In Genesis chapter 15 we are privileged to “overhear” Abram talking with God. It is in this chapter that God establishes his covenant with Abram that will essentially be for the Israelite nation and this happens after Abram rescues Lot from the King of Sodom and refuses to take any material possessions back with him since he is only interested in the people of Lot’s family and home. Abram’s reasons blew me away though…. he wouldn’t take any possessions because he didn’t want anyone to be able to boast that they had made him wealthy. He wanted it to be clear to anyone that his wealth came from God.
So chapter 15 opens with “after this” and then proceeds to record a beautiful conversation between Abram and the Lord that ends in the covenant being established.
But although the big thing here is the covenant being given, let’s not overlook the smaller things to be gleaned within this chapter. One thing that strikes me in the Old Testament is how God is portrayed as a person in these stories. We can clearly see God’s hand working and his active role in the life of mankind. Since He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, we can trust that he is just as involved in our lives today as he was in Abram’s day.
God initiates this conversation telling Abram not to be afraid and that He is his shield and great reward. This confuses Abram because he has no children and culturally children were seen as the greatest reward. Obviously, this has been weighing on his mind because he is concerned about the one who currently would inherit his estate.
Abram engages God and asks Him about this, but we can see the reverence that he has for the Lord as he begins with “Sovereign Lord…”
And God answers, not only with the answer but with an example. It is here that God shows Abram the night sky and reveals to him that his descendants will be as numerous as the stars. He also gives Abram the land where they are, but remember that Abram is passing through because he is already obeying God’s command to “go to the land I will show you.” (12:3)
And Abram asks God “how can I know I will gain possession of it?” again addressing him with “Sovereign Lord”. I would imagine after wandering and traveling with nothing to go on other than a vision from God, he would be searching for some more tangible evidence.
So God initiates the sacrifice that will produce the covenant. He commands Abram to bring him some specific animals, which Abram does and prepares, and so the covenant is given.
Looking closer at this conversation, we see a beautiful display of Abram talking with the Lord and bringing his concerns to Him while asking for clarification. He’s not presenting a request, he is working through a concern and seeking God’s plan for his life. And we see the Lord answering Abram above and beyond just verbal answers. God shows him the answers he seeks.
Abram’s conversation with the Lord inspires belief. In the middle of the conversation, the writer pauses to insert that even before Abram asked how would know he would gain possession of the land, he believed God. In verse 6 we read:
And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
That is pretty amazing. Because of his belief, he is considered righteous in God’s eyes.
Reading through this conversation, I was reminded of the command to pray without ceasing given in the New Testament and how that really points to an ongoing conversation- talking with God. With, instead of to, just like Abram did with God here.
If we always just ask God to do something, presenting requests, we only leave room for yes, no or maybe answers and are simply talking to God. That leaves so much room for doubt and unbelief. I believe our God is just as alive and present today as He was in Abram’s day and so we can talk with him.
Sharing our concerns in this life and in relationships, processing what we are reading in scripture or hear in the news, and acknowledging His blessings in our lives are ways to talk with God. And talking with God allows us to receive his explanations and revelations, now given through the Holy Spirit.
Talking with God surely brings about belief, strengthens our faith and can be an incredible blessing in our lives. I am just loving this study of Genesis with the Good Morning Girls and taking the time to get a closer look at the seemingly familiar stories!