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Sermons

Life is Hard but God is Good

September 5, 2021 Speaker: The Rev. Mike McDonald Series: The Patriarchs

Topic: The Patriarchs - God's Persistent Call Passage: Genesis 15:1–15:21

Many people come to Christianity expecting it to immediately fix problems and make life easier. In contrast, Jesus invites would-be followers to count the cost of discipleship. When our expectations and reality do not align, disillusionment often results. In today’s text, Abram is having a moment of doubt. He is learning an important lesson that we all must learn.

Life is hard but God is good.

Abram has just returned from war with some local tribal kings who captured his nephew Lot. God reassures Abram that he need not fear because God is his shield. Abram is likely wondering about retaliation from the warfare, and he is still childless and the land is clearly occupied. This causes him doubt.

Doubting and disbelief are similar, but not the same. Doubt asks questions, but disbelief draws wrong conclusions. Abram doubts God’s promise of a biological heir until God reiterates the promise. Despite his doubt, Abram is described as believing this promise and being counted righteous (v.6). Abram also seems to doubt his own ability to follow through (v.8). He needs further assurance.

God has Abram arrange animals for a self-cursing oath that was common in that day. In a move that prefigures the Cross, the Lord passes through the animal parts on the behalf of both himself and Abram. The cost of breaking the covenant is death, or as the Apostle Paul later put it, “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). God in his truthfulness always upholds his end of the covenant, but we have all fallen short of ours. In the great exchange, the Son of God paid our sin by dying in our place on the Cross so that those who believe are counted righteous with Christ. This Good News of the Cross outweighs any hardships this life might throw at us.

Taking It Home:  Pray the ABCD.  If you’ve never done it, pray a prayer (A)admitting your sin, (B)believing in Jesus’ death for your sins, (C)counting the cost of giving ALL of yourself to God and (D)deciding to live as his follower.