the whole progress
they just want clarification. They just want to understand but the reality is is that sometimes we stop asking questions because we're pretty sure people don't want to hear what we have to say.
This is the first time in a passage as we continue our city in Beginnings that God speaks to Abraham. But Abraham speaks back and I got to tell you that when I was studying this passage at the beginning of the week and I was writing down ideas. I wrote down the idea that the David that Abraham doubted what God was saying.
But when I was reading and thinking about it, unless I read some people's opinions about it. They said that I often times we get this one wrong and we think that Abraham is doubting in this package and he's not he just want some clarification. He just wants to understand because occasionally God will say something or decide something and from the size of a brain that we have that is much smaller than the size of the brain that God has it just doesn't make any sense. Would God seems to be saying is impossible or hard to Fathom or maybe doesn't apply to our situation never felt that way you hear people and they say God said there's any you meaning on your mind gun, and that does not apply to my situation.
God has made promises to Abram you started in chapter 12 of me to promise to him. He repeated part of the problems later on in chapter 12. He talked about Olivia Gantt I think a Chapter 13 here. We now we're in chapter 15 and God begins One More Time by affirming his promise. He says this in chapter 15, if you want to read along with me here or in your own Bible, we're going to be reading in chapter 15 and taking a look what God says God of furnaces promises. Now, this is an interesting passage some people try to tie to the last passage where Abraham was this Warrior and this Victor but some people think that maybe we've gotten a language a little wrong there. But here's what he said after these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in division. The word of the Lord came is not a cool. I love that phrase. Do you ever wish the word of the Lord would come to you I do and occasionally it does I'll be walking through my day and all the sudden the passage of scripture will pop into my mind. A word of the Lord comes will the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision and this is what he said fear not I am your Shield your ward will be very great. Now some people translate that weird shield and other people translate that word benefactor. Okay, mother words. I am the one that's going to do great things for you because I am in charge you're going to receive incredible things. I am your benefactor. Your reward will be very great. Now this is interesting because all of a sudden During this passage. I'll listen. It's like Abram raises his hand and says to God. I need clarification.
Any inquiries avoid this is the first time then it should have got just speaking in a mint green. Let's do it. Abram ask some questions. So we see that in verse 2. inverse to it says but Abraham said oh Lord, what will you give me for I continued childless and the air of my house is Eliezer of Damascus.
Usain how old is work? Okay. I just went on this battle and there was great reward there. I have all this stuff. You have definitely blessed me. I have more camels and I can count. There are a lot of servants in my household. I've got a lot of sheep things are going really well. But here's the reality you have blessed me beyond what I can imagine you have rewarded me, but who's going to get this stuff? How are you going to do this are you just blessing me? So I get to randomly blessed some servant in my household. Is that why you're doing this? Because you talked about this blessing and you talk about me being a great nation, but there's one thing missing. There's something missing Lord. Where's the kid? Where is the sun? I am in my nineties now. Where is this child? Sarah's not having kids the servants are having kids the camels are having kids but sheep for having kids. I'm not having kids. And so he asked for clarification saying okay God. I know what you said and I know that I am blessed by you and I know I'm even tired of in the spot that you want to bless. And you say you're going to make me a great Nations. But right now I'm thinking I'm going to end up like the Shakers. Have you ever heard of the Shakers? They make really cool furniture, but they decided that a part of their faith was it they wouldn't marry. Are there any shakers anymore? Nope? No Legacy.
Nova Legacy That's where Abram is sitting. Abram is sitting with no Legacy. So it goes on the next version behold. You have given me no Offspring and a member of my household will be right here.
Guess I'm doubting what God's doing. He's just saying, I don't know how this works. How does this work God? I think it's sometimes we are just so willing When God Says something to say, I don't get it and then just not do anything about it. I think there are students that are like that aren't there. Some of you are teachers. There are some kids that are aren't willing to say I don't understand what's going on. And the reason they're not learning is because they're not asking for clarification.
Man, we struggle with this don't lie. Cuz if there's a picture of the item that we're supposed to assemble that should be enough information, right? But Ikea understand that that is not enough. And so they give you this booklet that does not give you enough clarification either. To try to put something together.
I think all of us in life are looking for just a little clarification. And I think it's okay to go God. It's not doubt to go God and say, how are you going to do this guy? How does this work?
If one of our children came up to us, and we said I want you to mow the lawn. Meiosis, how does a motor work? Just figure it out. Go watch a video. There's a picture next to the motor. That should be enough for you. We understand that a big part of parenting is clarification, right? Are they doubting that they can mow the lawn?
They just want to know how it works.
That's what Abram is saying. God responds to a broom and says this And behold the word of God, there it is. Again the word of the Lord came to him. This man shall not be your are your very own son will be your heir. And he won't be any brought him outside and said look toward the heavens Number the Stars you are able to number them then he said so shall your Offspring be? Okay. I think Abraham still sitting go in a little bit. Okay. I was just going to work. But this next verse is a beautiful verse in Scripture. It says And he Abram believed the Lord and was counted to him. as righteousness You know before we meet Jesus Christ as our personal savior, when we explain the gospel to people that don't know Jesus yet. And we explain to them that Jesus Christ died on the cross so that every wrong thing that they ever did would be forgiven.
Sometimes people want more clarifications and they go how can this be? And so you have to give them more information and the best information we give them isn't our own ideas is it it says we say the word of the Lord says write the Bible says
But you know that the moment you came to Faith this is what took place.
But all to have received him who believed in his name he gave the right to become children of God. You see in the same way Abraham believed and it was counted to him as righteousness the moment you accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior. It's counted to you as righteousness because at that moment God forgives all of your sin and you are in right standing for God because God no longer looks at you and just sees you God looks at you through his son and sees his righteousness in you.
See, there's nothing wrong with wanting to get some clarification. But I think that sometimes we think that when we're just trying to understand how things work. We can think sometimes it's down to just like I thought Abraham was doubting. He wasn't doubting. Just wanted to understand how it works. McKay usually that happens in every one of our relationship somebody is asking for clarification and sometimes were tired and we don't want to give any clarification and we immediately assume that the other person doesn't trust us. It's not that they don't trust us. They just want understand. It's a part of every relationship. And that needs to be a part of your relationship with the Lord your relationship with the Lord should involve a lot of dialogue because occasionally God likes to do something called this. He says all things are possible through me, right? I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me then we need to raise her hand and go. How does this work? I'm not sure. I understand it. God I'm going to this situation and I know that I can trust in you and you promised to give wisdom. But right now I'm asking the question. How does this work? How can I do this thing and and we need to know that when we do that that asking for clarification is in doubt? That's a part of it. I'm real relationship with God. So God goes on and you speaks again. He said and he said to him I am the Lord who brought you from out of the Chaldeans to this place to possess.
So here he is. Abram is in this place now, he starts going up to the Canaanites and drink. God says I get this land so you're going to have to move. That's going to go. You guys going to go well? No, right. Now Abram lives there and Abram is considered a foreigner, you know, he's not local. Okay, so it's just like he's moved in there and all the containers are going you're not local and you certainly are native, you know. Because you're your father's father wasn't born here. And so he's in this situation where he's not feeling local. And he's done this amazing thing. I think about what Abraham did he basically left his nationality? And the country that was his home because God was going to turn him into a nationality and turn into a country.
But right now he's in this place that's supposed to be eventually his country and is just an alien there.
Abram need some clarification. And that's what we say. But he said oh Lord. How am I to know that I shall possess it to know that that's really what you made this promise to me, but how am I to know that I will possess this land? Haha made to know that. God said something very interesting at this point. He said bring me a heifer 3 years old and a female goat 3 years old and Aram 3 years old and a turtledove any young pigeon doesn't sound like a very good answer doesn't it? Sounds like a riddle, you know, like, you know, but the reality would God was saying is I want to take my promise to you. And turn it into a legal contract with you. Now I'm glad we don't have to do this anymore. When we went to the bank and bought the house. I'm really glad that they didn't say bring a three-year-old cow and a three-year-old goats, you know, I'm glad that they didn't say that but during this. Of time the way that you signed a contract and then amend something this would be like the handshake of that area for a very serious and strong contract is that you would take these animals and so he knew exactly what God was asking because in the next verse that says that he did with that and he brought all these and he cut them in half and Lady each half. Over against the other but he did not have the birds in half. This is a covenant. In scripture call The Cutting Covenant. And he knew exactly what God was asking to do basically what they were asking and what they would do is they would cut these animals in half and then the two people going into the contract together would walk in between each of these animals to to signify that they were making a covenant and that the Covenant was so great that if they broke the covenant What had happened to those animals should happen to them?
