Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The Heart of God - Doug Rehberg

Someone has said, “Promises are like babies: easy to make, hard to deliver.” Napoleon once said, “The best way to keep one’s word is not to give it.” And while that is true for men and women, God never retracts a single promise and never fails to deliver on ones He’s made. And nobody in the Old Testament ever witnessed the truth of that fact any more clearly than Abram.

Five years ago Kristian Stanfill wrote a song we sing at the Barclay Building from time to time. The title of the song is “The Lord Our God,” and the lyrics are as follows:

Promise Maker, Promise Keeper
You finish what you begin
Our provision through the desert
You see it through ‘till the end
You see it through ‘till the end

The Lord our God is ever faithful
Never changing through the ages
From this darkness You will lead us
And forever we will say
You’re the Lord our God.

In the silence, in the waiting
Still we can know You are good
All Your plans are for Your glory
Yes, we can know You are good
Yes, we can know You are good

Now it’s one thing to sing that, it’s another thing to back it up. On what grounds does Stanfill write such lyrics? There are many demonstrations of God keeping His promises in the Bible, but on what grounds can Stanfill be so emphatic?

For Paul and the writer of Hebrews there’s but one place to turn in the Old Testament to get all the evidence we need that God always fulfills every promise He makes regarding our salvation. It’s Genesis 15. Genesis 15 sets forth in vivid hues the fundamental reliability of God in honoring His promises. What He does that night 4,000 years ago, near the future city of Jerusalem, is all the proof anyone needs that what God’s heart determines always comes to pass. Here God doesn’t simply reiterate His promise, He ratifies His pledge with the greatest display of divine integrity we find in all of Scripture. As we will see God’s promise is not based on words or feelings. It’s based on an awesome display of commitment only matched by what this same Promise Maker would do 2,000 years later, on the same spot.

In preparation for Sunday’s message entitled, “The Heart of God”, you may wish to consider the following:

1. What does the writer of Hebrews make of Genesis 15?

2. What does Paul make of this same incident as reflected in Romans 4?

3. What does, ‘After these things” mean in verse 1?

4. What would cause Abram to be in fear and doubt after the glorious events of Genesis 14?

5. Why is Abram so concerned about having a son of his own?

6. What does God do in response to Abram’s question in verse 8?

7. What is all this cutting of animals in two?

8. Why does God wait until it’s dark and Abram’s asleep to speak to him again and show him the depth of His commitment to His promise?

9. What’s verse 17 mean? How do you interpret it?

10. What’s God saying by His actions that answers that His promise will come to pass?

R.C. Sproul has said that this chapter is the one he’d want if he could have only one chapter of Scripture. Come see why!

See you Sunday.