Sermon: The Earth Was At First Uninhabitable: Genesis 1:2


Brothers and sisters, Genesis 1:1-5 is our Old Testament reading for today. 2 Corinthians 4:1-6 is our New Testament reading. We will come to focus upon verse 2 of Genesis 1 in the sermon today. Hear now the word of God.

Old Testament Reading: Genesis 1:1-5

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.” (Genesis 1:1–5, ESV)

New Testament Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:1–6

“Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:1–6, ESV)


Genesis 1:2 describes to us the condition of the earthly realm as it was immediately following God’s act of absolute creation which was described in Genesis 1:1 and prior to God’s forming of that realm in the world as we know it as described in verses 3 and following.

Verse 1: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Verse 2: The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” Verse 3: “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.’” Verse 6: “And God said, ‘Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.’” Verse 9: “And God said, ‘Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.’” Etc., etc.

So God did at first call into existence the heavenly invisible realm, along with the earthly physical realm, and the earthly physical realm was at first without form and void, darkness was over the face of the deep, andthe Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And after this God did shape, form and fashion the earthly realm into the world as we know it – a place suitable for the maintenance of life and a habitation suitable for man.

In The Beginning God Created Heaven

Remember that the “heavens” of verse 1 refers, not to the place where the birds fly, nor to the place where the stars reside, but to, what Paul refers to as, the third heaven. It is the realm where God’s glory is now manifest, where the elect angels stand before the throne of God to sing him praise, along with the souls of the saints who, having departed from this world, do now enjoy the presence of the Lord as they await the consummation of all things.

I realize that this is a repeat of what was said in the sermon I preached three weeks ago on Genesis 1:1, but it is worth repeating. In the beginning God created two realms: the spiritual realm, which is typically invisible to us, is called heaven. And the material world which we encounter with our senses is called earth. This acknowledgment of and distinction between heaven and earth is so fundamental to a Christian worldview, it would be foolish to rush through the establishment of it.    

That the scriptures teach the existence of a spiritual realm, which is typically invisible to us, is undeniable. Many examples could be presented from the scriptures where God gives some person, or group of people, a glimpse of this heavenly realm. For now it will suffice to remind you of our recent study of the book of Revelation. Remember how the visions shown to John shifted continuously between the earthly realm and the heavenly realm. In one moment he would say, “And I saw a beast rising out of the sea…” (Revelation 13:1, ESV), or “I saw another beast rising out of the earth…” (Revelation 13:11, ESV). And in the next moment we would hear him say, “Then I saw heaven opened” (Revelation 19:11, ESV), or “I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne” (Revelation 6:9, ESV). John was one of those who was shown something of the heavenly realities which typically lie beyond our sense perception.

These two realms – the heavenly, and the earthly – are mentioned continuously throughout the pages of Holy Scripture. “Thus says the Lord: ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool…” (Isaiah 66:1, ESV). Friends, our worldview is not biblical  – certainly it is not mature – if we are not continuously mindful of the heavenly realm that God made in the beginning. In the beginning God created the heavensand the earth. The heavensand the earth remain. And at the end of timeheaven and earth will become one when God makes all  things new. The Christian is to live being ever mindful, not only of the earth (which we see with our natural eyes), but also of heaven (which we can see only with eyes of faith). Therefore, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19–21, ESV).

That the scriptures teach that there is a heavenly, spiritual and invisible realm (invisible to us) cannot be denied.

But when was this realm made? It was created by God in the beginning.

When were the angels made who reside there? They were created by God in the beginning.

“In the beginning, God created the heavensand the earth.” (Genesis 1:1, ESV)

This is confirmed by the Apostle Paul. When he wrote concerning the creation he said, “For by him [that is Christ, the eternal Word of God come in the flesh] all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible,whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16–17, ESV). Paul interprets heaven as the spiritual realm that is invisible to us, and earth as the physical realm that does correspond to our natural senses.

Consider also how God’s creation of heaven and earth are spoken of in Nehemiah 9:6. There  the people give praise to God, saying, “You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you” (Nehemiah 9:6, ESV). Do you hear it? Clearly Nehemiah 9:6 interprets “heaven” of Genesis 1:1 as being the “heaven of heavens”. It is the place where the host, or army, of heaven dwells. That is to say, the angels. They are the ones who worship and serve God forever and ever.

And also consider that Job 38 teaches that the angles of God were present to witness the creation of the world from their heavenly vantage point. It is here in this passage that God questions Job, saying, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4–7, ESV). God is here speaking of the creation, or formation of the earth. And he asks Job, “Where were you” when I did all of this? God was reminding Job that he was God the Creator, and that Job was but a creature. Job was not there to witness the formation of the earth. Indeed, no man was there. Man would not be created until the sixth day, as we will see. But who was there to see? Of course God was there! But so too were there angels. “The morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy”, when they witness God’s act of creation.

What did God do in the beginning? He created the heavenly realm, and also the earthly realm. This is why in Isaiah 37:16 God is called the “Lord of hosts [and the] God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth” (Isaiah 37:16, ESV).

Friends, I know that I have been repetitive, but it is needed. This interpretation that I have given you of Genesis 1:1 is uncommon today. The older commentators tend to say what I have just said, and the better of the more modern commentators agree, but not many. And I am afraid that Christians today often go on unaware of the heavenly realm. We are often times worldly minded, fixated upon this things of this earth, consumed with the visible,  the physical and the tangible. But the Holy Scriptures begin by establishing that in the beginning God created the heavensand the earth.

