Sometimes it’s good to go back to the beginning of the bible. All the way to Genesis. One way I’ve heard of reading the bible is instead of opening up Genesis and reading forward, we read it back to front. Because the thing about the Bible, especially much of the Old Testament, is that it really can’t be understood except in light of the revelation of God that comes after it. I think this chapter is a good example of that. Starting at Genesis 1 reading forward, we might not see the significance of this. In light of what we are privileged to know through the continued revelation of God, this chapter is jaw dropping, especially verse 6. Reading front to back, would pick up on all the promises given here? Would we see the greatness of the covenant between God and Abraham? Would we feel the wonder of the promise of God as he promises Abraham so many descendants that the would outnumber the stars in the sky? In fact, these are still huge for us today, probably 4000 years later. We can look back and see how all of these promises have been fulfilled through time. But reading front to back, without the revelation and all that comes after it, we would gloss right over and not even know the biggest verse here, one of the most important verses in the Old Testament for followers of Jesus Christ. Verse 6 reads “And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith.” Did you catch that?? 2000 years Before Christ, before Moses led Gods people out of Egypt, before the Mosaic law, before the Judges, before the Kings, before the prophets, before John the Baptist, before the apostles, before Saul of Tarsus, before Abraham was even Abraham….God counted Abram as being righteous because of his FAITH. Thanks to the revelation of God we receive through Jesus Christ, we know we are counted righteous before God by our FAITH in Christ. And we know now that this little verse, which was probably glanced over for generations because it paled in comparison to the promises and wonders which overshadowed it, was placed there by God because of his foreknowledge of what he was going to reveal through the the ages, ultimately to be revealed in his earthly incarnation, God the Son Jesus Christ. Divine Revelation indeed.
“Some time later, the LORD spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.” But Abram replied, “O Sovereign LORD, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son? Since you’ve given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. You have given me no descendants of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir.” Then the LORD said to him, “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.” Then the LORD took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!” And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith. Then the LORD told him, “I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as your possession.” But Abram replied, “O Sovereign LORD, how can I be sure that I will actually possess it?” The LORD told him, “Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” So Abram presented all these to him and killed them. Then he cut each animal down the middle and laid the halves side by side; he did not, however, cut the birds in half. Some vultures swooped down to eat the carcasses, but Abram chased them away. As the sun was going down, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a terrifying darkness came down over him. Then the LORD said to Abram, “You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years. But I will punish the nation that enslaves them, and in the end they will come away with great wealth. (As for you, you will die in peace and be buried at a ripe old age.) After four generations your descendants will return here to this land, for the sins of the Amorites do not yet warrant their destruction.” After the sun went down and darkness fell, Abram saw a smoking firepot and a flaming torch pass between the halves of the carcasses. So the LORD made a covenant with Abram that day and said, “I have given this land to your descendants, all the way from the border of Egypt to the great Euphrates River— the land now occupied by the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites.””
Genesis 15:1-21 NLT