The Lord is our shield and exceeding great reward
He counts faith for righteousness
1 After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, Do not fear, Abram: I am your shield, and your exceeding great reward. 2 And Abram said, Lord GOD, what will you give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my estate is Eliezer of Damascus? 3vAnd Abram said, Behold, you have given me no seed: and one born in my house is my heir. 4vAnd behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, This one will not be your heir; but he that will come out of your own body will be your heir. 5vAnd he brought him outside, and said, Now look at the heavens and count the stars, if you are able to count them: and he said to him, Your descendants will be like that. 6vAnd he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. 7vAnd he said to him, I am the LORD that brought you out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give you this land to inherit it.
- Abram had reason to fear but not with God as his shield. The 4 kings that he defeated in Genesis 14 could turn to come after him.
- The word ‘Lord’ in this verse means master and husband. This is God’s sovereign dominion and possession of us all (Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. 1, p. 269).
- Like most of us, Abram focused on the one thing he wanted that he didn’t have rather than all that God had given him, or best of all, God Himself, the source of all.
- God counts faith for righteousness. Not only would Abrams seed be as numerous as the stars but the stars foretold of the promised Messiah…so will your seed be! Christ is a descendant of Abram.
- God asks us to believe the impossible because He can do the impossible.
- Psalm 145:3 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.
- Romans 4:20 He (Abraham) did not stagger at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.
8 And he said, Lord GOD, how will I know that I will inherit it? 9 And he said to him, Take me a three year old heifer, a three year old she goat, a three year old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon. 10 And he took all these, and divided them in the middle, and laid each half opposite the other: but he did not divide the birds. 11 And when the fowls came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away. 12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram; and behold, terror, great darkness fell on him. 13 And he said to Abram, Know for certain that your seed will be foreigners in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them; and they will afflict them 400 years;
- Dividing the pieces said, this is what will happen to me if I break this contract. This was the method of making contracts in ancient times.
- Animal sacrifice began with God and looked toward the great promise of Genesis 3:15.
- Each time an animal was sacrificed it showed God saying, This is me dying in your place for your sins. This is how much I love you.
- By this we know that God will keep His promises. Abram’s driving away the birds from the carcasses is symbolic of us driving away doubts.
- God foretold the Egyptian slavery before any of them were born. God allows affliction for our good.
- Ephesians 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
God judges nations
14 And I will judge that nation whom they will serve: and afterward they will come out with great riches. 15 And you will go to your fathers in peace; you will be buried in a good old age. 16 But in the fourth generation they will come here again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.
- God promised to judge the nation that would enslave them.
- God would use the hardness of slavery to make His people strongly dependent on Him.
- God’s promises give hope.
- He promised to bring them back to the promised land.
- He only destroys a people when their iniquity is full.
- We either become full of God or full of evil.
- Job 36:15 He delivers the poor in his affliction, and opens their ears in oppression.
- Isaiah 63:9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.
17 And it happened that when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a lamp of fire that passed between those pieces. 18 In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, I have given this land to your seed, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates: 19 The Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, 20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaims, 21 the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.
- One of life’s big questions is “Where am I going to live?”
- The land that God promised Abram was all of Israel, Lebanon, Iraq, 2/3 of Jordan, 1/2 of Syria, and the northern part of Saudi Arabia.
- The inhabitants of the land symbolize the enemies of our life with God—our land.
- This is therefore a promise of victory for all of us. Abram can believe God’s promises and be a bright light shining or he can doubt and be smoke in God’s nose.
- The lamp and the furnace were prophetic of God’s refining Abram’s progeny in Egypt.
- ‘The burning lamp in the tabernacle represented the Shekinah glory of God’s presence’—John Hagee.
- Isaiah 48:10 Behold, I have refined you, but not with silver; I have chosen you in the furnace of affliction.
- Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy will pursue me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
- Romans 8:31 What do we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
God is our wonderful counselor
1 Now Abram’s wife Sarai bore him no children: and she had an Egyptian handmaid whose name was Hagar. 2 And Sarai said to Abram, Look, the LORD has restrained me from bearing: Please go in to my maid; perhaps I may obtain children by her. And Abram listened to Sarai. 3 So after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife took Hagar her Egyptian maid and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. 4 And he went in to Hagar and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.
- God had promised them a son of their own in Genesis 12.
- Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself also in the LORD; and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 And Sarai said to Abram, May the wrong done to me be on you: I have given my maid into your bosom; and when she saw that she conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and you. 6 But Abram said to Sarai, Look, your maid is in your hand; do as you please to her. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.
- The word ‘wrong’ is chamac means violence or injury; the situation has turned abusive.
- Obtaining children through Hagar was Sarai’s idea. And then she blamed Abram.
- God does not cast us off when we fail.
- He judges fairly in the midst of the messes we make.
- He stays with us and shows us that He is trustworthy.
- If we are willing, He will bring us to the point where we do trust Him to do the impossible.
- Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
God finds us in our distresses
7 And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur. 8 And he said, Hagar, Sarai's maid, where have you come from? And where will you go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. 9 And the angel of the LORD said to her, Return to your mistress and submit yourself under her hands.
- God gives the best counsel for all concerned.
- Hagar needed humility. She also needed the protection and provision of Abraham during her pregnancy and the young life of her child.