In The Beginning God Created The Earth

Notice how quickly the text comes to focus upon the earthly realm. No detail at all is provided concerning the creation of the heavenly realm. We are simply told that God created it in the beginning. But some detail will be given concerning the formation of the earth.

In verse 2 we read, “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2, ESV). What follows will be a description of God bringing the earth (the universe) into the form that it has today. There is light and there is darkness. There is land and there is sea. There is an atmosphere for us to breath. These realms are all governed by rulers: the sun, moon and stars; fish and birds; land animals with man as supreme. This is the world as we know it.

But do you see that in verse 2 it is revealed to us that earth was “without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2, ESV). In other words when God created the earthly realm he did not at first create it complete and fully formed, suitable for the sustenance of life. It was incomplete, unformed, and uninhabitable.

A question we might ask is, how long did the world exist in this incomplete, unformed, and uninhabitable state?

Some very good commentators say that it is impossible to know.

But in order to hold this position – the position that the earth may have existed for a long time in this formless, void, and dark state – one must separate verse 2 from verses 3 through 5, which say, “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day” (Genesis 1:3–5, ESV).

Put differently, if we are to believe that the earth existed for a long time, “without form and void, [with] darkness… over the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God… hovering over the face of the waters”, then day one of creation must begin verse 3 and the words, “And God said, ‘Let there be light’” (Genesis 1:3, ESV).

In others words, in order to hold the view that the stuff of the universe might be very, very old, but that the earth as we know it in it’s present form is relatively young, one must separate the act of absolute creation that is described in verse 1 from the act of formative creation that is described in verses 3 and following. Only then can we hold to the belief that the stuff of the universe is old, whereas the form of it is relatively young.

I’ve agonized a bit over this question. And it is my opinion that there is no reason at all to separate verse 3 through 5 from verses 1 and 2. Put differently, the text gives us no reason to separate the act of absolute creation that is described in verse 1 from the act of formative creation that is described in verses 3 and following. In fact, the scriptures give us good reason to believe that God did in fact begin his creative work and finish his creative work in the space of six days, and all very good.

I’ve mentioned that Genesis 1:1 through 2:3 make up the first section of the book of Genesis. It is the introduction, or prologue, to the book of Genesis. And notice how this section concludes. It does not leave off verses 1 and 2 and treat them as separate, but comes back to them to wrap everything up. The conclusion includes verses 1 and 2 in the days of creation when it is says, “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation” (Genesis 2:1–3, ESV). Genesis 2:1-3 certainly gives the impression that God did all of his creative work in six days. This also includes the absolute, primary, and out-of-nothing (ex-nihilo) creation of Genesis 1:1.

Notice that this is also the way the subsequent revelation speaks of the days of creation. Later biblical passages look back upon creation and say that God made the heavens and the earth in six days. In Exodus 31:16 we read, “Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever. It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed’” (Exodus 31:16–17, ESV).

It is my view that all of Genesis 1:1-5 should be viewed as having been accomplished on the first day of creation. God, on the first day, spoke the heavenly realm and the earthly into to existence out of nothing. The earthly realm was at first incomplete and uninhabitable. And then God began the process of bringing it into its present form by calling light into existence, and separating the light from the darkness. The first day.   

I am well aware of the fact this is not the popular view today. There are many other interpretations of Genesis 1:1-3 that are put forth. All of them seem to have this in common: they are eager to make room for the belief in an earth that is very, very old.

I was tempted to say a lot about modern science and my view of it, but I decided to keep my remarks very brief. While I appreciate science, and while I do believe that we can learn a great deal through our observation of the natural world, I wonder if we have not conceded too much to science when it comes to its claims concerning origins.

Our culture, and even the Christian church today, seems to view science in a way similar to how a Roman Catholic views the Pope. If the scientific community says it then it must be true! I know that I’m beginning to wade out into deep and dangerous waters here, and I do not intend to go much further. For now I wonder I could draw your attention to three things. One, I hope you would agree that our observation of the natural world can only take us so far. There are some things that science will never be able to answer. There are certain questions that science is ill equipped to answer. Two, have you considered that the scientific consensus is ever changing. As it is with the Pope of Rome, so it is with science. When someone claims that one or the other speaks infallibly and authoritatively one only has to point out how quickly and how frequently the declarations that come from these institutions, be it the Papacy or the scientific community, have changed. Neither of these institutions should be trusted as our final authority in matters of faith, and their fickleness proves it. Three, would you please acknowledge that even scientists bring presuppositions to their work. Scientists, like Christians, have a worldview of their own. They are not as free from baggage as they might lead you to believe, but come to the task of interpretation with presuppositions.

I will say no more about science for our task here is the exposition of Holy Scripture, which is the Christian’s authority for truth. For a much more thorough discussion concerning science, its benefits and limits, I can think of no greater resource than volume one of Herman Bavink’s Reformed Dogmatics, called Prolegomena.

Brothers and sisters, when I come to the text of Genesis 1:1-2:3, and when I read it in light of the rest of scripture I am content to say what our confession says, that “In the beginning it pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for the manifestation of the glory of his eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, to create or make the world, and all things therein, whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days, and all very good” (2LBC 4.1).

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:1–2, ESV).

The Earth Was At First Uninhabitable

Notice that in verse 2 we are told that the earth was at first uninhabitable. There we find three descriptors  of the earthly realm as it was originally. One, the earth was without form and void. Two, darkness was over the face of the deep. And three, the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. What do these things mean?

What does it mean that the earth was “without form and void”?

In the Hebrew the phrase is  תֹ֨הוּ֙ וָבֹ֔הוּ. The word תֹ֨הוּ֙ means emptiness, wilderness or wasteland. The word תֹ֨הוּ֙ carries a similar meaning. Together the words communicate that the earth was at first desolate and uninhabitable.

