Glory to Jesus Christ!

 

Scriptural Reflection (My comments are in Bold)

 

March 31, 2020

 

 

Genesis 15:1-15

 

Some time later, the word of Yahweh came to Abram in a vision: Do not be afraid, Abram! I am your shield and shall give you a very great reward. 2 ‘Lord Yahweh,’ Abram replied, ‘what use are your gifts, as I am going on my way childless? … * 3 Since you have given me no offspring,’ Abram continued, ‘a member of my household will be my heir.’ 4 Then Yahweh’s word came to him in reply, ‘Such a one will not be your heir; no, your heir will be the issue of your own body.’ 5 Then taking him outside, he said, ‘Look up at the sky and count the stars if you can. Just so will your descendants be,’ he told him. 6 Abram put his faith in Yahweh and this was reckoned to him as uprightness. 7 He then said to him, ‘I am Yahweh who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldaeans to give you this country as your possession.’ 8 ‘Lord Yahweh,’ Abram replied, ‘how can I know that I shall possess it?’ 9 He said to him, ‘Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old she-goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove and a young pigeon.’ 10 He brought him all these, split the animals down the middle and placed each half opposite the other; but the birds he did not divide. 11 And whenever birds of prey swooped down on the carcases, Abram drove them off. 12 Now, as the sun was on the point of setting, a trance fell on Abram, and a deep dark dread descended on him. 13 Then Yahweh said to Abram, ‘Know this for certain, that your descendants will be exiles in a land not their own, and be enslaved and oppressed for four hundred years. 14 But I shall bring judgement on the nation that enslaves them and after this they will leave, with many possessions. 15 For your part, you will join your ancestors in peace; you will be buried at a happy old age. [1]

 

Before we start today’s reading on Genesis 15, we will first look at a summarization of Genesis 14:1- 24 We need to know the background that leads into today’s Scriptures.

 

War between rulers (Kings) of city states for the most part. It is not clear if they were only city states or possibly involved kings of larger empires (countries) Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim, (latter becomes Persia). These four kings made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboim, and the king of Bela (Zoar). So, we have 4 kings against 5 kings.

 

The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are sacked. Lot was taken prisoner along with all his goods. Lot had moved into Sodom by this time. Remember in Mondays Scriptural Reflection, the Scriptures told us Lot pitched his tent to wards Sodom, he lived right at the gates of trouble. Here we are told in Genesis14:12, Lot is living in Sodom and is taken prisoner to those who sacked Sodom. Lots property, his many flocks and all his herdsmen and servants are also taken captive. Lot moved into Sodom; the rest stayed out in the country side.

 

A fugitive having escaped, came to Abram and told him, Lot and all he possessed had been taken. Abram with the men born in his house, 308 men went in pursuit of the raiding army and defeated them, north of Damascus. Abram brings back Lot and all his possessions, also the women, and the people. Abram’s forces defeated Chedorlaoomer and the kings who were with him.

 

The king of Sodom went out to meet Abram in the valley of Shaveh. The king of Salem (later called Jerusalem), Melchizdedek, brought out bread and wine to Abram. Bread and wine symbols of the Holy Eucharist.

 

Who is this is this king Melchizdedek? He was both king and a priest of the Most High God. Milchizedek is a symbol of Christ, being both king and High priest. His name means king of righteousness. The people of Salem knew the one true God, the same God with whom Abram was in covenant with, we learn from this that there were people who still believed in the true God. These people of Salem did not fall into idol worship as did the other nations. Under the king priest Melchizedek, the people of Salem were Godly. The Orthodox church makes mention of Melchizedek during various services.

 

Melchizdedek blesses Abram, Genesis 14:19-20. Abram gave Melchizadek one tenth (a tithe) of all the goods that were taken in battle. This is one of the places in the Scripture that refers to tithing, giving a tenth of all your income to the Lord (church). Abram’s tithe, gift given to Milchizedek, a priest of God was done out of gratitude to God for the victory over the enemies and for granting sanctuary.

 

Now the king of Sodom is here also, and he wants Abram to take the spoils of war for himself. Abram refuses because he does not want the king of Sodom to later say to people, he had made Abram rich. Nor did Abram take anything to avoid being obligated to the king of Sodom. Abram’s reliance was on God, not an earthly king. The only thing Abram did allow was the food for his men, who had just won the battle.

 

15 Some time later, the word of Yahweh came to Abram in a vision: Do not be afraid, Abram! I am your shield and shall give you a very great reward. 2 ‘Lord Yahweh,’ Abram replied, ‘what use are your gifts, as I am going on my way childless? … * 3 Since you have given me no offspring,’ Abram continued, ‘a member of my household will be my heir.’[2]

 

Abram was 75 when he left his homeland. He is probably about 85 years old and his wife, now about 75 years old. Well after the years of childbearing. Is Abram having doubts? God promise an heir from his own body and of his wife. We all have doubts at times, even Abram a man blessed by God. Abram then asks the Lord about making Eliezer of Damascus, born of his house, (from the people brought with him when he left his homeland) to be made his heir apparent, (adoption). It was the custom of the wealthy at that time, who did not have their own children, to adapt and make that person their heir.

 

4 Then Yahweh’s word came to him in reply, ‘Such a one will not be your heir; no, your heir will be the issue of your own body.’ 5 Then taking him outside, he said, ‘Look up at the sky and count the stars if you can. Just so will your descendants be,’ he told him.[3]

 

God reaffirms Abram, that he will have his own son from his wife.

Once again God confirms the covenant with Abram, and once again God tells Abram, his descendants shall be as numerous as the stars. Abram believes God.

 

6 Abram put his faith in Yahweh and this was reckoned to him as uprightness. 7 He then said to him, ‘I am Yahweh who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldaeans to give you this country as your possession.’ 8 ‘Lord Yahweh,’ Abram replied, ‘how can I know that I shall possess it?’ 9 He said to him, ‘Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old she-goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove and a young pigeon.’ 10 He brought him all these, split the animals down the middle and placed each half opposite the other; but the birds he did not divide. [4]

 

Abram asks God, how shall I know that I should inherit the land? God demonstrates that His word, His promise, His covenant, given to Abram is true. God instructs Abram to take a heifer, a she goat, a ram, all three years old, a turtledove, and a pigeon. Cut in two all the animals except both birds and lay them each opposite each other. The small birds each opposite each other also. The understanding is this – if anyone breaks the covenant, the promise made between to people, may this happen to the covenant breaker.

 

11 And whenever birds of prey swooped down on the carcases, Abram drove them off.[5]

 

Abram had to fight with the birds coming down to eat the animals, the symbol of God and his covenant. This is what happens to us, when we pray and are attempting to walk closer with God. The devil or evil people seek to destroy our covenant, our relationship with God. We like Abram, must continually shoo away the birds, shoo away the devil, the evil that tempts us not to follow God.

 

12 Now, as the sun was on the point of setting, a trance fell on Abram, and a deep dark d15 For your part, you will join your ancestors in peace; you will be buried at a happy old age.[6]read descended on him. 13 Then Yahweh said to Abram, ‘Know this for certain, that your descendants will be exiles in a land not their own, and be enslaved and oppressed for four hundred years. 14 But I shall bring judgement on the nation that enslaves them and after this they will leave, with many possessions. [7]

 

Abram fell into a deep sleep and in his sleep great darkness and horror came upon him in his dream. God tells Abram his descendants (that God has been promising to him as numerous as the stars) will be enslaved in a country that is not the land God has been showing and promising to Abram. The people of Abram will be in slavery for 400 hundred years. (Theologians state the Children of Israel were in Egypt 430. God has kept it as a round number.) God further states He will judge this nation (Egypt) for affecting the people of Israel while in bondage. Furthermore, God states when Israel is released from slavery, they will leave with great substance, or we can say, payment in full for the suffering they endured in Egypt.

 

5 For your part, you will join your ancestors in peace; you will be buried at a happy old age.[8]

 

Abram has been told the future of his people, although dark and horrible, God is also showing their redemption and liberation. Abram, will however, not be part of this. Abram is told he will die at an old age and in peace.

 

We see in this, God’s hand upon his chosen people, even in the horror / darkness that will befall them in the future. We see God also speaks of the Children of Israel’s deliverance and payment for the wrongs that will be done to them while in a land that is not their own. Likewise, we Christians are the children of Abram by our faith in God and Abram’s son, Jesus Christ. We the gentiles are now the new Israel; we have been adopted into the household of God.

 

Even as the Children of Israel suffered many wrongs, testing’s and trails, we too, will experience the same. Even as God delivered Israel, He will deliver us. We are to stay faithful to God as did Father Abraham, even if we do not always see the whole picture, continue to pray and believe in our Lord God. 6 Abram put his faith in Yahweh and this was reckoned to him as uprightness.[9]

 

 

* The remainder of the v. is unintelligible.

[1] The New Jerusalem Bible. (1985). (Ge 15:1–15). New York: Doubleday.

* The remainder of the v. is unintelligible.

[2] The New Jerusalem Bible. (1985). (Ge 15:1–3). New York: Doubleday.

[3] The New Jerusalem Bible. (1985). (Ge 15:4–5). New York: Doubleday.

[4] The New Jerusalem Bible. (1985). (Ge 15:6–10). New York: Doubleday.

[5] The New Jerusalem Bible. (1985). (Ge 15:11). New York: Doubleday.

[6] The New Jerusalem Bible. (1985). (Ge 15:15). New York: Doubleday.

[7] The New Jerusalem Bible. (1985). (Ge 15:12–14). New York: Doubleday.

[8] The New Jerusalem Bible. (1985). (Ge 15:15). New York: Doubleday.

[9] The New Jerusalem Bible. (1985). (Ge 15:6). New York: Doubleday.

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