1. Welcome our listening friends.
2. What a joy it is to know that you are enjoying this series of messages from the life of Abraham.
3. We are so glad to hear from so many of you.
4. In our last broadcast, we learned that fear… in one form or another comes to all of us.
5. And that fear does not come to each of us at the same time… or under the same circumstances.
6. We learned that although it might seem contradictory, there are fears that hit after a great victory.
7. There are fears that only move in… after great achievements and accomplishments.
8. The Bible reveals to us that this kind of fear must have struck Abraham.
9. That is why God said to him in chapter 1 verse 15 of the book of Genesis, “I am your shield, your very great reward”
10. Most likely by the time Abraham got home... he was devastated physically… mentally… and emotionally.
11. You will only appreciate the way Abraham felt if you have experienced what it is to have victory over Satan.
12. You will understand the drain that takes place after the victory.
13. And I said in the last broadcast that some of you may be saying, “How can you have fear after victory”
14. And I also said that the wonderful thing about our Lord is that he knows even our unspoken needs
15. I also mentioned that the moment when you and I are most vulnerable to sin is the moment after the flush of victory.
16. That is why God says to Abraham; “Don't be afraid… because I am your shield.”
17. Listen to what Abraham said in verses 2 and 3 of chapter 15 of the book of Genesis.
18. He was yearning for reassurance.
19. Let us read those two verses.
20. But Abram said, “O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?”
21. And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” (Gen 15:2-3 NIV)
22. You would think that after verse 1 where God assured Abraham not to be afraid… that Abraham would fall on his knees and thank the Lord.
23. But that is not the case.
24. In fact all you hear from Abraham… after the great word of assurance is a note of despair.
25. You might say; “that doesn't make sense.”
26. Oh, yes it does.
27. Put yourself in Abraham's place just for a minute.
28. God made a promise to Abraham…
29. and 10 years later the promise had not been fulfilled.
30. Any of us would have panicked after 10 days not 10 years.
31. Think of how embarrassing… and humiliating it is for Abraham.
32. For 10 years, Abraham had been introducing himself to people… as the man whose descendants would be as the dust of the earth.
33. Some may have asked him, “Oh Abraham… by the way… how many children do you have now?”
34. “Uh… um… none… not yet.”
35. “Oh, but God made me a promise.”
36. After ten years his neighbors were snickering behind his back.
37. As they watch him and Sarah get older… they probably begin to wonder about his state of mental health.
38. You know… when I was 19 years of age…
39. I told my Christian friends about something the Lord had promised me.
40. which seemed absolutely impossible at the time.
41. And they were genuinely… I mean genuinely, concerned about the state of my mind.
42. They went and talked with some of my family members with real concern.
43. They said they were deeply concerned about my mental health.
44. How can he pray, they asked… and claim the impossible.
45. Very simply…
46. God said it… that's all!!
47. Within 6 months God did it.
48. What probably was happening with Abraham at that point…
49. was that the battle was waging in his heart and mind.
50. And he began to ask the Lord
51. Lord… have I misunderstood your promises?
52. Lord… have I misheard you?
53. Lord… I am becoming concerned about my reputation.
54. My listening friends, listen to me very carefully, this is very important!
55. God's delays are never His denials.
56. Just because God delays the fulfillment of His promise to you does not mean He is denying that promise.
57. But you better be absolutely certain that it is God's promise… and not a promise you made in the flesh to yourself.
58. Because if it is God's promise then you can be sure of this;
59. During the waiting times… God is enrolling you in the school of spiritual growth.
60. Solomon understood this heavenly educational principle and said years later in Ecclesiastes 3:11;
61. He has made everything beautiful in its time… (NIV)
62. During the waiting process we often go through the following stages.
63. Stage number 1.
64. What is wrong with me?
65. Why God is not fulfilling His promises to me?
66. Stage number 2.
67. We question our motives.
68. why am I seeking after this thing?
69. Stage number 3.
70. We lift up our souls to the Lord and begin to agonize in prayer with Him.
71. And that's exactly where God wants us to be.
72. A few of you my radio friends might be asking:
73. “You mean God wants to see me agonize in prayer?”
74. Oh, yes sir.
75. Yes, that’s exactly what He wants.
76. When delay occurs in our lives…
77. we give the Lord much more attention than we have ever given Him before.
78. During the delay…
79. as we speak to the Lord. . . He speaks to us.
80. He begins to teach us if we have a teachable heart.
81. You make it difficult for yourself… if you consciously or unconsciously refuse to learn God’s lesson
82. until you have come to the place of agonizing before the Lord… you are not able to hear His voice…
83. or hear the things He wants to say to you.
84. In verse 3, Abraham proceeded to remind the Lord of his preferred plan:
85. Namely, that Eliezer of Damascus his servant whom he adopted will inherit him and that's just as good.
86. That was very pragmatic on the part of Abraham.
87. This was very good problem solving.
88. Abraham probably thought it would help God “save face.”
89. Is that kind of thinking right?
90. No, it’s wrong!
91. God is so patient… He is so loving and in His love and He tells Abraham No.
92. I am the God of miracles.
93. I am the God of the supernatural.
94. I am the God of the impossible.
95. I am the God of the undoable.
96. You will have a son who will come out of your body.
97. Verse 6 is a very important verse of chapter 15 of the book of Genesis.
98. Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness. (Gen 15:6 NIV)
99. It was by faith… not by works that Abraham was saved.
100. Then God does something to assure Abraham… using the very custom of those days.
101. In the days when they did not have lawyers looking over the fine print in a contract before it was signed
102. Contractual agreements were performed in a certain ritual.
103. They would take a designated animal depending on the size of the contract…
104. and they would cut it in half…
105. then arrange the pieces in such a way that between them there was an empty space.
106. That space would be like an aisle… or a corridor between the two halves.
107. The men who are making the contract would walk together between the two halves of the animals.
108. While they were walking each man would declare that… if he broke his half of the contract….
109. what happened to the sacrificed animals would happen to him.
110. To put it bluntly;
111. both men are actually sealing the covenant with their own blood.
112. If one partner broke the covenant…
113. he would have to be ready to give his life as a payment or restitution.
114. How about that for a binding agreement?
115. Some of you who have been cheated wish that this method is still operative today.
116. There was no government arbitration back then
117. Or courts of law
118. And there was no wiggling out of contracts.
119. But here in Genesis 15;
120. there was one most important twist in this covenant.
121. The Lord alone walks down that corridor.
122. The Lord alone walks between the two halves.
123. The Lord alone obligated himself unconditionally to this servant Abraham.
124. And that was the sign that Abraham was looking for.
125. Abraham had no part in the transaction.
126. Abraham had no obligation to meet.
127. Abraham did not walk between the sacrificed animals.
128. Abraham was only to trust… and God would fulfill His promises.
129. Chapter 15 closes with the Lord giving Abraham a final reminder and restating the promises.
130. my listening friends, as I leave you today I want to tell you something very important
131. you do not have to fear because the Lord is in control,
132. you do not have to be anxious because all things in your life will occur according to God’s timing,
133. you don’t have to fear because God’s delay does not mean God’s denial,
134. you don’t have to live in uncertainty because God’s covenant is unconditional.
135. In our next broadcast, we will find out what happens when our lives are lived in disobedience to God.
136. Until then, I wish you God’s richest blessings.