Isaiah 45:18 confirms this interpretation when it says, “For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!): ‘I am the Lord, and there is no other’ (Isaiah 45:18, ESV). This verses is saying that though the earth was at first תֹ֨הוּ֙ (empty), this was not God’s purpose for it, so “he formed it to be inhabited.”

What does it mean that “darkness was over the face of the deep”?

It means that there was no light at all, but only darkness covering the primeval waters.

The scene is rather terrifying, isn’t it? Far from warm and homey, the world was at first dark, cold and threatening. I agree with E.J. Young who, in his book, “Studies in Genesis One”, says that it is not appropriate to refer to this condition as a chaos. Chaos implies that something was out of control. That idea is found nowhere in the text. Everything is, in fact, portrayed as being perfectly under God’s control. This world, even as it is described in Genesis 1:2, came from the hand of the Almighty. It was under his care and direction. So the world was not chaotic at this stage, but certainly it was no place for life. It was not yet formed into a home suitable for man.

What does it mean that the “the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters”?

The image is that of a bird fluttering or brooding over her nest to protect her young so as to bring forth life. I appreciate the words of Geerhardus Vos who, in his “Reformed Dogmatics” says, “The Spirit here is not a ‘wind from God…’” The word for Spirit and wind are the same in the Hebrew, and so some have proposed that this should be translated as “wind” –the wind of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Vos rightly  says no.

The Spirit here is not a “wind from God”, sent out to dry what was created… it is the personal spirit,  the Third Person of the Trinity… The word translated by “hovering”… is used elsewhere of a bird that hovers protectively over her young (Deut. 33:11). Already in the first instance where the Holy Spirit is mentioned in Scripture His activity is portrayed for us in an image borrowed from the kingdom of the birds, just as elsewhere he appears as a dove. Here “hovering”, “brooding”, has in view the stirring of live within lifeless material. The brooding of birds brings out very aptly that life originates from outside by fructification. In the world there is at first no life. The Spirit of God must hover above the roaring flood, for its roaring is a dead noise. But the Spirit of God hovers on and above the waters. He does not mingle with them. Even where God’s immanence comes to the fore, God and the world still remain unmixed.

And so here is how God created. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light”, etc., etc. (Genesis 1:1–3, ESV).

A question that we must ask is, why the process of creation? Why didn’t God simply create a fully formed earth in the beginning? Certainly he could have done it! God could have very easily spoken the world in its present form into existence, for we agree with Jeremiah the Prophet when he says, “‘Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you” (Jeremiah 32:17, ESV). Without a doubt God had the power to speak a fully formed and finished universe into existence from the start. Why the process? Why was the earth made formless and void with darkness over the face of the deep? Why the days of creation wherein God did progressively shape the earth into its present form? To put it differently,it did not take God six days to make the world, but God took six days to make it. Why did God take his time? Why the process?

The answer is that the act of creation was itself revelatory. By this I mean that when God made the heavens and the earth in the way that he did he communicated something to his creatures in the process. He revealed something to his creatures when he created as he did. In the act of creation God revealed important things – things concerning himself – things concerning this world in which we live – things concerning ourselves and his purpose for us. And so it is true that God could have made made the world as we know it in an instant. He could of accomplished this without breaking a sweat! And if he did  – if God created the world in an instant – then the only thing that could truly be said of creation is what is said in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” But more than that is said. The earth was at first uninhabitable and dark and then God did shape the world into its present form in six days time. It did not take God six days to make the world, but God took six days to make it. This he did in order to reveal truths concerning his person, his work and his purposes to his creatures. Remember that the angels witnessed the formation of the world in six days time. Something was revealed to them in the process.  And though man was not there to see it as the angels were, God revealed to man all that he did in creation. Remember that  Adam and Eve were to work six days in the garden and rest on the seventh to, among other things, mimic God’s creative activities which had been communicated to them by their Maker.   

The act of creation was itself revelatory. God communicated something to his creatures by what he did and how he did it. While it is true that God communicates to us by his word we should remember that he does first communicate to us by his action. God did at first do something – he created the heavens and the earth in a particular way – and then he gave his word to his creatures. His word tells of his action. His word interprets his action. His word applies the implications of his action to the lives of his creatures. The act of creation was itself revelatory. The act itself said something about God, his world and man who was placed in it!

This same principle applies to all of God’s creative or redemptive actions and the word revelation that does proceed from them.

Take for example the Exodus. God delivered his people out bondage to the Egyptians and he brought them safely into the land that was promised to them. But he did not do it in an instant. Instead there was a process. There were tenplagues that were poured out upon the Egyptians, the last one was the death of the first born (those who had the blood of the lamb on their door posts were not effected, but the LORD covered them, as bird shelters her young, so that the destroyer would not destroy them (Exodus 12:23)). And it was only after the tenth plague that the people were set free. Why ten plagues? Why the process? Was God having a hard time with Pharaoh? Did God break a sweat? No, it did not take God ten plagues to deliver Israel from Egypt, but God took ten plagues to accomplish this act of new creation. And we might say the same thing about the process of passing through the sea, the wilderness wanderings, and the eventual conquest. The exodus event was itself revelatory. God’s people learned something about their God and his purposes for them, not by his word alone, but by his act. And once the act of redemption or new creation was finished, then his word was given as a record of the act, an interpretation, and an application of it.

