Journey through the Book of Genesis with me. The plan is simple. Read ONE chapter a day. Blog or journal 5* things you learned that you previously didn't know and ask 5* questions about the chapter that you'll ponder all week. Let's go!
** You'll probably learn way more than 5 things and have more than 5 questions about each chapter. That's totally fine. The more the merrier!
Question 1: Why did Abram cut all the animals in half but NOT the birds? (verse 10)
Question 2: What was the significance of God passing as a “smoking fire pot and flaming torch” between the animal pieces? In a later event in Abram’s life, God shows up as an actual person (Genesis 18). Why in this form, now?
Question 3: Psalm 104:2 says, “The LORD wraps himself in light as with a garment”. Accounts of God’s throne in heaven also describe Him as being clothed in blinding light, so why does a “thick and dreadful darkness” (v.12) go before Him?
Question 4: When God tells Abram about the 400 years of his descendants sojourning as “servants” in a “land that is not theirs, was this negotiable? Could Abram have pleaded with God for this NOT to happen? Could the years of slavery been avoided or was it an inevitable event?
Question 5: Since this promise of a land, an offspring, great wealth and influence has been reiterated several times by God in different ways, why does Abram become so impatient by the next chapter that he tries to initiate the fulfillment of the promise on his own (in an act that would backfire on him and his descendants for ages)? Reminder: Godly men are still human and prone to stray.
WHAT I LEARNED
Insight 1: God’s encouragement and promise to Abram in his vision must be connected to the events of Genesis 14. Abram had just attacked a larger army and plundered it. Chances are, this army would regroup and mount a counter attack, hence Abram and his clan had reason to be on constant alert and fearful of retribution. Secondly, Abram had just turned down great wealth from the king of Sodom (Genesis 14:21-24), choosing to trust that God would be his provider. It’s in light of these two events that God’s word in verse 1 must be heard, “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” In other words, “I gotchu, Abram! Imma fight for you and imma make you rich beyond anything you could have received from any earthly king!”
Insight 2: What great freedom Abram had in his relationship with God! In verse 2-3, Abram sounds like a mouthy-kid mouthing off to his parents whom he knows love him no matter what. “Abram said, “Lord God, what reward will You give me, since I am [leaving this world] childless, and he who will be the owner and heir of my house is this [servant] Eliezer from Damascus?” 3 And Abram continued, “Since You have given no child to me, one (a servant) born in my house is my heir. (AMP)”
Lord, help us become more real and honest in our conversations and prayers to you. Besides, your word says, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes,” (Hebrews 4:13 – NLT), so it’s kind of pointless to hold back in prayer! Grant us, O Lord this kind of intimacy with you.
Insight 3: Abram has heard this same promise from God several times, perhaps it’s starting to feel a little rote? (Since Sarah was still barren?). So God gives Abram a visual illustration he won’t soon forget, (verse 5) - “And the Lord brought Abram outside [his tent into the night] and said, “Look now toward the heavens and count the stars—if you are able to count them.” Then He said to him, “So [numerous] shall your descendants be.” This seems to drive the point home, which then explains why the next verse says, “Then Abram believed in (affirmed, trusted in, relied on, remained steadfast to) the Lord;” How encouraging this moment would have been!
What visual illustrations has God given you lately to remind you that He WILL bring to fruition what He promised long ago to do in your life? God will often state a promise with great certainty, so much so that we are convinced it’s going to happen in the next few weeks, or months; but in reality, its fulfillment may not be for several years, possibly decades. Though Abram was reassured that he would have an offspring, Isaac was not born for another 15 years.
Insight 4: Just as Christians are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (imputed righteousness), so the Old Testament saints were saved through faith. Genesis 15:6, “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:30, “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God--that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” Abram is not being faithless, this appears to be a doubt rooted in hope rather than a doubt rooted in skepticism.
Insight 5: Abram, still feeling great freedom in his relationship with God, switches from his concerns about having a kid, to concerns about someday inheriting the land; Verse 8 – “But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?” (This is a legit concern because Abram not only does not have a title deed to the land, but the inhabitants were still living on the land). This then explains why God gives him an even more concrete visual illustration of his promise (verse 9 & 17).
Insight 6: Having grown up in Nigeria, the list of items God tells Abram to gather (“a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon”) sounds like something a voodoo priest would ask his clients to bring; yet, God has His reasons and Abram got the point (a contract is about to be drawn up). Abram knew enough (without being told) to split all the animals in half so God would come and walk through it (God is essentially saying, “If I renege on this deal, let my fate be as the fate of these slaughtered animals.”). This was God’s covenant promise, as in, its fulfillment was completely dependent on God’s power to bring it to fruition.
Insight 7: Verse 13 is an odd verse because it’s a gloomy prophecy in the midst of what is otherwise a greatly encouraging promise. Yet, it is an early warning of the 400+ years the Israelites would be in bondage in Egypt (Exodus 12:40–41). Did Abram comprehend what this even meant?
Insight 8: God was going to drive the Amorites out of the land of Canaan in the future so the Israelites (Abram’s descendants) could have it as their home. At the present moment, however, the Amorites haven’t yet pushed God’s wrath beyond the line of no-return. Are we as a nation (USA, Nigeria) near that line before God?
Husband. Dad. Pastor. Nigerian American. Storyteller. Aspiring Prayer Warrior. Steak Lover. Follower of Jesus Christ reminding you that God the Father still loves you.