Fear Exposed. Day twenty-five...
It is critical to learn how to question God, free from fear. Just because we have questions does not mean we lack faith. Just because we have questions does not mean we doubt God.
God's promises are, generally speaking, outrageous to the human mind. Supernatural solutions are simply beyond the scope of human intellect. To believe God for a healing when the medical community has sent you home to live out your last days, is an outrageous expectation. To believe God for a restoration of your marriage, when all the counselors have told you that divorce is unavoidable, is an outrageous expectation.
But every day, all over the world, God delivers on outrageous promises.
If you are in the middle of believing God for an outrageous promise, then that promise has, obviously, not yet been fulfilled. So don't be afraid to ask God questions. The questions you ask can often reveal the action God has taken on his part and the action you need to take on your part.
And he said, “Lord GOD, how shall I know that I will inherit it?” (Genesis 15:8 NKJV)
God answered Abram's question with the action Abram needed to take.
The LORD told him, “Bring me a three‐year‐old heifer, a three‐year‐old female goat, a three‐year‐old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” (Genesis 15:9 NLT)
How was God's request directly related to Abram's question?
It wasn't obviously related. But each of these animals would later be used in the sacrifices God required of the Israelites as a covering for their sin.
So Abram presented all these to him and killed them. Then he cut each animal down the middle and laid the halves side by side; he did not, however, cut the birds in half. (Genesis 15:9–10 NLT)
Abram surely understood the practice of covenant, because he divided the heifer, the goat, and the ram. And then he made a path between the halves and the two birds without any obvious instruction from God. I believe Abram knew a covenant was about to be made, so he did all he knew to do. And while Abram was protecting the carcasses of the animals from the fowls and waiting on God to make the next move, God put Abram to sleep.
Please note: God was still in the process of answering Abram's question. But in answering his question, God was answering questions Abram did not ask. Do not be surprised if God answers your questions with answers to questions you didn't ask. Only in hindsight do we realize we've often asked the wrong questions. It's a normal part of growing spiritually.
God then revealed to Abram some of the trouble his descendents would face before seeing this promise fulfilled:
- They would not live in this Promised Land initially. (See Genesis 15:13.)
- They would be treated as slaves in Egypt for four hundred years. (See Genesis 15:13.)
But God reassured Abram that while these weapons against the Israelites would form, they would not prosper:
- His descendents would leave the nation with Egypt's wealth. (See Genesis 15:14.)
- His descendents would re‐enter this Promised Land after the approximate 400 years of slavery in Egypt. (See Genesis 15:16.)
And God promised Abram that he would go to his fathers in peace, at a good old age. (See Genesis 15:15.)
After the sun went down, a smoking furnace and a burning lamp passed between the pieces. (See Genesis 15:17.)
I believe God went before Abram in the smoking furnace and the burning lamp, in the same way He would go before Abraham's descendants in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night (see Exodus 13:21). As God walked between the pieces He was fulfilling His part of a blood covenant with Abram.
Please note: At least thirteen years later, God required circumcision by Abram and his descendants as a sign of a blood covenant. [See Genesis 17:10–14.] But at this time there is no record of Abram walking between these pieces, which makes for an unusual covenant, because only one party was involved in the execution. And by definition, a covenant has to be performed by both parties.
Can you think of another blood covenant God made with man in which God was the only party involved in the execution of the covenant?
Of course, I'm referring to Cross.
This blood covenant between God and Abram is just an amazing event in history, taking place long before the Law was given to Moses. God answered Abram's question, “How shall I know…?” by executing a type of the covenant Jesus would make with man when He shed His own blood.
This new covenant of grace (made possible by Christ's death, burial, and resurrection) could only be performed by one party—God Himself. There is no performance requirement for the other party.
We cannot perform this covenant of grace. We can only accept it. (The covenant is already there for the taking, but is automatically rejected by anyone who does not intentionally accept it.)
Think about it. When we're in the middle of a situation too big for a human solution, God reveals His promise to us. And although we believe God, His promise seems absolutely unbelievable in human terms. So we ask Him, “How…?” And His answer, while it may be packaged in different ways, is always the same:
“By My grace….”
Have a good day,