Quiet Time Coaching Episode 276

Would you like to learn more about faith? You’ve come to the right person. No, not me, Abraham. This is a daily devotional podcast supporting a teaching series for the Watford church of Christ and the Thames Valley churches of Christ called “Adventures in faith with Abraham”. It is also part of my quiet time coaching series.

What is it about Abraham which is so admirable? Many things. But perhaps above all else his adventurous faith, “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” (Hebrews 11:8 NIV11)

Join me as we step out on a faith adventure with Abraham.

Episode 19

Today we move further into chapter 15

“And He said to him, “I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess it.” He said, “O Lord GOD, how may I know that I will possess it?” So He said to him, “Bring Me a three year old heifer, and a three year old female goat, and a three year old ram, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, and laid each half opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds. The birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, and Abram drove them away.” (Genesis 15:7–11 NAS95)

What are we seeing here? God helping our struggles to believe him.

In the previous verse we see that Abraham’s willingness to trust God is accredited to him as righteousness. Yet, oh so humanly, Abram still has questions. The issue is not so much will it happen, as how.

We will look at the implications of the covenant tomorrow, but for now we will reflect on a couple of things.

Why are these animals asked for? It might be a little speculative, but it is possible that God is prefiguring the sacrifices that will be expected later – Leviticus 19:2-3. Perhaps they represent the three generations who will be oppressed in Egypt (v16).

Abram chasing away the birds of prey might symbolise him protecting his relationship with God, or, also perhaps, preserving the purity of his relationship with Yahweh by keeping the pagan influences at a distance (Ezekiel 17:23; see also Ezek 31:6, Dan 4:12, Ps 104:12 where the birds represent the Gentile nations).

Devotional thought for today

Surely God does not need to feel any under any obligation to answer this question. However, he accommodates Abram. Abram is asking for a sign. God does not see this as a lack of faith. It turns into an opportunity to affirm the covenant.

The way to greater faith is through our doubts. The path to greater confidence in our salvation is through our fears. Whilst it is true that Jesus rebuked people for a lack of faith, and for giving in to fear, he did not give up on those who doubted and were afraid.

Later, when his followers looked back on those experiences, they were able to see God with them in their challenges.

When Thomas met Jesus he said, “Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”” (John 20:28 NIV11). His doubts and fears were put to rest by the presence of Jesus.

Any doubts and fears you may have at the moment will not be resolved by a change of circumstances, or intellectual gymnastics. They will be made useful by taking them into the presence of Jesus where he can give you his affirmation.

Prayer point for today

Ask God to help you take your doubts and fears into his presence.

If you have any questions or feedback please contact me: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

The apostle Paul said of Abraham, “He is the father of us all.” (Romans 4:16 NIV11) Let’s allow him to be the father of Faith to you and me in January and February 2021.

Many thanks for listening today. See you tomorrow as we continue our adventure of faith with Abraham.

Take care and God bless, Malcolm