The same can be said concerning the redemption or the new creation that is in Christ Jesus. Did Christ accomplish our redemption? Did he atone for the sins of his people? Did he say, “it is finished?” Did he sit down at the Fathers right hand to enter into his rest having accomplished all that the Father gave him to do? Yes, he did! But he did it in a particular way. There was a process. And the process did also communicate something of the significance of his person and his work. The act of redemption was itself revelatory.

Listen to what Romans 3:23-25 says, for example. The first part is familiar to you: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to showGod’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to showhis righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:23–26, ESV).

The idea here is not complicated. It is that God reveals himself, not just through his word (as if he lowered his Bible down from heaven on a rope one day) but by his activities. His historical acts  – the act of creation, and the way in which he choose to accomplish it – revealed something. His acts of redemption are also revelatory. The wayin which God rescued Israel out of Egypt, and the wayin which Christ accomplished our redemption, reveled something concerning our God, this world and ourselves.


What then do we learn from God’s creative act? We learn many things that are foundational.

We learn that there is but one God.

This one God created all things seen and unseen.

We learn that all that is not the Creator is the creation.

We learn that there is plurality in the  Godhead. In the beginning it was God who created the heavens and the earth, but he did so by his Word and his Spirit.

We learn that the Triune God, Father, Word and Spirit, created the world to be inhabited. In his goodness he did form and fashion the world to make it a place suitable for man – a temple where man could dwell and enjoy communion with the God who made him.     

We learn that the Triune God, Father, Word and Spirit, is able to make something out of nothing, to bring form to that which is empty and void, life out of death, light out of darkness.

This our God did at creation. He formed the earth to be inhabited.

And this our God does in our redemption.

Israel was as good as dead in Egypt, but God gave them life.

Israel was as good as dead in that wilderness place, that wasteland not suitable for human habitation. And Israel complained to Moses, saying, “Why have you brought the assembly of the Lord into this wilderness, that we should die here, both we and our cattle? And why have you made us come up out of Egypt to bring us to this evil place? It is no place for grain or figs or vines or pomegranates, and there is no water to drink” (Numbers 20:4–5, ESV). But God gave them water from the rock to drink. He gave them manna to eat. And he brought them safely in to the land that he prepared for them, a land suitable for habitation, a land flowing with milk and honey.

And what shall we say of the redemption that we have in Christ Jesus? “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” (Colossians 2:13–15, ESV)

In Christ, we who were dead, have been made alive. In Christ, we who walked in darkness, have seen the light. In Christ, we who were once without form and void, not suitable for communion of God, have been made into a temple by and of the Holy Spirit. “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6, ESV).

Posted in Sermons, Joe Anady, Genesis 12, Posted by Joe. Comments Off on Sermon: The Earth Was At First Uninhabitable: Genesis 1:2

Catechism Insight – Doctrinal Standard WSC #35

Doctrinal Standard #35

  • Q. What is sanctification?
  • A. Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace by which our whole person is made new in the image of God, and we are made more and more able to become dead to sin and alive to righteousness.

Memory Verses

  • “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1–2, ESV).


  • Study Passage: Romans 7-8
  • Support Passages: I Thessalonians 5:23, II Thessalonians 2:13, Romans 6, I Corinthians 6, Philippians 3:1-16, Romans 12:1-2, I Peter 1:13-21
  • Bible Story: Genesis 12-25:11


  • “Sanctification is the continuing work of God in the life of the believer, making him or her actually holy. By ‘holy’ here is meant ‘bearing an actual likeness to God.’ Sanctification is a process by which one’s moral condition is brought into conformity with one’s legal status before God. It is a continuation of what was begun in regeneration, when a newness of life was conferred upon and instilled within the believer. In particular, sanctification is the Holy Spirit’s applying to the life of the believer the work done by Jesus Christ” (pg. 980). [1]
  • While justification and sanctification are connected it is important to understand the distinction between the two. Justification is what saves an individual from their sins and allows them to be accepted before God. This is made possible through the righteous life and death of Jesus Christ (see lesson #48-49). Justification is applied to an individual through faith and by faith alone. While sanctification does not save an individual sanctification is the response to the justification in the life of a believer. Sanctification is the “progressive work of God and man that makes us more and more free from sin and more like Christ in our actual lives” (pg. 1259).
  • Romans chapter seven and eight is an interesting passage of scripture that explains the connection between God’s Law, justification, and sanctification. In chapter seven, Paul explains that God’s Law is good and it is the measure by which man must perfectly live by in order to be accepted by God. Paul goes on to explain that it is impossible for man to live up to this expectation. In fact, the more Paul understands the Law, the more he realizes how much sin is in his life. Paul teaches that’s it’s the imputed righteousness and forgiveness in Christ blood that takes the place of man’s efforts to keep the Law and be accepted before God (justification). Does this mean that the Law is done away with? Paul says no! While there is no way man can keep the Law to be accepted before God, with the Spirits help we are called to live pure and holy lives which the Law points towards (sanctification).

Discussion Questions

  • Explain in your own words sanctification.
  • How does sanctification differ from justification?
  • What is the measure of sanctification?
  • Is sanctification an option for believers? Explain
  • How does God play a part of sanctification?
  • Does the sanctification process ever stop for a believer?

[1] Erickson, Millard J. (1998). Christian Theology. Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA; Baker Books.