- Matthew18:12-13 What do you think? If a man has 100 sheep, and one of them goes astray, doesn’t he leave the 99, and go into the mountains, and seek the one gone astray? 13 And if he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep, than over the 99 that did not go astray.
10 And the angel of the LORD said to her, I will greatly multiply your seed; it will be too many to count. 11 And the angel of the LORD said to her, Look, you are with child and will bear a son, and will call his name Ishmael; because the LORD has heard your affliction. 12 He will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he will dwell in the presence of all his brothers.
- The name Ishmael means God will hear.
- God hears our affliction.
- God is impartial.
- He gave a great far-reaching promise to Abram’s wife’s maid.
- Acts 10:34 Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 But in every nation he that fears him, and works righteousness, is accepted with him. (Remember that the righteousness that God is looking for in man is His righteousness by faith)
- Revelation 3:21 To him that overcomes I will grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and have set down with my Father in his throne.
The Lord sees us
13 And she called the name of the LORD that spoke to her, You God see me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that sees me? 14 Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered. 15 And Hagar bore Abram a son: and Abram called his son's name, Ishmael, which Hagar bore, 16 Abram was 86 years old, when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.
- The angel of the Lord that found Hagar by the well was Jesus Christ. His words show who He was. Hagar said, You God see me. He said ‘I will multiply.’
- "and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." 1 John 5:4
- Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government will be on his shoulder: and his name will be called wonderful Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
1 And when Abram was 99 years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be perfect. 2 And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly. 3 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, 4 As for me, behold, my covenant is with you, and you will be a father of many nations. 5 Your name will no longer be called Abram, but your name will be Abraham because I have made you a father of many nations.
- These events occurred 13 years after Hagar birthed Ishmael to Abraham.
- Through his life Abraham just wanted one son of his and Sarai’s. God promised much more than that.
- God promises us wonderful things.
- God reminded Abraham that He is all powerful before He made this promise.
- The word perfect means complete.
- Colossians 2:10y ou are complete in him who is the head of all principality and power:
- Revelation 2:17…To him that overcomes I will give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written that no man knows except he that receives it.
6 And I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations from you, and kings will come out of you. 7 And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your seed after you in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God to you, and to your seed after you. 8 And I will give you and your seed after you the land where you are a foreigner, all the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
- Revelation 21:7 He that overcomes will inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he will be my son.
9 And God said to Abraham, You will guard my covenant, you, and your seed after you in their generations. 10 This is my covenant that you will guard between me and you and your seed after you; Every man child among you will be circumcised. 11 Circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it will be a sign of the covenant between me and you.
- Circumcision was a continual reminder of God’s covenant and promises:
- The cut flesh is round. Therefore it is a circle to represent eternity.
- It is done to the flesh. This dedicates the flesh of the circumcised person to God.
- Once done, it can’t be undone which equals our not being able to become unsaved.
- It is at the front and center of man’s body showing we need to keep God as the front and center of our life (Deuteronomy 6:5).
- It dedicates the priority of affections in the right direction rather than fleshly pleasure seeking.
- It is the organ of perpetuation so it shows God’s intent that the covenant is passed on to children.
- Nothing needed or valuable has been lost. Everything eternal, abiding, and valuable has been gained.
12 And he that is eight days old will be circumcised among you, every male child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any foreigner that is not of your seed. 13 He that is born in your house, and he that is bought with your money must be circumcised: and my covenant will be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14 And the uncircumcised male child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.
- The vitamin K level peaks in the blood at eight days old. Vitamin K is necessary for the blood to clot.
- All the males under Abrahams influence were to be circumcised. Our lives influence those around us.
- In God’s blessing of Abraham all were blessed.
- God Almighty made us and gave us life and breath.
- We owe Him everything! Yet He requires very little of us.
- There is no life apart from God. He is the source of all life. If we do not keep His covenant we are cutting ourselves off from life.
15 And God said to Abraham, As for Sarai your wife, you will not call her name Sarai/dominating, but her name will be Sarah/princess. 16 And I will bless her, and give you a son also of her: yes, I will bless her, and she will become nations; kings of people will be from her. 17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, Will a child be born to him that is 100 years old? And will Sarah, that is 90 years old, bear? 18 And Abraham said to God, Oh that Ishmael might live before you! 19 And God said, Sarah, your wife, will truly bear you a son; and you will call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; he will beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 21 But I will establish my covenant with Isaac whom Sarah will bear to you at this set time in the next year.
- God isn’t swayed by our inferior plans but He grants the desires of our heart.
- The name ‘Isaac’ means laughter.
- God’s faithfulness is absolute.
- Isaac would become a man of faith, not Ishmael (Galatians 4:22-26).
22 And he finished talking with him and God ascended from Abraham. 23 And Abraham took his son Ishmael and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham's house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin that very day, as God had said to him. 24 And Abraham was 99 years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 25 And Ishmael, his son, was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 26 That very day Abraham was circumcised, and Ishmael his son. 27 And all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money from foreigners, were circumcised with him.
- In Genesis 14 Abraham had 318 men who went to battle with him. Abraham obeyed God immediately.
- Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself also in the LORD; and he will give you the desires of your heart.
SUMMARY: Genesis 15-17
- God is our shield and our exceeding great reward
- He counts faith for righteousness
- He finds us in our distresses
- God judges nations
- He is our wonderful counselor
- He makes us complete in Him Colossians 2:10
- The Lord sees us