Today we begin Genesis Chapter 15.
For the Complete Jewish Bible, click here.
For the King James version, click here.
One reason the Bible is such a reassuring book is that both the good and bad sides of its characters, those who we now call the heroes of our faith, are depicted in such an honest fashion.
All of their warts and weaknesses are put on display for the whole world to see.
And of course, the father of our faith Abraham is no exception.
Right from the get-go of Chapter 15, we are shown his doubting and worrying side.
And this bout of fret and fear is coming right after his soaring victory over the four kings that kidnapped his nephew Lot.
God tells Abram: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield. Your reward shall be very great.”
So what did Abram have to fear?
The fast and simple answer is reprisal from the four kings whose butts he had just whipped.
On top of that, he was now living in one of the most wicked nations on the planet surrounded by enemies. (Basically the same situation Israel finds itself in today.)
He didn’t have a strong hold on the region of land God had promised to him and in spite of his growing clan, it was mostly due to offspring from his female slaves.
Out of his numbing worry, Abram begs God to let a member of his household be his heir.
However, for every worry that Abram brings to the table, God matches it with a promise of much greater and even staggering proportions.
He reiterates the promises he first gave to Abram, telling him “This one will not be your heir, but he who issues from your loins will be your heir. Look up to the heavens and count the stars, if you can count them, so shall be your seed.”
Now why is God offering Abram a reward?
God is promising to bless Abram for rejecting the offer of great wealth that King Sodom had promised him.
I imagine at this point in time given his perceived bleak circumstances, Abram was rethinking what he had done.
He could have been instantly wealthy and was most likely struggling with feelings of regret.
Isn’t this so like all of us?
Feeling a prompting from the Holy Spirit, we put a generous amount of money into the offering plate and then wonder later if we did the right thing.
Or we set out on the path of ministry and then begin to doubt our calling when we realize that it is not all fun and games and that it is God’s intention through our service to Him to sever us from the worldly things and values that we have clung on to for dear life.
When it becomes clear that the commitment to serve Him may cost us all of our money and we may even have to sever relationships with family members, even the best of us will second guess our walk with the Lord.
I have seen many forsake their walk with the Lord simply because the temptations of the world were just too great to resist.
They were more concerned with maintaining their status in society than following God no matter what.
However, Yeshua told the rich Jewish man to sell everything he had and follow him.
He also said that he who does not hate his father and mother could not be his disciple.
Both the Tanach and the Brit HADASHAH are clear.
A 100% commitment to God will inevitably result in a complete severing of the world, the devil, and all of its values.
Here is an interesting YouTube video from an Orthodox rabbi on the importance of 100% dependence on God.
For those of you who are not Jewish, you may or may not be aware that Jews do not pronounce out loud God’s name Yahweh. They instead say HASHEM, which literally translates into “The Name”.
Notice how the Rabbi said that for those who have 100% faith, “it is NOT ALLOWED to save money for tomorrow”.
Quite a departure from the ridiculous stereotype that Jews are money hoarders don’t you think?
The simple truth is that the Jewish people donate more money to charity than any other ethnic group.
This is a fact!
Okay, enough of the sermonizing.