The Story of Abraham – Part 1 of 2

The Story of Abraham  – Part 1 of 2
A First Person Sermon
Genesis 12-15
Joe Anady

A. Introduction
1. Hello Emmaus Christian Fellowship, my name is Abraham. It’s a pleasure to be with you this evening to share with you about what God has done in and through me. As I understand it you are in the middle of a series where you are considering your mission as Christians today in light of the mission of God. Your pastor asked me to come and share about God’s faithfulness in my life and the role that it played in this grand plan that has been unfolding since the beginning of time.
2. Of course my story is recorded in Genesis chapters 12 – 22 but instead of simply reading from the text I figured it would be a better use of the time that we have together for me to personally give you an overview of my life. I don’t plan to talk about everything that Genesis 12-22 talks about – you can certainly take the time to read the text for yourself. My goal this evening is to give you an overview of my life, staying true to what the scriptures say, of course, with the hope that you will make application for your lives today, be it in the way of a transformed mind, or transformed behavior – preferably both. Above all else I want you to see that God is faithful to His promises despite our failings.
B. Scene 1 – Abraham in Ur of the Chaldeans
1. I was born in what you would say is 2,000 B.C. My fathers name was Terah and I had two brothers; Nahor and Haran. One thing that is important to keep in mind as you study the Bible and try to make sense of the ages that are given to my father and me at significant moments in our lives is that I was not the oldest of my brothers. It’s true that I am listed first, but that is because the rest of the story focuses on me. Haran was the oldest; he was the one who was born when my father was 70 years old. Nahor was the middle child. I was the youngest – born when my father was 130 years old. My oldest brother, Haran died at a relatively young age.
2. I was born in Ur of the Chaldeans. The city was located in what is today, Iraq. In fact, the city was located about 186 miles southeast of modern day Bagdad. Originally it was situated on a gorgeous bend of the Euphrates river but the river has, obviously, changed its course since the days that I walked this earth 4,000 years ago.
3. What you need to understand is that this place was absolutely incredible. Today it might look like nothing more than a pile of dirt, but in my day the city was splendid. From 2113 – 2095 B.C. a man by the name of Ur-Nammu governed the city and it was under his rule that the city enjoyed great prominence. We enjoyed tremendous peace and prosperity. In fact, as I look back on those early days of my life, there would have been no reason for me to leave. My entire family was there, we were economically secure, we were safe from invaders, and there was political stability. It truly was all that we could have asked for.
4. But then one day the LORD spoke to me. He revealed Himself as Yahweh. Now, you need to understand that I had not known Yahweh before this moment. Joshua was right when he would later say to the people of Israel, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “Long ago, your fathers lived beyond the Euphrates, Terah, the father of Abraham and of Nahor; and they served other gods.”
5. It’s true, my family served other gods. Looking back on it now, I’m ashamed. We worshiped the creation rather than the Creator. In particular we worshipped the moon god known as Nanna. It seems so foolish to me now! We were idolaters and yet Yahweh was gracious to us.
C. Scene 2 – The call of Abram and his Obedience
1. Though I was not seeking the LORD, He was pursuing me. He interrupted my comfortable, idolatrous life by calling out to me, saying, “Abram, Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
2. I will never forget those words. Though I did not know Yahweh prior to that moment, the words that he spoke were so powerful, so real, so deeply impact-full that they were etched in my memory from that day forward. I will admit that I struggled from time to time with allowing this promise to penetrate deep down into my heart, but the words never left my mind – “Abram, Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
3. Wow. This was an overwhelming experience to say the least. To you it probably doesn’t seem like much, but put yourself in my shoes. The LORD was calling me to leave everything that I had ever known and to trustingly follow Him. This was truly the defining moment of my life.
4. You know, I’m glad for two things regarding the way that the LORD called me. First of all, I’m glad that the LORD did not soften the call so as to make it more palatable to me at first. He made it quite clear that following Him would involve leaving “my country, my kindred, and my father’s house” – everything. These words truly caused me to stop and think. These words caused me to count the cost before moving out – and count the cost I did!
5. I am also glad that He did not give me all of the details concerning what was ahead of me at once. If he had told me with great specificity how difficult the journey was going to be I don’t know if I would, at that time, have had the courage or the faith to leave. This calling was enough for me to process for the time being.
6. The LORD told me to leave all that I knew behind and to go to a land that He would show me. If He had told me that I was going to occupy the land of Canaan from the outset, I’m not sure if I would have left, for I knew that the people who occupied that land were much greater than I. But the LORD has a way of giving us just what we can handle, one piece at a time.
7. As if all of this were not enough the LORD also told me that He was going to make me a great nation.
8. Now, there is one very significant person that I have not introduced to you as of yet, but she is indeed very significant – Her name is Sara, she was my wife. Actually, at this point in the story her name was Sarai and mine was Abram, but you know us better as Sara and Abraham. That’s another story for another time. For now you should know that Sarah and I had been trying to have a child for years, and it was becoming evident to us that she was barren. This was a heartache that remained with us for most of our married life.
9. Now, could you imagine the LORD appearing to you saying that He would make you a great nation when you and your wife were, up to that point, unable to have even a single child? This was almost too much for us to believe. It was good news for sure! But it stretched our faith to say the least.
10. Not only did God promise to make me into a great nation, but He also said that He would bless me and make my name great, so that I would be a blessing.
11. Truthfully, it was at this moment that my anxious heart began to be set at ease. The calling of God was overwhelming in so many ways, but to hear the LORD say, “I will bless you” made the difference for me. I knew in that moment that no matter what the future would bring, it would be covered by the blessing of the LORD. In that moment I began to think, “I can do this.” Though I had only known Yahweh for a short time my heart was so drawn to Him that I started to see having His blessing as so much more appealing than all that Ur of the Chaldeans had to offer. The blessing of God is what I truly desired.
12. When God told me that He was going to make my name great, I almost laughed. I mean, we were a relatively prosperous family, but we were not great. I knew of great men – Kings whose reputations preceded them even to the ends of the earth – and to think that God was going to make me great like this was mind boggling. I didn’t have a clue as to how it was going to happen.
13. God also said that He was going to do all of this so that I would be a blessing. This portion of the promise was indeed very impact-full on my life from that day forward. As soon as pride would begin to well up within me causing my head to swell, thinking that this was all about me and “my blessing, and my great name”, I would remember those words – “so-that-you-will-be-a-blessing.” From the moment I was first called by God it was made clear to me that the ultimate purpose of this calling was to bless others. I realized in that moment that I was to be some sort of conduit of blessing. All of the good that the LORD determined to pour out on me was to, somehow, be ultimately distributed to others. This truth changed me deeply. It effected the way that I looked at my purpose in this world.
14. The LORD also promised that He would bless those who bless me and curse those who curse me. I heard God saying to me in that moment that He would be with me forever. Just as Kings make treaties with one another and share common friendships and common enemies, so to God would, in a way, befriend those who befriended me and oppose those who opposed me. It was good to know that I would not be going alone.
15. But perhaps the most astonishing and mysterious portion of this promise was saved for the very end. The LORD said that in me all of the families of the earth would be blessed. The earth is a big place, as you know. There are lots people on this planet; lots of families. It was with that utterance that I began to realize that all of this was so much bigger than just me and my progeny. The LORD had a grand scheme, a plan that was somehow going to extend, not only to my offspring, but also to all of the peoples of the earth.
16. Now please understand that in that moment I was almost completely in the dark concerning how these promises would ultimately work out. I gained a little bit more clarity concerning the plan of God as I walked with Him for the remainder of my days, but not much.
17. I must tell you that observing the plan of God unfolding before my eyes as I have been observing from heaven these last 4,000 years has been the most incredible experience. Words fail me. The mission of God, the history of redemption, the plan of salvation, when observed from heaven and considered from that point of view is the most most mind-boggling of experiences.
18. To think that the simple phrase, “In you all of the families of the earth will be blessed” would play out to mean that I would have a son – that he would have a son – and that after I was dead and gone my family would go into Egypt and become slaves for 430 years and be rescued from their bondage by Moses and become a great nation – that my decendents would occupy the land promised to me – that Kings would come from me, and that ultimately, through my lineage, the Messiah would come – Jesus Christ the Son of God. Now, 4,000 years later, I can truly see that in me all of the families of the earth have indeed been blessed. In fact here you are today in the United States of America, all of you with diverse ethnic backgrounds, and yet you are my offspring through faith in Jesus Christ who came in my lineage. The apostle Paul was right when he said, “Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘All the nations will be blessed in you.’ So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.”
19. What an incredible story! God orchestrated all of this so that He could take on human form in the person of Jesus Christ, live in perfect obedience to the law, die in our place so that through faith in Him we all might have eternal life. I looked forward to Him in faith, you look back – but in Him we are one.
20. I agree with the apostle Paul when, considering the story of redemption, even from his limited perspective, he exclaimed, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”
A. Scene 3 – The Journey with Terah to Haran
1. Well, needless to say, the LORD’s calling was effective. In fact, some of my extended family was also effected by this calling. It was actually my father, Terah, who led us out of Ur along with my nephew, Lot, whose father had passed away, and, of course my wife, Sara. It was good to have family with us on this journey.
2. Remember that the LORD had not told us where we were specifically going, and so we journeyed to the north and to the west about 650 miles as the crow flies and settled in a place called Haran which is about 20 miles to the southeast of what today is Edessa, Turkey.
3. I’m not sure why we settled there exactly. Perhaps it was because the name of the city sounded a lot like my brother’s name who had passed away; perhaps it was because they worshiped the moon god in a similar way to the people of Ur (they called him Sin instead of Nanna). Whatever it was, I decided to honor my father and to remain with him until the LORD made it clear that it was time to move on.
4. After some time my father died. He lived to the age of 205. We grieved deeply over the loss of my father, but it was clear that it was time for us to leave that city; to continue in obedience to the LORD’s call.
5. With our hearts heavy, and yet full of faith, Sara, Lot and I, along with the people we had acquired in Haran, began to sojourn to the south and to the east about 350 miles until we came into the land of Canaan, located in what is today called Israel, and to the oaks of Moreh, or Shechem, located about 40 miles to the north of what would later be Jerusalem. It was a long journey. It was frightening at times. And to be honest there were moments when when we thought to ourselves, “what in the world are we doing?”
6. But it was there that the LORD spoke to me again revealing something new to me. He simply said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” It was good to hear from the LORD again and to have some clarity from Him, but believing the promise still required faith. As I looked around I saw a beautiful land. To the west, the waters flowed down to the Mediterranean Sea; to the east, they flowed to the Jordan river. The land was rich and fertile and pleasant. I’ll admit that I wanted the promises of God to be fulfilled immediately but as I looked around I saw the Canaanites. They were a people much stronger than I. I knew that the LORD would have to do much more before His promises would be fully realized, and yet I trusted Him, that He would indeed fulfill His promise to me.
7. From there we moved to the east of Bethel, which was about 11 miles to the north of, what is today, Jerusalem and I built an alter to the LORD there and I worshiped Him, calling upon His name.
8. From there we continued on down towards the Negeb, down into the dry dessert regions to the south of Jerusalem and to the west of the Dead Sea.
I. Scene 4 – The Journey to Egypt, the Fall, and the Plunder
1. Times were difficult in the Negeb. It was very dry and there was a famine in the land. This season of life stood in stark contrast to the mountain top experience I just had in Shechem and even to the relative prosperity that I had experienced in Haran and Ur. I went from hearing the promises of God and worshiping God in lush places, to dryness.
