Friday, October 4, 2013

A Lasting Inheritance

In Genesis 15:2, Abram complained about being childless, having no seed or heir. Abram understood the promise as being related to the person who was to spring from his family, in whom all the nations of the earth should be blessed. He wandered how the promise could be fulfilled, when there was not even a person in his family that would have the natural right to his property. He questioned, was a stranger to receive his inheritance-the steward of his house, Eliezer of Damascus? However, "... the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, this shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir (15:4)." God assures Abram that as the stars are impossible for him to count, so shall his posterity be, and it would all stem from his legitimate off-spring, and Abram believed in the Lord!

 This Old Testament scripture is at the heart of our Christian doctrine-the doctrine of justification by faith. It is the foundation of the atonement made by the Son of God. Abram put his faith in Jehovah and he attributed it to His righteousness. The only act involved was that of his mind and heart, no work of any kind. No works of Abram could merit the salvation of the whole human race. Abram became a partaker of God's promise and blessings through faith.

In our lesson, Genesis 15:7-21, the LORD gives Abram assurance by reminding him that He is the one who brought him out of the land of Ur of the Chaldees. HE is the one who gave him the land for his inheritants. In verse 8, Abram appears to be expecting some sign the Lord gives him instructions to follow, telling him what offerings to bring and sacrifices to make. The list of animals given to Abram for sacrifice was consistent with that given in the Mosaic Law, which typified the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. According to Adam Clarke Commentary, the animals God ordered Abram to take are compared in the Scriptures to idolatrous nations (Psalm 22:12, Daniel 8:20, Daniel 8:21); but the Israelites are compared to doves (Song of Solomon 2:14). The division of the carcasses denotes the division and extermination of the idolatrous nations; but the birds not divided shows that the Israelites are to abide forever.

For whatever purpose a covenant was made and ratified by the sacrifice offered to God, and the passing (a furnace of smoke and a lamp of fire) between the divided parts of the victim, which signified that each agreed, if they broke their agreements would submit to the punishment of being cut asunder. The burning lamp was symbolic of God's Divine presence. The sacrifice was required to make atonement to God, while the death of the animal signified to the contracting parties the punishment to which they exposed themselves, should they prove themselves unfaithful. As Abram wait for the manifestation of God, he guarded his offering, so it was not to be polluted or devoured.

Abram fell into a deep sleep, where God designed "a terror of great darkness" expressive of the affliction and misery his descendant experienced for four hundred years in bondage, in Egypt. God let Abram know that He judges the nation they served, causing plagues and destruction, and will bring His people out with immense wealth. God assures Abram that his soul will come unto thy fathers in peace and he will have a good long life. Abram lived to be one hundred seventy-five years old (Genesis 25:7). The covenant of Jehovah with Abram that day assured him that "To thy seed I have given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Phrat."
With faith like that of Abram, we, too, can be assured of God's promise, "and thou comest in unto thy fathers in peace..."

No comments: