Last Sunday’s message recording had a glitch and didn’t make it, so let me give you a condensed version
Do you ever wonder if maybe you heard God wrong? Or maybe you were slow in getting started, or unexpected obstacles arose, or uncontrollable circumstances arose. Maybe you’ve gone too far the wrong way. Now, you feel like perhaps you’ve lost your chance? Well Abram knew that feeling.
God gave him a clear call and a clear promise in Genesis 12: The Lord said to Abram: Go from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you 2 “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; … 7 The LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land”…
But a lot had happened since then. Abram had been through famine, war, faced Pharaohs and Kings, he had lied and cheated to protect himself. He had worshipped the Lord, had displeased the Lord. 20 years had passed, and Abram wondered, “Is the Deal still on?” “Have I missed my chance”? “Have I Disqualified myself”?
READ Genesis 15:1-7
The Word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision… Do not be afraid, I am your shield, Your reward will be very great.
There are some important truths for us to consider, First:
1. Don’t Settle for Less than the Vision of God
Don’t Be Afraid
- Don’t Let Fear make You impatient
Don’t in impatience make your own way when the promise seems “slow” in coming to pass. God does not delay, he is not slow, that’s what 2 Peter 3:8-9 teaches. God’s clock runs differently from ours, and it also runs PERFECTLY. Fear is often the issue and is manifested in Lack of Trust
God says, “do not be afraid, I am your shield, and great reward“
We talked about fear a few weeks ago. Fear is based on lies we believe:
I’m alone – no one knows
I’m unable – I can’t
I’m uninformed – I don’t know how
I’m unloved – no one cares
Those are lies, but we think they are true… Yet God says: DO NOT BE AFRAID
God says here: “DON’T be Afraid.” How do we fight fear? With FAITH!
- Make Sure the Path Leads you to God’s Vision
God had promised him a “great nation” and “offspring”. Abram thinks that he must have “heard God wrong” or “missed his chance”, so he needed to find another way. I don’t think he was mad at God, but just resigned himself to doing things a different way.
You have given me no children… So a servant … will be my heir
He was going to make Eliezer his “son” and heir. Eliezer was a good man, Abram’s most trusted and faithful servant. This was a “good plan”, but Eliezer, good as he was, was no more than a SUBSTITUTE for God’s Best!!
In his book, “Good to Great“, Jim Collins says “Good is the enemy of great.”
“We don’t have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don’t have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life. The vast majority of companies never become great, precisely because the vast majority become quite good — and that is their main problem.” Collins writes, “That good is the enemy of great is not just a business problem. It is a human problem. If we have cracked the code on the question of good to great, good schools might become great schools. Good newspapers might become great newspapers. Good churches might become great churches.”
God’s path is always GREAT
- Be Honest About Your Reservations
Sometimes we get Stuck because we won’t be honest about where we are. We say the right thing. Make appearances of doing the right thing, but aren’t honest with God about our reservations, frustrations, fears, anger, with others and even with God.
V2 – Abram says, Lord God, what can you give me, since I am childless… Look, you have given me no offspring, so a slave born in my house will be my heir.
Abram doubts his ability not God’s ability. “Lord I’ve been willing, I left my hometown, I’ve come with you on this journey, but here we are, 20 years later, and we are past the opportunity. You didn’t give it and I can’t do it.”
If you’ve come to the end of your rope… if you’ve tapped out your resources… if you no longer have anything to offer… Then maybe God has your right where he needs you.
2. Take a Second Look at God’s Vision
I Am Your Shield
15:4 now the word of the Lord came to him… this one will not be your heir; instead, one who comes from your own body will be your heir.
When God gives us a word, it may seem impossible, but if it is God’s word, he’s not looking for our help, or a different plan. He’s not looking for our permission to change the process.
If it seems unbelievable, that’s what God does.
- Step Outside The Tent
Sometimes it’s hard to see from INSIDE. It’s hard to see past the “reality”.
Abram looked around the tent and all he could see was no children, no blessing, no fulfillment of the vision. Inside the tent, you can only see so far. Inside the tent our view is limited, our imagination is limited. Inside the tent you are blinded from seeing the beauty of the vision.
- God took him outside the Tent
- An Unimaginable vision of God.
V5 Look at the Sky.
Stop looking at what is NOT and look at what IS. Look at what God has already done, and imagine what he can do.
“Count the Stars“
– you can only get a glimpse, the gist, an idea, but you can’t even understand it. It’s imagined that IF he COULD count the stars visible they would number more than 4000, but in reality the stars in the field of vision would be more than 50,000.
If you are able to count them… your offspring will be that numerous
Abraham’s offspring included those who would be his by family birth. But they also included those spiritually who would follow his way. Those who would become “sons of Abraham”, Paul called them.
If you are able to count them…
You can count the apples in a tree. And you can count the seeds in an apple. But who can count the apples in a seed? Until the story of life is over, you never can count the apples in that one seed.
God’s ways truly are higher than ours
Isaiah 55:8–9 (CSB)
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways.” This is the Lord’s declaration. 9 “For as heaven is higher than earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
- The Vision of God will be glorious and beautiful
- His Vision will inspire others who view it displayed in You
3. You Can Believe The Promise of God
Your Reward Will Be Great
The only thing that God required of Abram was
- Believe and Walk in the Promise
The “currency” that Heaven recognizes is FAITH
Hebrews 11:1 (CSB)
1 Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.
Then Hebrews 11, lists the “Hall of Fame of Faith”. It tells the story of those Saints of Old who were faithful to follow God. None of them were perfect, but they were full of Faith. Not full of excellence, not full of strength, not full of talent, or so many things we might list. But they had FAITH.
And then Hebrews 12 continues
Hebrews 12:1–2 (CSB)
1 Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, 2 keeping our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
How do we join the Hall of Fame of Faith? Were they “SUPER-SPIRITUAL”? No, they were real, they struggled, they waivered, they fell down.
“Abraham believed and it was credited to him as righteousness”
believed – means confirm/trust
credited – parallel to a bookkeeping transfer, like an item is moved from one column to another. Abraham’s faith is moved into the column of Righteousness
Romans 4:17–21 (CSB)
17 As it is written: I have made you the father of many nations— in the presence of the God in whom he believed, the one who gives life to the dead and calls things into existence that do not exist. 18 He believed, hoping against hope, so that he became the father of many nations according to what had been spoken: So will your descendants be. 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body to be already dead (since he was about a hundred years old) and also the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20 He did not waver in unbelief at God’s promise but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 because he was fully convinced that what God had promised, he was also able to do.
He believed based on the Power and Faithfulness of the One making the promise
- See it as already completed
Paul speaks of us as believers in Romans 8 and says that those he “foreknew, he predestined, called, justified and glorified” All of those things are in the Past Tense, COMPLETED. Before we ever knew, it was already true in God’s mind.
- Live in it until God brings it to fulfillment
Abraham so fully believed here; that years later when he was called to Sacrifice Isaac, he carried on without even a doubt because he believed God was going to fulfill his promise, and it wasn’t hinging on Isaac, but on God.
Before Faith flowered, Abraham saw God’s promise based on his own ability, but AFTER Faith was credited as Righteousness, he lived ACCORDING to it, then he knew That the promise wasn’t based on him, it wasn’t on Isaac, the Promise was Based ON GOD the Giver of the Promise.
- Faith is what pleases God.
Everything else is a byproduct of the fact that you believe him.
John 6:27–29 (CSB)
27 Don’t work for the food that perishes but for the food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set his seal of approval on him.” 28 “What can we do to perform the works of God?” they asked. 29 Jesus replied, “This is the work of God—that you believe in the one he has sent.”
If you’re current situation doesn’t seem to fit the vision, trust the God of the vision in spite of the nature of the circumstance.
- Remember what he’s already done for you
Abram had to become a NOBODY before God could work through him.
“I brought you From…”
Oh my don’t forget where you have been, from wince you come
Ur was a place of false worshipers, idol worshipers, it was the area of Nimrods people.
I brought –
You didn’t get to God by anything you have done
I brought you
You didn’t leave because you thought of it
I brought – yatsa = to come, to go forth
I brought you FROM
– The heart of the message of the Gospel is “REPENT” – come FROM where you are …
I the Lord brought you from Ur… TO GIVE you this land to possess
Oh yes, Lord. The call of God is based on HIS Promise, on His Power, Based on his GRACE
To give you this land to POSSESS
Nehemiah 9:7–8 (CSB)
7 You, the Lord, are the God who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans, and changed his name to Abraham. 8 You found his heart faithful in your sight, and made a covenant with him to give the land of the Canaanites…
God says, “I wanted to save you because I had a plan that included YOU
God says, “because of my power I delivered and continue to deliver you”
He didn’t have to do anything, but it was his GRACE, working in Abram’s life that gave him what he didn’t deserve. He brought him to a place of promise and blessed him over and over.
Will you go Outside the Tent with God?
Jeremiah 31:16–17 (CSB)
16 This is what the Lord says: Keep your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for the reward for your work will come— this is the Lord’s declaration— and your children will return from the enemy’s land. 17 There is hope for your future— this is the Lord’s declaration— and your children will return to their own territory.
Will You Believe?
Walk in Faith?
Don’t Be Afraid – BELIEVE
I Am Your Shield – Rest In Me
Your Reward Will Be Great –– I Have Your Reward – I Am Your Reward – Your Reward is GREAT