2. The famine was so bad that we needed to do something drastic and so we decided to take our clan into Egypt. This was a risky move. We did not know how we would be received. Would they kill us and take our possessions? Would they force us into slavery? We simply did not know. But the only other option was to remain in the desert and starve to death, and so we set out west toward Egypt.
3. Now, I need to tell you about something I did that I am not so proud of. It’s true, I am known for my faith, but you must understand that I also made some really big mistakes in my life, and at the root of those mistakes was a heart that was unwilling to trust God fully in some areas.
4. As we journeyed toward Egypt I began to flounder a bit. My mind started to go places that it really should not have gone. I looked at my wife and as I considered her beauty I could not help but think that when the Egyptians saw her they would surely kill me and take her for themselves. I mean what would stop them from doing so? They certainly had the upper hand! And so I asked Sarah to tell the Egyptians that she was my sister. My reasoning was that, even if they took her, at least our lives would be spared. I believed that God could protect her even if she was taken into Pharaoh’s house – and protect her He did! But the problem with the whole situation was that, although I was still trusting in God and although my intentions were good ultimately, I will admit, I took matters into my own hands, I doubted God, and I selfishly put my own wife at risk. I acted according to my own wisdom. My faith wavered in that moment, and instead of trusting purely in the promises of God, I allowed my trust in the LORD to be polluted with a trust in myself.
5. Looking back I know that God would have protected us as husband and wife there in Egypt. If He had the power to do all that He done for us up to that point, certainly protecting us in Egypt was nothing for Him – I see that clearly now.
6. The irony is that He still protected us despite my sin. Sara was taken from me by the Egyptians. I wish could explain to you the sorrow that I felt inside when that happened, but the LORD protected Sara while she was in Pharaoh’s house – no one laid a hand on her. I was treated very well because of Sara. Pharaoh gave me sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male servants, female servants, female donkeys, and camels. My wealth had been increasing from the moment we had left Ur, but now I was a very wealthy man! God even afflicted Pharaoh’s house with great plagues because of Sara.
7. I’m not sure how Pharaoh put all of the pieces together but he eventually figured out what was going on. He called me into his house and said to to me, “What is this that you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘she is my sister’, so that I took her for my wife?” He was angry – and I was afraid and ashamed. There I stood, the chosen of the LORD, being rebuked for my moral failings by godless, idolatrous, Pharaoh. He was right to rebuke me. And then, to my surprise, he sent me away with all of my possessions including the gifts that he had given me for my “sister”. I went out of Egypt with a great plunder – a very wealthy man. Pharaoh could have killed me but the fear of the LORD was upon him.
8. Do you want to hear something incredible? I actually repeated this same mistake again later in my life but the next time is was with Abimelech the King of Gerar. You can read all about that in Genesis 20, but really it was almost a repeat of what had happened in Egypt. Sara agreed to say that she was my sister (she was really my sister by the way, the daughter of my father though not the daughter of my mother – that wasn’t a problem back in my day before the law was given like it is a problem for you today). Anyway, she said she was my sister, was taken into the King’s house and God struck the wives of the King with barrenness and confronted King Abimelech in a dream saying “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman you have taken, for she is a man’s wife”, after which Abimelech confronted me and sent us away with many gifts. There’s more to the story than that, but that should suffice for now. It was not my brightest moment.
9. You know, some people think it’s strange that Moses, when he was writing Genesis, decided to tell these stories about me. He could have left out the bad parts I guess, but to be honest, I’m really glad that the Holy Spirit moved him to include these stories.
10. Keep in mind that the people to whom Moses was originally writing had been redeemed from Egypt not long before Moses wrote these words about me in Genesis 12-22. The had come out of Egypt with great plunder just as I had hundreds of years before. They had seen God do incredible things before their eyes and yet they were struggling in their faith when it came time to enter into the land that had been promised, originally to me, and also to them. They were left to wander for 40 years in the desert, in the Negeb, if you will. I think that these stories about me, my success and failures played a huge part in giving that next generation, Joshua’s generation, the courage they needed to finally enter in and possess the land of Canaan. These episodes that were a result of a lapse in faith on my part served, ultimately, to illustrate how God is sovereign even over the heathen nations, and how God will indeed bless those who bless me and curse those who curse me. These were stories that the people of Israel needed to hear. They needed to know that God would be faithful to them no matter what. They needed to be reminded that God’s faithfulness is built upon the rock solid foundation of His promises, and not upon faithfulness of man. It’s amazing how the LORD can use even our shortcomings to bring about good and to strengthen future generations.
11. Now, from Egypt we went back toward the Negeb with our many possessions and from there we went back up towards Bethel, to the north of modern day Jerusalem, to the place where I had originally built the alter and worshiped the LORD.
A. Scene 5 – Abram and Lot Separate
1. Our possessions were great. So great, in fact, that it forced Lot and me to separate. The land simply could not support all of our livestock and strife was building between his servants and mine. The last thing I wanted was for there to be tension between my nephew and me, so I told him to pick which way he wanted to go and that I would go in the other direction. I gave him first choice of the land. He looked around and saw that the Jordan Valley was green with water everywhere and so he decided that he would head east. I could see why the Jordan Valley was appealing to him. I was concerned about the wickedness of the people who lived there, however. Nevertheless, Lot headed East and I headed West and settled in the land of Canaan.
2. The LORD appeared to me again after Lot had departed, saying, “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.”
3. The LORD had a way of confirming His promises to me throughout my life just when I needed it. To think that God’s promises still stood true even after my failings! To think that my offspring would be like the dust of the earth in number. I knew a thing or two about dust after wandering in the Negeb and I understood anew and afresh that God would multiply me greatly. But still, I had no child.
