he was saying he would do. He didn’t know how God would carry out his promise, and it must have been fuzzy to him about all of what God asked him to think about. How did he know, it had not happened yet. But he knew God was faithful to him.
If we turn to Hebrews 11, we get a little better picture of what God was working out.
8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. 9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country,…..
10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength …….., because she judged him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.
Basically, Hebrews 11 is rehashing this story in Genesis 15. The main theme here is FAITH! As Hebrews 1:1 puts it:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
We see then, though Abram did not know how God was going to fulfil his promise, Abram believed that God would indeed do just that. Because God is faithful in his promises.
It is the same with us. We tend to doubt God will fulfil his promises when we look at our situation, mainly due to the fact we have our eyes on the things around us, and not on the Maker of the Universe. When we read his promises to us, it encourages us, when we hear his voice, we know he will faithfully carry out what he tells us he will do. But then, we look at the chaos in our lives and in our world and the enemy puts those doubts in our mind. We need Fathers guidance, and his touch continually. I am reminded of when Peter walked on water towards his King, then, he looked at the situation and felt he could not control it (which he couldn’t) and he began to sink. Yet that is not the end of the story, he cried out to the Creator, “Help, Lord” and Jesus grabbed Peter’s outstretched arm and brought him safely back to the boat. That is what he does, because that is who he is. All we need to do is believe him.