Genesis 15-16 B

This passage today is mega. Keep in mind that this visitation from God comes on the heels of Abram rejecting the spoils of war so that no man could claim they made him rich. He was focused on reaping the blessings of The LORD, in His way and time. The LORD responds:

“Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; Your reward shall be very great.” (15:1)

“Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” (15:5)

The LORD shows Abram that he can know for certain about all this, by ceremonially binding Himself to a covenant: passing through the sliced animal pieces, which meant back then, “may I be sliced in half if I go back on my promise.”

Everything about the LORD’s commitment to His people and blessing the nations flows from this promise. The entire saga of the Bible follows this declaration. Whenever things get grossly out of hand and we ask, “why doesn’t God just give up on them/us?!” Point back to this. God Himself would have to be sliced in half before He’d relent.

This isn’t the only important promise made in today’s chapters, though.

The LORD promises to greatly multiply the descendants of Hagar, too. He will start with Abram’s son, Ishmael, who’s name means “God hears.” What a beautiful name! What’s more, the name of the well in which Hagar is found is called “The well of the Living One who sees me.”

Ishmael is known to be the father of the Arab people. Although Hagar was mistreated by Sarai, the LORD comes to her. He sees and hears her. She’s a nobody. Probably acquired as Sarai’s dowry during the weird deception of Sarai posing as Abram’s sister in 12:16. Even if Abram and Sarai don’t know how to be a blessing to their neighbors, God will come to them, because He’s awesome even when we suck. To this day, Israelis and Arabs have beef, but God has not, and will not, reject either party. He is faithful when we aren’t.

Hallelujah!

-Bethany

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