Joshua and Judges: Push to the Promised Land: God cannot change; Abrahamic Covenant - Balaam, part 9. Num 23:18-20; Gen 15:1-18.
length: 81:36 - taught on Jul, 19 2015
NUM 23:18 Then he took up his discourse and said,
"Arise, O Balak, and hear; Give ear to me, O son of Zippor!
NUM 23:19 "God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent [change His mind]; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
The Abrahamic covenant is iron clad because of the One who made it.
The one great characteristic of the patriarchs was their faith. Amidst all varying events, the one constant trait in patriarchal history was faith which lays hold on the word of promise, and on the strength of this word gives up that which is seen and present for that which is unseen and future. All lived and died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims in the earth.
The covenant of God with Abraham is one of the important and determinative revelations of Scripture. It furnishes the key to the entire Old Testament and reaches for its fulfillment into the New. [John F. Walvoord, The Millennial Kingdom]
GEN 15:1 After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, "Do not fear, Abram,
I am a shield to you;
Your reward shall be very great."
GEN 15:2 And Abram said, "O Lord God, what wilt Thou give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?"
GEN 15:3 And Abram said, "Since Thou hast given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir."
GEN 15:4 Then behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, "This man will not be your heir; but one who shall come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir."
GEN 15:5 And He took him outside and said, "Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them." And He said to him, "So shall your descendants be."
GEN 15:6 Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.
GEN 15:7 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."
GEN 15:8 And he said, "O Lord God, how may I know that I shall possess it?"
GEN 15:9 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."
GEN 15:10 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 [in accordance with the Mosaic Law to come].
GEN 15:11 And the birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, and Abram drove them away.
In this eastern custom both covenant parties passed between the pieces laid one against the other, was to show that now there was no longer to be division, but that what had been divided was to be considered as one between them.
While Abraham waits, no covenanting party appears, but only birds of prey who wish to take and devour the carcasses. They represent the foes of Israel, who would seek to eat up and exterminate Israel. They represent Satan and the KOD who wishes to destroy God’s covenant promises, to destroy Israel, to destroy God’s people and church, and to destroy all things good from God, yet, they have no hope of succeeding.
1PE 1:3 Blessed be [worthy of praise and glorification in an of Himself] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1PE 1:4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
1PE 1:5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1PE 1:6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,
1PE 1:7 that the proof [dokimazo] of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
Do you think you will look back on your various trials with regret if they have resulted in praise, glory, and honor of your Lord Jesus Christ? Could there really be anything better in life?
There's a reason we read so much about Abraham but not his father Terah or his nephew Lot.
Abraham is faithful enough to remain with the carcasses and protect them. This is a picture of the preservation of the saints through faith of the same kind as Abraham. He believed God’s word.
GEN 15:12 Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, terror and great darkness fell upon him.
Abraham might have seen the setting sun as his own death, which without an heir, would bring terror and great darkness upon him. The symbolism in a dream world arises in the subconscious his deep fear and dread. Yet in the midst of this terror comes the comfort of the promises of God.
GEN 15:13 And God said to Abram, "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years.
GEN 15:14 But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve; and afterward they will come out with many possessions.
GEN 15:15 And as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age.
GEN 15:16 Then in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite [strongest inhabitants in Canaan and so a common name for all the inhabitants] is not yet complete."
By this revelation Abram had the future history of his seed pointed out to him in general outlines, and was informed at the same time why neither he nor his descendants could obtain immediate possession of the promised land, viz., because the Canaanites were not yet ripe for the sentence of extermination.
Then it was that the covenant was made, but not as the usual custom.
The custom was for both parties of the covenant to pass between the sacrifice. By Jehovah passing through alone He committed to all the obligations, while Abraham received the benefit - unconditional covenant.
Usually both parties would pass between the divided sacrifice, but by Jehovah alone doing so, since the covenant was that of grace and unconditional, it did not depend on anything Abraham should do, one party alone, God, undertook all the obligations, while the other received all the benefits.
GEN 15:17 And it came about when the sun had set, that it was very dark, and behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a flaming torch which passed between these pieces.
We have a smoking stove like those used the houses of the East and with it a brilliant torch.
In this way Jehovah manifested His glory to Abraham as He later manifested Himself to Israel on Mt. Sinai in the cloud and the fire and as He did in the pillar of smoke and the pillar of fire.
These are not only symbols of power and light but also of the wrath of God which comes upon all those who oppose Him, which Abraham will not.
Smoke and fire are also symbols of God's wrath that will come upon all who oppose Israel.
History proves this beyond a doubt.
Then the earth shook and quaked;
And the foundations of the mountains were trembling
And were shaken, because He was angry.
Smoke went up out of His nostrils,
And fire from His mouth devoured;
Coals were kindled by it.
Jehovah would have to pass through the seed of Abram when oppressed by the Egyptians and threatened with destruction, and to execute judgment upon their oppressors. The same would be true of all peoples who opposed them. God certainly protects His own and He only allows discipline when He sees fit and with it the promise of restoration in grace.
And also, the fires of judgment would be bestowed upon the Son of God at Calvary.
God alone obligated Himself to fulfill the terms of the covenant since only He walked between the pieces of the sacrificial animals. The significance off that is striking: it means that God swore fidelity to His promises and placed the obligation on their fulfillment on Himself alone. Abraham made no such oath; he was in a deep sleep. Clearly the Abrahamic covenant was not conditioned on anything Abraham would or would not do; its fulfillment in all its parts depends only on God's doings.
GEN 15:18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying,
"To your descendants I have given this land,
From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates:
The provisions of the Abrahamic covenant must be fulfilled since the covenant was made without conditions.