The Word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, which is a very rare word coming to true prophets of God. There are times when the Word of God jumps out from the Bible and also comes to us from the Pulpit. If you read the Bible attentively, knowing who you are, it moves you to sorrow.
The prophets knew that what they heard from God was His word.
Consider the following from the passage before us:
- God’s Tender Reassurance
He said to Abram: “Do not be afraid.”
A few possibilities for Abram being afraid:
a. Abram having to again fight against the four kings.
b. The fear of the Lord. To not have it is to be committed to a life of folly.
The fear God have these ingredients:
(i) An accurate grasp of God’s character – infinite, high, sin-hating, omnipresent, almighty.
(ii) A pervasive sense of the nearness and presence of God.
(iii) A constant awareness of our duty to God – to love Him constantly with all we have.
Examples: Peter, Paul, John.
Don’t fear, all you who are truly sons of Abraham, no matter how much you have messed up. Our God comes to us sweetly saying “Do not be afraid, I am your shield.” The Lord of hosts committed Himself to be Abram’s shield!
God is like a mighty tower to us – a nuclear bomb shelter. The Lord delights to defend us.
c. God said that He Himself is Abram’s reward – His glorious eternal presence.
- Abram’s Troubled Response
Abram was wrestling with doubt, as if crying ‘Lord I believe, help my unbelief!’
He makes the problem clear: “I am childless and can do nothing about it – any fruitfulness must come from You, O God!”
God answered Abram that a son will come forth from his own body – it would be a spiritual progeny. He preached the Gospel of the coming Messiah in whom we must trust as well.
All who believe in Him are going to heaven and will see Christ as He is.
- Abram’s True Righteousness
Abram knew that it was the Creator who spoke to him. Something extraordinary happened in Abram, a sinner, who were justified because he believed in and trusted God. He looked away from his own helpless state and looked to God’s mighty, gracious promise.
Abram’s faith in the Lord was credited to him as righteousness. That’s the only way in which we become righteous today – we entrust ourselves into the safe keeping of God. If you reject that way and work for your justification, you’re trying for God to owe you something. If you succeed then you can boast before men and God: “I did this and God did that in return.” Who can say that? If Abram had worked to earn his justification then he would not be justified by God’s grace.
Justification is not a progressive work of God. It comes to helpless people who trust in God’s promises – trusting Him for time and eternity.