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GENESIS 15:6 "And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness."
(This verse is quoted in the New Testament five times.)

Abraham was worried because he did not have a son. He was a wealthy man with much land, herds, material goods and servants. But the one thing he lacked was someone to leave it all to. According to the custom of that time, Abraham and Sarah would have to adopt a servant and he would then become their heir. The desire to have a son had taken away all of Abraham's joy of life. God did not want Abraham to worry. God wants to give us our hearts desire, but He wants us to desire Him first. He told Abraham in verse one to "Fear not" that He was his protector and reward. God wanted to keep Abraham safe and to make him happy. Isn't that what every loving Father wants for his children? He also told Abraham not to worry about adopting a servant, that he would soon have a child of his own. He showed Abraham the stars and told him he would have so many descendants he wouldn't be able to count them.

ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD

Verse six says that Abraham believed in the Lord and it was counted as righteousness. God counted Abraham as righteous simply because he believed. All believers are considered righteous, just as Abraham was. It was his faith that was counted to him for righteousness! Not his works! God reminded Abraham in verse 7 why He brought him to this place in his life: "to give thee this land to inherit it." Abraham asked God for a sign. It is not wrong to ask God for a sign but be careful; do not ask for a sign for something trivial and thus tempt the Lord!

God told Abraham to make preparation for a sacrifice. He did exactly as God directed. When the birds began to swoop down on the sacrificial animals, Abraham drove them away. Have you ever tried to pray and have thoughts of other things intrude on your thoughts of God? This happens to everyone. We must simply drive them away and continue to center our thoughts upon Him.

"12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. 13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. 15 And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. 16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. 17 And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces."

A deep sleep fell upon Abraham. Verse 12 calls it "an horror of great darkness." This was no ordinary sleep. Abraham needed to know when he awoke that God had put him in a trance in order to show Himself and confirm His promise. God tells Abraham in his vision that:

1. His seed would be a stranger in a land that was not theirs (Egypt) and would be afflicted for 400 years.

2. Although He would allow this to happen, He would also "judge" that nation!

3. After the 400 years they would come out with great substance.

4. Abraham would live to be an old man and die a peaceful death.

5. After the fourth generation, his descendants would finally find their way back to the promised land (Canaan).

The smoking furnace is believed to symbolize the Israelites affliction in Egypt and the burning lamp God's comfort during this time; a light in the darkness; deliverance!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

1) Why do you think God counted Abraham as righteous? Do you believe God would count you as being righteous?

2) What do you believe the smoking furnace and burning lamp signified?

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