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EXEGESIS > Old Testament > Pentateuch > Genesis > Gen. 15:1-21


The Presence and Power of God
Gen. 15:1-21

The Presence of God (v. 1)

    The Text informs us who God is!

“shield” – the word speaks of protection; God was the protector of Abram when he faced the kings allied against him in Ch. 14, and God would be his protector in the uncertain trouble that was ahead.

“But You, O Lord, are a shield for me” (Ps. 3:3)
“The Lord . . . is my shield” (Ps. 18:2)
“God is a shield to all who trust in Him” (Ps. 18:30)

See: II Sam. 22:2-3

“reward” – the word speaks of provision; Abram had refused the goods of the King of Sodom; his provisions resided in the person of God.

    The Text informs us whose He is!

Twice God uses the word “your”; God is the shield of Abram and God is the reward of Abram; “your” speaks of a personal relationship; God is these two things to Abram.

    The Text informs us what it means!

God says: “Do not be afraid”; since God Himself will protect him and provide for him, Abram has no cause for fear; in God is Abram’s security.

The Promises of God (vs. 2-21)

    Abram would have a son (v. 4)

God said: “one who will come from your own body shall be your heir”; God made this promise, and His character is at stake in keeping each of the promises He made to Abram.

    Abram would have many descendants (v. 5)

God informs him that his descendants will be like the stars of heaven, without number; God has already told him that he would be the father of “a great nation” (Gen. 12:2) and that his descendants would be “as the dust of the earth” (Gen. 13:16).

Three possibilities regarding these descendants: one, Jews only, the ethnic people of Abram; two, Jews and Gentiles; three, believers only.

It would seem that the ultimate meaning of the descendants is a spiritual people, the elect, true believers in Christ; the relationship of the two Testaments is a fundamental issue regarding this point and many other points; it is the New Testament that interprets the Old; God’s word to Abram was Soteriological and Christological.

Jo. 8:33, 39
Rom. 2:28
Rom. 4:11-12
Rom. 9:6-9
Gal. 3:7-9, 29

    Abram would have land (vs. 7, 18-21)

Divine Promise – “I am the Lord” and “The Lord made a covenant”; a promise made by God.

Specific Promise – “this land”; from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates.

Gracious Promise – “give you” and “to your descendants”; the sovereign grace of God is the explanation for the promise; the basis was not who Abram was but who God is; see: Deut. 7:7-8.  

Repeated Promise – made to Abram (Gen. 12:1, 7; 13:14-17; 15:7, 18-21; 17:8); made to Isaac (Gen. 26:3); and made to Jacob (28:13; 35:11-12); the promise was made and then repeated, with additional clarification and expansion.

Unconditional Promise – no strings were attached.

Eternal Promise – “forever” (Gen. 13:15) and “everlasting possession” (Gen. 17:8).

    Abram’s descendants would be slaves for four hundred years (vs. 13-14, 16)

The book of Exodus records the captivity of the people and the deliverance of the nation.

    Abram would die old and at peace (v. 15; see: Gen. 25:8)


See: Gen. 15:6 - The Salvation of Abraham

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