BBBI - 2018.01.17 - PM - Making the Cut (Gen. 15)

BBBI - OT101.2 - Genesis II  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:03:03
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God made several promises to Abram. All Abram had to do was believe in God.

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High times of success and prosperity are only too often followed by seasons of depression. Abram had indeed conquered the kings of Assyria, but his very victory might expose him to their vengeance, or draw down the jealousy of those around him. He was but a stranger in a strange land, with no other possession than a promise,—and not even an heir to whom to transmit it. In these circumstances it was that “Jehovah came unto Abram in a vision,” saying, “I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward”—that is, Myself am thy defence from all foes, and the source and spring whence thy faith shall be fully satisfied with joy.
[Alfred Edersheim, Bible History: Old Testament, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1975), 88–89.]
Main Thought: When looking around gets you down, it's time to look up to God in faith.
Sub-intro: Context - Covenant with Abram - Four Major Events Occur ()

I. Abram’s Fears Relieved (Gen. 15:1-5)

Note - God Deals with Abram's Fear for the Seed
Even when life is dark, you can still see the stars. Someone has well said, “When the outlook is bleak, try the uplook.”
[Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Obedient, “Be” Commentary Series (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1991), 47.]
Note - The Abrahamic Covenant Summarized:
The Promise of a Seed [Children] Forever ()
The Promise of a Land [Real Estate] Forever ()
The Promise of a Blessing [Favor/Prosperity] - Messiah ()
A word in season; how good it is! God's words are always in season. He knows how to speak a word to them that are weary. His consolations are neither few nor small.
[Dr. James Smith and Robert Lee, Handfuls on Purpose: For Christian Workers and Bible Students, n.d., .]

A. God’s Presence, Protection & Provision Promised ()

Genesis 15:1 KJV 1900
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.
Note - Abram Needed to Remember that God would Protect him ("shield") & Provide for him ("exceeding great reward")
Protection and provision are blessings that the world is seeking and the politicians are promising whenever they run for office. Candidates offer voters protection from war and danger on the streets as well as provision for jobs, health care, education, and old age. Some of the promises are kept, but many of them are forgotten. Almighty God is the only One who can offer you protection and provision and keep His promises. “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory. No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly” (). [Wiersbe, 46.]
Warren W.[Wiersbe, 46.]

B. Abram’s Proposal ()

Genesis 15:2 KJV 1900
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?
Genesis 15:2–3 KJV 1900
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? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.
Note - Abram Suggests to God that Eliezer to Become His Heir
According to the law of that day, the Code of Hammurabi, Eliezer, his steward, his head servant, who had an offspring, would in time inherit if Abram did not have a child.
[J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary, electronic ed., vol. 1 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997), 66.]
His concern was expressed by a marvelous word play on his household servant’s origin: this Eliezer of Damascus (Dammeśeq) is the possessor-heir (ḇen mešeq, lit., “son of possession”) of my estate (15:2). It is as if Abram was stressing to God that “the omen is in the nomen”—a mere servant would become his heir.
[Allen P. Ross, “Genesis,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 55.]
Note - Abram's Question ("what wilt thou give me") Became an Accusation ("to me thou hast given no seed")

C. God’s Proclamation ()

Genesis 15:4–5 KJV 1900
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. 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.
Note - Eliezer Could Not Be the Heir, Because the Heir Must Come from Abram's Body
Perhaps, after the great excitement of the battle and victory, and the marvelous experience with Melchizedek, and then after everyone had gone and Abram was alone, a spiritual reaction began to set in. God’s promise of a seed was still not fulfilled, and he was still in the midst of a dangerous and wicked country. Abram began to be a bit doubtful and fearful of what the future might hold.
“Fear not!” came the word of the Lord. This is not the first time the word “fear” occurs in Scripture, but it is the first time “fear not” occurs. Once before, “the voice of the Lord God” is mentioned, and it was that voice that caused Adam to “fear” (). This points up the striking contrasts between Adam and Abram. Adam was the father of all men; Abram is the “father of all them that believe” (). Adam had a fig leaf, but Abram had a shield. Adam received a curse, Abram a reward.
For the believer, Christ is both protection from all harm and provision of all needs. He provides our “shield of faith” ()—indeed the “whole armour of God,” so that we can “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (, ). He is also our “exceeding great [literally ‘abundant’] reward.” We need not be enriched with the wealth of the kings of the East, because “he is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (). “Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread” (, ).
[Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Record: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1976), 324.]

II. Abram’s Faith Realized (Gen. 15:6)

God Proclaims Abram's Justification
Promises do us no good unless we believe them and act on them. [Wiersbe, 47.]
[Warren W. Wiersbe, 47.]

A. Personal Faith; Propositional Faith

Note - Abram's Faith Is Both Personal ("in the LORD") and Propositional ("the word of the LORD" in vv. 4-5), i.e. his faith was based on what God had spoken ()
i.e. His faith was based on what God had spoken (Rom. 10:17)
Considering something to be trustworthy is an act of full trusting or believing. This is the emphasis in the first biblical occurrence of ˒aman: “And [Abram] believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness” (). The meaning here is that Abram was full of trust and confidence in God, and that he did not fear Him (v. 1). It was not primarily in God’s words that he believed, but in God Himself. Nor does the text tell us that Abram believed God so as to accept what He said as “true” and “trustworthy” (cf. ), but simply that he believed in God. In other words, Abram came to experience a personal relationship to God rather than an impersonal relationship with His promises.
[W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 15–16.]
The concept of the Word of God includes both the written Word, Holy Scripture, and the living Word, God the Second Person. After the Word was made flesh, in the person of Jesus Christ, and after He died and rose again, He proclaimed: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending” (). He is the sum of all that can be communicated. Alpha and Omega are, of course, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, the language chosen by God in which to inscripturate His new covenant with man. This proclamation seals the oneness of the written and living Words. [Morris, 323.]
[Morris, 323.]

B. Precedented Faith

Note - This Is Not the Beginning for Abram's Faith, But Another Statement of It; e.g. see
Hebrews 11:8–10 KJV 1900
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. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
e.g. see
We are not saved by making promises to God but by believing the promises of God. [Wiersbe, 48.]
Warren W. Wiersbe, 48.]
Note - Abram's Justifying Faith Does Not Begin Here, But This Is Another Example of His Exercising that Kind of Faith
If Christian usage of “amen” is to be informed by the OT, then to say “amen” to a prayer should imply a commitment to pray and also to live, where appropriate, in such a way as to further the fulfillment of that prayer.
[Willem VanGemeren, ed., New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology & Exegesis (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1997), 428.]

III. Abram’s Future Reassured ()

Genesis 15:13–16 KJV 1900
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; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.
Note - God Prophesy's the Future of Abram's Seed

A. Temporary Relocation of His People

Note - They Will Sojourn in a Foreign Land for 400 Years
Note - This is the approximate, rounded off 430 years of , or the "bondage" portion may have been just 400 years. See also
Exodus 12:40 KJV 1900
Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years.
Acts 7:6 KJV 1900
And God spake on this wise, That his seed should sojourn in a strange land; and that they should bring them into bondage, and entreat them evil four hundred years.
See also

B. Terrible Affliction of His People

Note - That Sojourn Will Include Great Affliction
Note - God forges this nation, Israel, out of this bondage


Note - God Would Judge the Nation that Afflicted His People; i.e. the 10 Plagues on Egypt and Pharaoh; see
i.e. the 10 Plagues on Egypt and Pharaoh; see

C. Tremendous Salvation of His People

Note - They Will Come Out of Bondage with Great Substance; See - "they spoiled the Egyptians"
Exodus 12:35–36 KJV 1900
And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: And the Lord gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.
See - "they spoiled the Egyptians"

D. Timing of the Realization of this Prophecy

Note - Abram Would Live a Long Life; See - he lived 175 years
Genesis 25:7 KJV 1900
And these are the days of the years of Abraham’s life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years.
See - he lived 175 years
Note - His Seed Would Not Enter Canaan Until the Fourth Generation

6. His Seed Would Not Enter Canaan Until the Fourth Generation

Note - a generation is the time until the birth of the first child -- Abram was 100 at the birth of Isaac,
Genesis 21:5 KJV 1900
And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him.
Note - The Iniquity of the Amorites Is Not Yet Full
Note - "Amorites" refers to all the Canaanite Tribes in Palestine, so this is a reference to the conquest of the land of Canaan --
Genesis 9:25–26 KJV 1900
And he said, Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; And Canaan shall be his servant.
Note - also the justice and patience of God in judging the Canaanites for their sins; God gives space to repent, as Paul taught, the goodness of God should lead us to repentance

IV. God’s Faithfulness Revealed (, )

Note - God Cuts a Covenant

A. The Tokens of the Covenant (Gen. 15:9-12)

Genesis 15:9–12 KJV 1900
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. 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. And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away. And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.
Note - Abram Takes an Heifer, She Goat, Ram, Dove, and Pigeon; the Larger Animals Are Cut in Two
The ceremony not only confirmed the promise, but was highly instructive. The provision of imputed righteousness and full salvation is altogether God’s gift of grace to man, but it would be highly costly to God. The curse of sin can be removed only by sacrifice, in the shedding of blood. Abram had known and practiced this, but now God stressed its necessary connection with His promise. [Morris, 326.]
[Henry M. Morris, 326.]

B. The Torch in the Covenant (

Genesis 15:17–18 KJV 1900
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. 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:
This is a very human scene. Abram gets everything ready, and while he is waiting for the Lord, the fowls of the air come down—the buzzard and the crow come down upon the carrion. Abram is there shooing them away, for they are ready to swoop down upon the sacrifice. If you had been there and had seen all this display of the sacrifices, knowing the custom of the day, you might have said, “Well, brother Abram, apparently the one you’re making a contract with hasn’t shown up. I guess he’s late!” Abram would have said, “No,I don’t think He’s late. He just told me to get things ready and that He would be here to make the contract.” [McGee, 68.]
[McGee, 68.]
Note - God Himself Passes Between the Pieces in the Form of a "smoking furnace and burning lamp"


Both of these speak of Christ. The furnace, of course, speaks of judgment. The lamp speaks of Him as the light of the world [McGee, 69.]
J. Vernon McGee, 69.]
Note - Only God Passes through the Pieces
Note - this shows that Jehovah is solely responsible for the Covenant
Note - this Covenant is Unconditional and Unilateral
...the covenant was that of grace, in which one party alone—God—undertook all the obligations, while the other received all the benefits. [Edersheim, 90.]
Alfred Edersheim, 90.]

C. The Testimony of the Covenant

Note - The Idea Signified By This Custom Is: "May it be so done to me if I do not keep my pledge"
"May it be so done to me if I do not keep my pledge"


Warren W. [Wiersbe, 52.
By the way, what did Abram promise to do? Nothing. He believed God. And God will save you—save you by grace—if you will believe what He has done for you. [McGee, 69.]
J. Vernon McGee, 69.]
When Abraham was concerned about himself, God assured him by saying, “I AM!” When he was concerned about his heir, he heard God say, “I will!” His concern about the land was met by God’s, “I have given!” [Wiersbe, 52.
When looking around gets you down, it's time to look up to God in faith.
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