A. Scene 6 – Abram Rescues Lot
1. Sarah and I, along with our clan sojourned up to the oaks of Mamre which were near Hebron about 25 miles south, southwest of where Jerusalem is today, and we settled there. We thought about Lot often. He was very dear to us; we had spent so much time together.
2. One day we received word from an ally of ours that Lot and his family had been taken captive by the Kings of Ellasar, Elam, and Goiim. Basically, Lot was caught up in a messy situation. These Kings attacked the Kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bela and because Lot was living amongst the people of Sodom, he and his family were also taken captive.
3. I knew that the people of Sodom were wicked people and perhaps deserved the judgement, but Lot was a righteous man; he was our family! I had no choice but to go after them and to bring them back.
4. I assembled 318 of my trained men and we went after the Kings and the LORD gave them into our hands. I rescued Lot and his family along with the people of Sodom, and many possessions. It was a great victory for us.
5. To think that not long ago I was just a man in the land of Ur and now I was leading a small army and defeating Kings!
A. Scene 7 – Abram Blessed by Melchizedek
1. On the way back from battle the King of Salem approached me. His name was Melchizedek. He was a king but he was also a priest of the Most High God. He refreshed us with bread and wine and he blessed me, saying “Blessed be Abram, by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!”
2. I knew that this man was a great man. He served as an intermediary between the God Most High and those who trusted in Him. It was good to know that I wasn’t the only one on the planet worshiping Yahweh! It was also good to be blessed by someone that I could see and touch. Receiving the blessing from Melchizedek was yet another confirmation that God was indeed doing a work in and through me.
3. I don’t think it is any coincidence that this blessing came after I rescued righteous Lot out of the wickedness of the world. It seems that my actions were a foreshadowing of what Christ would ultimately do.
4. I gave Melchizedek a tenth of everything as an act of worship before the Lord.
5. I also gave the King of Sodom all that belonged to him, people and possessions, so that he could not say “I have made Abram rich.” I wanted everyone to know that my prosperity was the result of the blessing of the God Most High alone.
A. Scene 8 – God’s Covenant with Abram – 15:1-21
1. After this the LORD spoke to me again, but this time in a vision. Now this encounter was far more vivid and relational than any of the other encounters that I had with the LORD in the past.
2. He approached me in the vision and said, “Fear not Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”
3. I thought about those words and responded, “O Lord God, what will you give me for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?”
4. Now, you have to understand that, through all of this, the burden of remaining childless was very great. How could God possibly fulfill His promise to me if I did not have a child? And so I said to the LORD, “Behold, you have given me no offspring and a member of my household will be my heir.”
5. The LORD responded to me with great clarity saying, “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.”
6. The LORD then took me outside in the deep of the night. It was cold and moonless and the starts were shining brightly and God said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” And so I looked up and I began to gaze at the stars. I was mesmerized by their beauty. The sky was thick with stars to the degree that it seemed as if whole sky were filled. And then the LORD said to me, “So shall your offspring be.”
7. I believed the LORD. It was through that faith that I was declared righteous before God. It had always been that way, and still is that way today. We are declared righteous before God through faith.
8. The LORD then said to me, “I am the LORD who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.” I responded to him saying, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” I needed something more from Him. A guarantee, of sorts.
9. It was then that the LORD did something incredible. In the vision He said to me, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” And so I brought him all of those animals, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other. But I did not cut the birds in half. And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, I drove them away.
10. In the vision, as the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell over me; dreadful and great darkness fell upon me. Then the Lord said to me, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions (we know now that He spoke of the Exodus). As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”
11. And when the sun had gone down and it was dark I saw a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch pass between these pieces.
12. The story sounds strange to you, I’m sure, but I knew exactly what this meant. Kings in my day would make covenants with one another in this way. They would divide animals and walk between the pieces together as a way of saying to one another and to those who observed, “let what has happened to these animals happen to me if I break this promise.” And yet, it was God who walked between the pieces alone. His light broke fourth in the moment that I was consumed with great darkness and dread, and He walked between the pieces alone, promising to do what He said He would do.
13. On that day the Lord made a covenant with me, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.”
14. I said in the beginning that when the LORD first called me in Ur that much of the detail concerning the plan of God was hidden from me. Now, the LORD had told me with great certainty that my offspring would possess this land after sojourning and being in bondage for about 400 years. They would be brought out of that country in much the same way that I came out of Egypt, with great plunder. Evidently the time for all of this had not yet come – God still needed to do a work amongst the Amorites. He promised me that I would die in peace at an old age. My faith was certainty bolstered because of the covenant that God made me.
B. Conclusion
1. Well, there is a lot more that could be said, but it will have to wait for next time.
2. I am tempted, in conclusion, to make application for you based upon my life. We know that the scriptures, not only record history for us, but that they also drive us to consider the way that we think about God and the world around us and the way that we live based upon what is in out hearts. Instead of making application for you, I encourage you to think now on what you have just heard. As the music team comes up to lead us in a closing song, prayerfully make application to your own life.
3. Let’s pray. God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, we praise you. We thank you for your steadfast love, the faithfulness that you have shown to your people. Help us, LORD, to live faithfully before you. Amen.

"Him we proclaim,
warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom,
that we may present everyone mature in Christ."
(Colossians 1:28, ESV)

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