Introduction: God met Abraham a fourth time, and each time God added to the promises He made.
Emptying Promise: The first meeting was in Genesis 12:1-3, when God told Abram to move out to a country God would show him, and that God would make Abram a blessing to all nations.
Defined Promise: The second meeting was recorded in 12:7 when God told Abram that he would receive all the land he could see for his descendants.
Extended Promise: Another meeting was recorded in 13:14, after Abraham rescued lot and gave tithes to Melchisedek. God promised Abraham the land allotment would be forever his for his family.
Specified Promise: This fourth meeting between God and Abraham was the record of a vision, where God made an additional promise: Your household will have great reward. Abram asks “How?” God replies, “Your seed will be many, and come from YOU!”
God met Abraham to respond to his fear of constant conflict and limited reward (15:1). Encouragement Principle: God recognizes our need to be encouraged when the rewards are distant, and offers His Word to lift us!
Abraham wanted to make sure he was doing what he could to realize the promise, so he checked with God on his plan to have heirs (15:2-3). Inspection Principle: Mature believers pass all their plans before God for the “how” of the fulfillment of His promises. God’s work must be done God’s way.
God responded to Abraham’s query with a “No!” God told Abraham that He was going to meet the need in His own way (15:4-5). Passive Principle: Because Abraham asked – he got God’s direction. Believers need not fumble through life, we can ask God for even a specific word of direction. God delights in our asking!
Abraham accepted at face value God’s promise, simply offering an “Amen!” to the plan. God accepted the simplicity of faith and set up the most intimate covenant with him, a covenant of blood (15:6-7). Affirmation Principle: God’s gifts come by His grace through the vehicle of our faith (simple acceptance and acting on them as though they were already true!).
Abraham asked, “With what covenant symbol will you make this promise?” (15:8). Model Principle: God loves models! He shows us earthly things to mirror heavenly truths!
To close our story, note: God replied, “With blood!” (15:9-21). The covenant included new prophetic details:
Your seed will be kept from the land, but return after four hundred years (13).
They will be enslaved, but then set free by God (14).
It will happen after your lifetime (15).
God had a reason for this lapse (16).
Note that God made this covenant while Abraham slept; Abraham already offered consent by obediently killing the animals. God’s most intimate promises are given in blood covenant. He made one with Abraham, but He also made one with us!