This is hard to understand because we live in a society right now that knows how to break contracts. Don't we? You know, everything's kind of at least everything someone temporary and there is always trying to figure out a way to get out of it. The world that some of our parents came from or maybe we even lived in at times when I lived in Indiana. We lived on a handshake. I did most everything on a handshake and that was the Covenant. I'm going to do what you said. And occasionally you would be talking to someone they be really frustrated without another person. They say well, I don't know why this is happening cuz we shook on it. We made that contract together.
But we're coming to society now. We're words don't matter as much contracts don't matter as much our promises don't matter as much and God wanted him to know how seriously he was taking this to think about this the god of heaven was saying if I do not keep my promise. I will be destroyed. Wow. That's pretty amazing. Daddy was what do you think he made he did what the Lord asked him in and then something happened. And when the birds of prey came down on the carcasses Abraham drove them away if you don't whenever we're in the midst of making a promise. Or listening to one of the promises of God. There's another voice in her head and it's a bird of prey and its trying to steal that promise. That's why I can usually you'll sit in church and somebody will give testimony to something amazing that happened in their life. And the first thing that will come in your mind is that will never happen to me. I sure wish God work that way in my life. Man, I must be cool that God answers their prayers because he isn't answering my prayer and at that moment. There's like a bird of prey and he's trying to steal the promises of God's faithfulness and his love and his care and his concern and is specialized care for each one of us and trying to say your summer outside that Circle other people receive God's favor. You are just standing a little bit outside of that. And it tries to steal that and that's what was happening here is these birds of prey we're trying to mess with the contract and and Abram had to fight. And shoo them away. In fact, it was so much work that it says that this is what happened to Abram. It says and the sun was going down in the Deep Sleep fell at Abraham and sometimes when we're in the middle of the fight the best thing that can happen to us is we take a nap. And behold a dreadful and great Darkness fell upon him. What's interesting in the Old Testament that often times when they speak about being in the presence of God is not always a joyful thing. Sometimes it's described as a frightful thing. Remember when the Israelites decided they didn't want to be in the presence of God anymore and they let Moses do it for him because it was frightful to them. So we know that you seen the special presence of the Lord. And then God speaks.
Then God said to Abram know for certain that your Offspring will be sojourners in the land that is not theirs and will be servants there and they will be afflicted for 400 years. When will I possess the land was going to be at least 400 years. Do you know what's really interesting? This describes the rest of the Book of Genesis.
This is the reality of what happens to the rest of Genesis The Exodus takes place 430 years from this time. It's not vaccinating. It goes on it says more in verse 14. He says I will bring judgment on the Nations that they serve and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. It does that not sound like The Exodus, you know, God judged Ferrell with how many plagues was at 10 that made fun of every single God that he had. And by the time that the Israelites left the did the Egyptians gave them the wealth of Egypt and got financed a whole nation in one day.
Resetting ask for yourself. You will go to your father's and peace and you shall be buried at a good old age. And they shall come back here in the 4th generation for the iniquity of the amorites is not yet complete.
In the New Testament says something really interesting. God is not willing that is patient is willing than that anyone should perish right. And so sometimes God takes makes things take longer in our lives. Because that's better for the lives of those around us.
The Israelites going to come back to this later and they should clean to it because they should realize that a part of living out the promises that God makes to each one of us is waiting.
They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, right? I waited patiently for the Lord.
I don't know what's going on in your life. And I'm sorry if that's true of your life right now. but sometimes promises include some waiting
that doesn't mean you can't go to the Lord and say
I was wondering how does this work? How Will I Know
One day when I was in my 30s. Nancy came to me and she says I've been reading this verse in the life of David. I believe this is a promise for you.
And we prayed about it. We really sense. It was a promise for me. I can remember the day I left the youth room after being youth pastor for over 20 years, and I said God I am so sorry. Because I don't think I ever live the promise. What did I do wrong? God lovingly said to me I never said the promise would take place in the youth room. That's what you decided.
And I stand in front of you today two or three weeks ago. God said remember the promise. Yeah, I got and this is kind of how I see it working out in this is no I'm I'm usually pretty literal and when I say and I I meant what I said. I said well maybe it's just not going to happen and then he looked at me and you said this? What are you doing to prepare? the promise
and I said, well, I just kind of decided that I was on the outside of a little life.
Jim you need to prepare for the promise.
You don't know what I'm going to give it. But you need to act like I'm going to give it instead of decide that I am disqualified from giving the promised. I don't know what promises God is making to you right now. But I know that we have to wait on them. And in the waiting, we can't decide that somehow we're disqualified or God has changed his mind cuz word makes it clear that God does not change his mind.
Am I early years? I got it wrong because I connected the dots and decided what the promise look like in my years lately. I've been saying well, maybe it's a cuckoo Millet of thing over time you're going to do this thing in that I can go up and come back and you did this thing know I'm going to do this thing. What are you doing to prepare for this thing? And I have to decide today that I am still going to live out the promise of my life.
Because I don't know why I'm waiting. But I know that waiting is a part of him.
When the sun had gone back down it was dark and behold a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed through the pieces.
This is really interesting because usually a contract is between how many people. 2 but in scripture we find this picture of God. Who's what a consuming fire, right? How did he lead the nation of Israel as a pillar of fire, right? And so what is happening at this moment is incredibly fascinating because Abram is asleep and dreaming. And who goes through with a contract? God walks the contract alone. I think this is really interesting because what God basically is saying at this moment is I promise to keep my promises to you and it doesn't depend on you at all because you're asleep. I put you to sleep. You're having this Vision, but you're not walking literally threw like I am at this moment. I am doing something very fascinating. I am creating not a normal contract with you. Not a normal promise with you. This is an unconditional promise. I promise that I'm going to do this even if you don't do your part I'm going to do this. And this is a beautiful picture of Jesus Christ dying on the cross for us, isn't it? That is the ultimate hiding contract. He basically said, I don't know whether or not you're going to accept me, but I'm going to die for your sins anyway.
This is an unconditional Covenant. If you come to me, I will forgive all of your sins.
But I'm going to the Cross alone for you. I'm not asking you to do something to receive the cross and that's the part that people struggle with because people are using to a contract involves two people and so will usually when people say tell me about the crossing you say it. All I have to do is believe cuz God already did everything for me and then they what they say next. Will what do I have to do? nothing You just have to believe that God did something for you so that you could have a relationship and and it isn't based on something you do. It's based on what he did. The New Covenant is like the abrahamic Covenant in this respect. It is not dependent on us. It is dependent on God. In fact, the reality is a Chris that the book of Corinthians teaches us. Some of us will do nothing in reflection of the great thing that God did for us but we will not lose our Salvation even though we have not lived the life of a obedience to the Lord. It describes this is a people that are tested by fire and come through the fire. But all that is left is smoke.
Because why because God keeps his promise.
Disregarding how we behave? How many days have you lived at Disobedience to God and still have yourself vacation because he died for all of your sins and it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with him because in the same way he made that promise Abraham that says I'm going to keep this promise. I'm going to make this I'm going to turn my promise into a covenant with you. The New Testament promise of the of the Cross. It's not a promise to Covenant. The God made with us, but instead of sacrificing animals on our behalf to make the promise.
He caught his son.
His son became the sacrifice.
So the father to keep his word.
