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God is Our Shield

March 17, 2019 Speaker: Mike McDonald Series: Extending Grace

Topic: Extending Grace Passage: Genesis 15:1–15:18

A Recap from Sunday’s Sermon

Preaching Text: Genesis 15:1-18

Genesis shows us God’s plan is to form a “people” for himself through Abraham who will be a light to all nations. He interacts with his people as the only one who knows everything and can see the future. He gives two big promises to Abraham that seem compromised by circumstances. The promises are that he will have numerous descendants and they will possess the land of Canaan. The text begins with God declaring this truth:

God is our shield and his reward is great.

The question for Abraham (and for us) is, “How will I respond when circumstances seem to be at odds with God’s word?” Is he a good Lord and Savior? God promises again that Abraham will have offspring, this time noting they will be as numerous as the stars. In verse 6, we learn that Abraham believed God’s word and was credited with righteousness, an important theme picked up in the New Testament (Galatians 3:5-9).

Abraham believes God despite a famine, a conflict with his nephew, tribal warfare and 25 years of barrenness. To encourage Abraham, God enacts a formal covenant that involves killing and cutting in half several animals. The covenant parties were to walk between the dead animals effectively saying, “May the same happen to me if I default on my promises.” However, Abraham is actually asleep and only God passes through the animals. God says, “May the same happen to me if YOU or I default.”

The irony of all history is that, while we sinned and God didn’t, he still dies on the cross in our place. The promise of the cross didn’t make sense at the time and neither did Abraham’s circumstances. Still, God’s word stands. We must trust him, be patient and bear witness to our experiences of God.  

Taking it home: Discuss your personal experiences of God being your shield.