After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision:
Do not be afraid Abram:
I am your shield,
your very great reward. Genesis 15.1
Abram believed the LORD and it was credited to him as righteousness.
When the LORD came to Abram in this vision his first response was effectively a complaint. ‘O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless? He had the promise of chapter 12 that he would become a great nation but without an heir there was no hope and heirless the succession would pass to Eliezer of Damascus his servant. But God does not renege on his promises and so to doubting Abram he reiterates the promise in this way
“Look up at the heavens and count the stars – if indeed you can count them ….. so shall your offspring be.”
And Abram believed God….
God then added “I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it”
But Abram said “O Sovereign LORD how can I know…..”
Pause and think for a moment about the flow of this amazing dialogue as the Sovereign LORD deals with his all too human servant. Then ask yourself the question ‘Am I like Abram?’
God’s word is full of promises and he is the sovereign LORD. Do we take him at his word full stop or are we like Abram, hearing, believing and then comes the but!
How can I know?
There follows an elaborate vision/ritual in which God gives Abram
‘a far-reaching vision of his descendants future destiny in the land. First, he killed five sacrificial animals. Which symbolised the people of Israel and then drove off birds of prey that would have eaten the carcasses. When the sun set he saw a smoking brazier and a blazing torch pass between the pieces. This symbolised the glory of God that would accompany Israel as they journeyed from Egypt to Canaan, in the pillar of fire and cloud. This interpretation of the animal rite is confirmed by vs.13-16 which predict the period of slavery in Egypt and the subsequent exodus. Now for the first time it became apparent that God’s timescale for the fulfilment of his promises was a long one. IVP New Bible Commentary.
We have God’s promises, many fulfilled and many yet to be fulfilled and as we echo the Psalmists question “How long O LORD?” in challenging times, we do well to remember Peter’s reminder that ‘With the LORD a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a day’ 2 Peter 3.9 and more importantly still that God has set his seal on the total reliability of his word in the life, death, resurrection, ascension and the promised return in glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are human and frail like Abram, we have doubts and questions even in the light of God’s great and precious promises but may it be true for each and every one of us that
We believe God!