Abram Has Questions
Nº 11 - January 11
After defeating four strong kings and reclaiming everything they had stolen, Abram must have felt like he had a target on his back: “What if those kings recruit other kings and try to kill us?” But “the word of the Lord” (a reference to Jesus all through the Bible) showed up to comfort him. Abram did not have to live in fear. God would protect him.
Abram had another question. It had been ten years since God had promised him that he would have descendants and still there weren’t any (see #8). He and Sarai were so far past the time when they could have children, there must be another plan. Abram suggested one: “Why doesn’t Eliezer, my servant, become my heir? He is already in charge of my whole estate.”
The Lord showed up again and clearly explained, “No! You will have a son of your own just as God has promised.” That night he took Abram outside his tent and told him to count the stars. There was no way. There were far too many in that desert sky. “That’s how many descendants you will have,” the Lord promised. And Abram believed Him.
Abram had a third question: “But how can I be sure that I can take possession of this whole land?” He was still catching his breath after rescuing Lot. The task God had given him seemed impossible, and he certainly wasn’t getting any younger or stronger. Plus he had never been given a contract or deed to the land. If someone asked for proof of ownership, all he could say was, “God told me I could have it.”
So God chose to “sign” a formal contract with Abram using a common ceremony from that culture. It was called a “blood covenant.” Animals were killed and split apart. Both parties were then supposed to walk through the parts of the sacrificial animals to indicate that their own lives would be taken—just as the animals’ had—if they violated their part of the agreement.
Abram prepared the sacrifice just as the Lord instructed him. He had to fight off vultures that tried to confiscate the meat and complicate the ceremony before God completed His role. (Satan was hard at work—as he had been throughout Abram’s entire journey— trying to keep the Jewish nation from fulfilling God’s plan for them.) Then Abram fell asleep. In his sleep (maybe through a dream) the Lord explained to him that God’s promises weren’t all going to be fulfilled during Abram’s lifetime. As a matter of fact, there would be a 400-year gap when his descendants would be slaves in a strange country (turns out it was Egypt). But God promised to rescue them and bring them back to this special land.
Then God appeared as fire and smoke and walked through the sacrificial bodies while Abram still slept. God “signed” the contract for both of them. He was taking full responsibility for the outcome.
Do you have questions for God like Abram did? Are there things He says or does that overwhelm you at times? Don’t be afraid to ask Him for answers. But you must be willing to listen and wait for His answers.