Genesis 15 — a free paraphrase (part 1)

I can well imagine Abram lying on his back in his tent, staring up at the dark fuzziness of the fabric, thinking about his life, wondering what would come next. And …

After these things…

After what things?

  • Abram’s move from Ur to Canaan and Bethel (Genesis 11:28-12:8)
  • God’s promise to create a great nation in Abram (12:7)
  • Abram’s lie while in Egypt (12:11-20)
  • His return to Bethel (13:1-4)
  • Division of the land between himself and Lot, his nephew (13:5-13)
  • Reiteration of God’s promise (of a new land and large family, but also the righteousness by which to obtain it) (13:14-17)
  • Abram believed God (13:18)
  • Abram’s battle with Chedorlaomer (14:1-15)
  • The victory gained (14:16)
  • Attempted payment by the king of Sodom (14:17, 21-24)
  • Blessing by Melchizedek (14:18-20)

The word of the Lord …

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).

Christ came to Abram in a vision. Was Abram asleep? Probably not, but was considering the events of the recent past. Was Chedorlaomer going to return for vengence? Would Abram’s confederates stand with him if there was battle? Was he going to die an old man, childless? Was God really leading or was it just his imagination? But Christ came and said,

Fear not, Abram …

Fear not? What are my alternatives? Look at my life, it’s been a mess—and my nephew living in Sodom. I stuck my neck out for him and look where he is now. I rescued him from that wicked place; he lost everything—but went right back into it. Tell me now, why should I not be afraid?

I am …

I am what? I am anything you need. I am God from eternities past to eternities future and I am here for you now. I am your righteousness (Jeremiah 33:16).

thy shield …

The word translated (shield) from the Hebrew could also be used as “defence” (Psalm 7:10), armor (Proverbs 24:34), ruler (Hosea 4:18), and buckler (Jeremiah 46:3). It’s also the scaly hide of a crocodile, a tough, impenetrable covering. “Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield …”

and thy exceeding great reward.

I am the payment price for our agreement. I am more than you can ever imagine (also see Paul’s discussion of the Romans 5 emphasis on  “much more” grace than sin). I am the atoning sacrifice for all sin. I am more than able to fulfill my promises to you. I am able to save you from sin. Your reward is not only the material things of this world, but also salvation in the world to come. Just like you rescued your nephew Lot, I am willing and able to rescue you.

And Abram said …

God did not ask Abram to say anything, but He loves the question from the honest at heart. He says, “Come now, and let us reason together, … though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18. It’s been a long time God, and I am still childless. Where is the proof of your promise? I have Eliezer. Is he the promised son? He doesn’t even have a surname but is called by his birth city. Is this the son of promise? After all, he was born in my house. If he is not the son you promised, you have not fulfilled your part of the bargain. How can I trust you?

the word of the Lord came …

Be patient Abram. Before I give you what you want, and what I have promised, you need to be ready to receive it. Step outside here with Me for a few minutes. Look up in the sky. Do you see those stars? I put them there. Do you know how many there are? I do. When I told you you would have a family, I meant a family like that. The blessing I promised was for the whole earth, as well as the earth to come. My promise to you involves the fullness of My Divine purpose—mercy and the salvation of men.

And he believed in the Lord …

God could take care of him and was a big enough God to be trusted to keep His promises. Abram no longer needed to rely on himself for protection or inheritance rights. He had a shield and buckler. He had a Savior who was nigh at hand and not afar off. Abram agreed with God’s assessment of the matter. He heard the word of the Lord, and simply said, “Amen.”

and he [God] counted it unto him [Abram] for righteousness.


Home  | Genesis Studies Index
Articles Index  |  10 Gospel Truths
Comments or Questions? Visit our discussion web.