Today in God’s Word
Genesis 15; Matthew 14
Genesis 15 presents one of the most crucial and most beautiful messages contained in the Bible. The chapter explodes with meaning once you know that the covenant ritual found in this chapter between God and Abram (see verses 9-11 and 17-20) is an ancient near eastern (ANE) ritual whereby two persons would enter into covenant with the depiction of the death that would come to the one who breaks the covenant (walking through the split carcases together). Read the chapter and notice that God, represented by the smoking fire pot and flaming torch (he will soon manifest himself in a column of smoke by day and fire by night), passes between the carcasses alone!
I suggest that here we have God making a unilateral covenant with Abraham, formalizing his promise in chapter 12, that does not depend upon Abram but upon God alone. Remember that this whole ritual is God’s response to Abram’s question, “How shall I know?”
God surely intends to accomplish his purpose through Abram but his own action in the election of Abram, his promise to Abram, and his determination to accomplish this with unilateral obligation, that puts his name alone on the line, brings up some application questions below…
This covenant does not ultimately rest upon Abram but upon God to keep. This helps explain why God declares over and over as he deals with the unfaithful Israelites, things like “for my own sake I will do it” (Isaiah 48:11).
- How then does his promise rely on my faith? (See Eph 2:8, Acts 11:18, 2 Tim 2:25, Rom 4:16-17). God gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist! What was the context of this statement there in Romans 4…search for it. What is he talking about with this life to the dead and making things exist by a call (Rom 11:28-30, Acts 2:39, Rom 1:5-7)?
- And then- Am I saved for my sake or for the glory of God in keeping his promise in order to show the sinfulness of the sin committed in the garden and the glory of his holy name to a multitude of nations and tongues who will live and be saved by his mighty hand?
- Is this a story (the Bible) about me or about our amazing God? Is the question “why does he let good people that he loves go to hell” or “why does he slay his Son to save some of the God haters who defile his name with every breath and thought… until he would mercifully give some a new heart?”
- Is hell an injustice and heaven fair and right? Or is hell fair and right and heaven the glorious riches of the mercy of God upon those whom he freely chooses from the pagan idol worshipers in the plains of Haran? This is the epic story of God’s revelation of himself to us!!
Soli Deo Gloria!