Jesus Christ understood that you said Jesus father if there be any way. Remove this cup from me. He understood that he was going to be the sacrifice. for the Covenant that's what it says here and Hebrews and by the end by that will we have been Sanctified to the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all
so the the covenant made with Abraham becomes a whisper. Of the great Covenant that God made for every single one of us hallelujah. Praise be the lamb.
on that day
the Lord made a covenant with Abraham saying to your Offspring I give this land. From the river of Egypt to the Great River the river Euphrates the land of the key nights. The missile sites the mosquito bites the kid kid ammonites the Hittites the pizza rights the rapper Ian.
the amorites the Canaanites the girgashites and the jebusites
and you don't want This Promise is still active today. If you take a look at the picture of what is real is the little tiny postage stamps smaller than Delaware. This is a lot more land than that.
this cutting Covenant of God this unconditional Covenant of God will someday be fulfilled.
It's reason I'm a Zionist and I stand with Israel.
Because God's promise in Genesis 15.
Covenant gen16 is active today.
There's some lessons for us.
couple lessons to hear what you think number one we must seek the word of the Lord. Okay, I have times where the Lord audibly speak to me. But I have a lot more times that God speaks to me as I open up his word and oftentimes the best things he says to me when I'm lacking wisdom. Is he quotes back to me scripture that we have shared together. And so we need to seek the word of the Lord, okay.
His word is living active and we need to seek a number two.
We must question without doubting. We need to ask house instead of will use. Okay, we'll use are doubting. Will you really do that God? But if we believe that he will do it. There's no reason why we shouldn't ask for a quick clarification. He doesn't always feel the need to give it to us, but that doesn't mean it's wrong to ask. I think that we should be carrying on a dialogue with the Lord. Have you ever noticed that there should be an honesty in this relationship? He knows what you're thinking but he loves for you to say it to him. I have no idea how you're going to do this guy. And how are you going to do this? Are you going to make this happen? What is this going to look like you promised to this? How is this going to happen? How are you going to do this? 3 we must understand our covenant in Christ sacrifice.
We're coming up to Easter. And I think it's always good as you're coming up to Easter spend a little extra time and figure out what does the cross really mean. I want to re be reminded of that. What does it really mean that you rose from the dead? What are these things really mean?
Have I just taken a meaning and I I miss something. We need to understand more deeply every day. I really like they're called the ology books and my favoritest by a guy named John Piper. And the next two or three weeks is I'm preparing for Easter. I will once again read everything that he says. About the atonement for us. I want to miss out on some detail. But I want to fully understand it.
We need to the light. In the reality that God likes to make promises that appear impossible to us. We need to the light in the Hat. The Bible is full of them. This is a crazy promise. God makes a nation of two senior citizens. I mean, it's a it's an amazing process that we're talking about here. You know, that's what he did made a great nation are the two senior citizens that were dislocated from their homes and they were living in a tent isn't that that's amazing and we look at it now like it's no big deal, but that's a big deal.
We need to go to and say I have no idea what you're doing. And you seem to be promising this. Hiking Harley I have to wait. I'm going to I'm going to ask for peace in the waiting God. But what can you alone do? So think about your life right now. Which one of these things is God whispering to you today?
That are his message to you. in the midst of the life of Abraham Let's pray. Dear God, I thank you for your word. And I thank you for the real people in it.
I'm glad that Abraham was inquisitive. He was very human. He was trying to understand that you were asking of him and promising him and I pray that we would. Be like him in that.
God I don't know what your promises are that you're promising to people in this room.
But I knew I do know the Covenant that you made with each one of us. I pray right now for the people that maybe haven't come to the place that they've accepted you as their personal savior.
God with a trust. In the sacrifice of your son today. What they humble themselves and call themselves a sinner. And ask you to be their savior.
for the rest of us guide
What are you Whispering us today?
How have we decided the promise is obsolete somehow in our lives?
How have we asked the why questions instead of the how to questions?
What is your whisper to each one of us today?
God help us to surrender to that. Do not let the question stand. In the way of our relationship with you.
I'm too completely accept. Your unconditional covenants to each of us.
I pray this in your name. amen Charlie's going to lead us in the last song.
NASA / counselors to come forward
God is prompting you somehow as we're singing now or has been prompting you I encourage you to come and pray with one of us.
Let's be people. That learn to wait on our Mighty. God let Stand Together.