Friday, August 16, 2013

Genesis 15

Hello Project Ezra!  This week’s reading is Genesis 15, and we will be addressing several aspects of God's character that we see in this chapter.  One claim that is often made, and sometimes even by professing believers, is that the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament are radically different, with the God of the Old Testament being harsh and angry, and the God of the New Testament being loving and mercifulBut if you really read the Old and New Testament through, you will see clearly that is not the case.  Though it is certainly true that some of the ways God has chosen to deal with His people is different under the New Covenant, that has nothing to do with God's character or nature, but rather will the progression of God's plan and fulfillment of His promises over time.  God has not chosen to reveal Himself and His purposes all at once, but gradually over time.  So this week we will be encouraging people to take a step back, so they can see God revealing His sovereignty, fulfilling His promises, and showing us that He is trustworthy through the story of Abraham.  And ultimately, we pray that they will also see His mercy and grace provided through the cross. 

All for His glory,  Dan 



BRIEF INTRO TO TEXT – You might want to give a brief introduction to the passage.  Talk about Abram vs Abraham, Issac and Jacob, how their decedents became nation of Israel, etc. 

In order to truly understand this passage, you need to understand some things about who God is 

First, our God is a Sovereign God.  That means he is in complete control over all time and eternity 

All that happens in this world, in this universe only happens because He either causes, or allows is 

Psalm 115 tell us “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. 

And Ephesians 1 reminds us again that it is He who works all things after the counsel of His will  

God had a plan from the beginning of time, and that plan continues today 

He knew the history of creation from Adam and Eve to the final judgment before you or I were born, and He knows our future as well. 

It was because He knew Abraham's future that He could tell him what his descendants would do, hundreds of years later. 

It was because he knew the future that He prophesied the exodus to Egypt, and even that Abraham's descendants would be there 400 years, which they were. 

It was because of His perfect knowledge that He could promise to bless Abraham's descendants and bring them into the promised land, which He did 

This shows us that God is a God of promise 

His actions are not random or arbitrary 

He has a plan, and His promises are based on that plan 

And God's plan cannot be thwarted by any power in heaven or on earth 

In Isaiah 46 He says “for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ 

He promised Abraham that his heir would be his own son, and he was, even though Abraham and his wife were too old for children 

He promised to give the land of Canaan to his descendants, which He did, though many hundreds of years later. 

He even promised, from the time of Adam and Eve’s rebellion in the garden (Genesis 3), and through the prophets (Isaiah 7, Isaiah 53), to bring a savior through Abraham’s family, which He did in Jesus Christ 

Because God is Sovereign and can control all things, and because God keeps the promises He makes, we can also see that God is trustworthy 

Abram did not know or understand everything God has planned, but he trusted Him, and that faith was rewarded. 

Like Abraham, and many of the great men of scripture, we will never see all the details on this side of eternity 

God may or may not choose to reveal what He has planned for your life 

But you can trust God, that what He has commanded, and where He has placed you, and what He has directed for you, is good. 

Do you believe that?  Do you believe that God is good, and has a good plan for you?  Many people don’t. 

Many people look at the world around them, and see reasons to believe God is not trustworthy, is not good, or even does not exist. 

But we all know in our hearts that He does 

Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us God has put eternity into the hearts of men 

Romans 1 says this:  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[g] in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 

And the second chapter of Romans reminds us that the work of the law is written on our hearts, and our consciences bear witness, so that we are without excuse. 


The truth is that God is Just, and we are guilty 

Because of our guilt, we deserve His justice, His punishment 

And His punishment will be carried out in a very real place called Hell, a place of fire, and darkness, and eternal pain and despair 

But though Hell is what we all deserve, we do not have to go there 

God is not only just righteous, but also good, and patient, and kind 

He is a God who is merciful and gracious 

Mercy is not getting what you deserve. In our case, that means we do not receive the justice we deserve 

Grace is receiving what we don't deserve.  We receive God's love and all His good gifts and blessings.  And one day, we will even spend eternity with Him! 

But God's mercy and grace did not come cheap.  Justice still needed to be satisfied, because God always acts consistently with His justice as well as His mercy. 

So God did not ignore our sins.  He paid for them. 

Jesus Christ, God the Son, for whom and through whom all things exist, humbled Himself and came to live among His creation 

He lived the perfect life we could never live.  Though He was a man, and was tempted in every way as we are (Hebrews 4), He never sinned once. 

Then He went to a cross and was killed, a perfect sacrifice, slaughtered to put away sin 

Isaiah 53 even tells us that it pleased the Father to crush Him, for the sake of our sin 

Then, three days later, as He has prophesied He would, He rose again from the dead 

Now, because of that sacrifice, because He paid our debt, we can go free! 

We are told that freedom is received through repentance, and believing the gospel 

That means you must abandon your sin, and trust in Christ, and in Him alone, to save you 

And when you do, God will change your heart, and you will be born again 

The Bible says you will be made a new creature.  It tells us God will remove your heart of stone, and give you a heart of flesh, one that loves Him and desires to please Him 

So trust in the sovereign God of the universe, that He will save those who trust in Him, as He has promised 
Turn to Christ today, and be saved!

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