Genesis 15

Genesis 15

God’s Covenant with Abram

15 After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” And behold, the word of the LORD came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.

And he said to him, “I am the LORD who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.” But he said, “O Lord GOD, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” And he brought him all these, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other. But he did not cut the birds in half. And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.

As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him. Then the LORD said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”

When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.”


Genesis 15 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

God spoke, Abraham believed.

Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.

Genesis 15:6 NASB

I love that we see the first expression of the Gospel here between Abraham and God. Romans 4 highlights this same passage in explaining that Abraham had nothing to boast about because his righteousness was based on his faith in the Lord.

And so the promise was based on faith, in order that the promise should be guaranteed as God’s free gift to all of Abraham’s descendants—not just to those who obey the Law, but also to those who believe as Abraham did. For Abraham is the spiritual father of us all; 17 as the scripture says, “I have made you father of many nations.” So the promise is good in the sight of God, in whom Abraham believed—the God who brings the dead to life and whose command brings into being what did not exist.

Romans 4:16-17 GNB

The “faith reckoned as righteousness” passage here in Genesis is actually quoted four times in the New Testament. It is a revolutionary statement. By all accounts, righteousness cannot occur without work, but that work could not be sufficiently accomplished by man… not even close. Jesus’ work on the cross is God’s seal of delivery on His promise that began with Abraham.

Abraham’s belief was not based on circumcision (because he wasn’t circumcised until Genesis 17), nor was it based on a set of rules or rituals. God acted and Abraham followed. He didn’t just believe in God, he believed God. It ultimately comes down to the difference between knowledge and trust. The irony is that seeking a complete knowledge will always contradict faith.

Faith is “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” This means we will not experience a complete knowledge but will take God at his Word. Many scholars today debate the ins and outs of Salvation as if we can fully understand how our obedience and God’s sovereignty work together. I’m sure Abraham had questions just like we do. The point to consider is that he put aside those human thoughts to trust and believe in the promise of God and then live his life accordingly.

So, which standard will guide your life? Will you continually seek a complete knowledge that can never be found, or will you submit your heart and mind by faith to the assurance of God’s promises?

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments