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by Dr. John Thomas
He was even now an old man, and had concluded to make Eliezer of Damascus his heir; how then could the great, the exceeding great, reward be realized by him?
Prompted by these considerations, but in no wise distrusting God, Abram said, "Lord God, what wilt Thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?
Behold, to me Thou hast given no seed; and lo, one born in my house is my heir," But, "but the word of the Lord came to him, saying, 'This (Eliezer) shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir".' The Lord's messenger, who brought this word to Abrarn, then led him forth from his tent, and directed his attention to the heavens, saying, "Count the stars if thou art able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be".
This was a great draft upon the faith of an old man of upwards of fourscore, with a wife of seventy-five years of age.
But it is testified of him, that "against hope he believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, saying, So shall thy seed be.
And not being weak in faith, he considered not his own body afterwards dead, when he was about a hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief: but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that what He had promised, He was also able to perform" (Rom.
Such was the manner of Abram's faith, his mode of thinking upon the things reported to him in the word of the Lord, and his disposition in relation to them.
So pleased was God with him, that "He counted it to, him for righteousness".
Abram, having first sought the kingdom of God in leaving his father's house to "seek the city, whose architect and builder is God," had now become the subject of the righteousness of God by faith, so that the Lord was now prepared to add all other things to him (Matt.
He reminded him of the purpose for which He had brought him into the land of Canaan, saying, "I, the Lord, brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees to give thee this land to inherit it".
Abram had been in the country ten years.
He had become well acquainted with the land, and he perceived that it was a noble and desirable inheritance.
When, therefore, the angel referred to the Lord's promise, Abram requested a sign, saying, "Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall possess it"?
In reply to this he was commanded to take "a heifer of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtle dove, and a young pigeon.
Having killed them, "he divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another, but the birds divided he not".
This sacrifice was, representative of the qualities of the Christ, concerning whom confirmation was about to be made, attestative of Abram's and his Seed's possession of the land in the fulness of the times afterwards to be arranged.
From the time of the sacrifice until the going down of the sun, Abram was engaged in watching the carcases, so as to keep off the birds of prey.
It is probable that the sacrifice was exposed about three hours ; at all events, "when even was come" (Gen.
15:12), and the sun was going down, Abram fell into a state of figurative death, by a deep sleep and horror of darkness coming over him.
This is a very remarkable feature in the case before us.
Abram had built altars, and had called upon the name of the Lord before; but there were no such attendant circumstances as these.