Summary of passage: Abram received the word of the Lord in a vision: Do not be afraid for I am your shield and your very great reward.
Abram questions God as to where is this promised heir. God assures Abram he will have a son from his own body and his offspring will be as numerous as the stars in the heavens. God also reiterates to Abram that He brought him from Ur to give him this land.
Again, Abram questions God, asking for reassurances of this promise. God tells Abram to bring him a heifer, goat, ram, dove, and a pigeon. Abram cut these in half (except the birds). As Abram awaits God’s arrival, birds of prey come to feed on the carcasses so Abram drives them away.
5a) In 12:7 the Lord tells Abram He will give this land to Abram’s offspring. In 15:2-3, Abram asks God where is this promised offspring because without one his servant will be his heir.
b) God clarifies to Abram that indeed he will have an heir from his own body and tells Abram that one day his offspring will be as numerous as the stars. God reiterates again that He is the Lord who will give this land to Abram. (Don’t you just want to hit Abram over the head here? God probably does!)
6) That Abram knew (and rejoiced) that Jesus would come, that this day (the day Jesus is walking the earth) would come, and Jesus would be the promised Messiah. And Abraham was glad! This shows that Abram had faith in God’s words and believed in the promised Messiah!
7a) Righteousness is by faith alone–always has been and always will be. If you believe the Lord and believe in Him you are righteous.
b) Personal Question. My answer: Faith is believing in what you cannot see and righteousness is being right with God through faith in Jesus Christ and what he did on the cross. In believing Jesus is your Savior, you are wiped clean of sin and only when we are free of sin can we be with God and stand before Him–hence, we are “righteous” or right before Him.
c) He finally believed he would have a son when God told him (again) and he finally believed his descendants would possess the land as God made a covenant (again) with him.
Some might say Abram made a covenant with the Lord when he cut the animals and God passed between them. I would say no because in verse 18 we are told “the Lord made a covenant with Abram”. Abram didn’t do anything but receive. It’s a covenant God made alone with man out of His infinite love and grace for us piddly humans. God even told Abram to go and get the animals. It wasn’t even Abram’s idea!
Hence Abram didn’t “do” anything with regards to this covenant to prove his faith. He merely received.
Conclusions: This shows that even Abram, a man scholars would argue is the epitome of faith in the Bible, needed reassurance and signs from God in his life. This applies to us as well. God helps us even when we don’t know it. He is there always even when we push Him away. He picks us up and gives us a push in the right direction (His, NOT ours).
This also shows that it’s okay to question God. For we, as humans, cannot understand Him and His ways. It’s okay to ask Him for more clarification, for a sign, for confirmation, for direction, and for help. Abram wasn’t for sure if the promised seed would be natural born or an adoptee so he asked God for clarification. Abram wasn’t sure if he would possess the Promised Land and God told him he wouldn’t but his descendants would.
Throughout the Bible, prophets and others have questioned God and He has always answered.
He still answers. And all we must do is have faith He will.