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Genesis 15:12-16

Overcoming the Darkness

12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. 13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. 15 And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. 16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.


Waiting upon the Lord is not easy. In Matthew 26, Jesus went into the garden to pray and asked His disciples to watch and to wait for Him, but they fell asleep twice. Jesus told them to, "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." (v.41) Abram had made his sacrifice and was watching the carcasses to keep the birds from getting them, but he fell asleep. His sleep, however, seems to have been induced by God.

We are told that a great darkness fell over him. This was not an ordinary sleep, because the darkness caused a feeling of horror to come upon Abram. Perhaps it was a sample of what hell will be like. Jesus referred to hell on three occasions as the outer darkness. (Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 25:30) He said that there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth. All we know, however, is that the darkness Abram experienced was terrifying.

It was in this darkness that the voice of God came to Abram with the threefold revelation about his promised seed. First, He told Abram of a dark and horrifying period that would occur in his offspring's future. They would be strangers in another land, where they would serve as slaves and be cruelly treated for four hundred years. Secondly, the nation that afflicted them would be judged and punished for their sins. And finally, Abram's people would be delivered out of that land, bringing an abundance of riches with them.

We have the good fortune of being able to look back on the events of history to see how God fulfilled His promises. We know that the Egyptians held Israel in slavery and how God called upon Moses to lead the people to their freedom. We also have the written record of how they wandered in the wilderness for four generations until the sins of the Amorites were such that God was ready to dispossess them of their land. The exodus of Israel from Egypt was like the resurrection of a dead nation to receive the promises of God.

We cannot miss the similarities of this to the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. As He suffered on the cross at Calvary, the sky turned dark and a great horror came over Him. He felt the sins of the world being cruelly placed upon Him and the subsequent separation from God the Father. "And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34) After that, He suffered the darkness of death and lay in the grave for three days and three nights. His subsequent, miraculous resurrection is the fulfillment of God's promise that Abram's seed should bless all the peoples of the earth.

Paul wrote about Abram, saying, "And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an 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 able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification." (Romans 4:19ff)

By enduring the horrors of darkness, Jesus made our salvation sure. As the children of Abraham, Christians have been rescued from the slavery of sin and look forward to being raised up to be with Him forever. The resurrection is the hope upon which all of Christianity rests.

Before The Throne:

Meditate on the suffering of Christ. Can you imagine what He went through for our sakes? This is a time to renew your faith in the promises of God. Abram had only the promise, but we have Christ, the firstborn of many brethren, as our example. Give thanks for His precious sacrifice and have a wonderful weekend of worship, praise, and remembrance of Him.

For Further Study:

(v.12)
** deep. Gen 2:21; 1Sa 26:12; Job 4:13,14; 33:15; Da 10:8,9; Ac 20:9; ** horror. Ps 4:3-5; Ac 9:8,9;

(v.13)
** thy. Gen 17:8; Ex 1:1-2:25; 5:1-23; 22:21; 23:9; Le 19:34; De 10:19; Ps 105:11; Ps 105:12,23-25; Ac 7:6,7; Heb 11:8-13; ** four. Ex 12:40,41; Ga 3:17;

(v.14) ** that. Gen 46:1-34; Ex 6:5,6; 7:1-14:31; De 4:20; 6:22; 7:18,19; 11:2-4; Jos 24:4-7,17; 1Sa 12:8; Ne 9:9-11; Ps 51:4; 78:43-51; 105:27-37; Ps 135:9,14; ** with. Ex 3:21,22; 12:35,36; Ps 105:37;

(v.15) ** And thou. Gen 25:8; Nu 20:24; 27:13; Jud 2:10; Job 5:26; Ec 12:7; Ac 13:36; ** in peace. 2Ch 34:28; Ps 37:37; Isa 57:1,2; Da 12:13; Mt 22:32; Heb 6:13-19; Heb 11:13-16; ** buried. Gen 23:4,19; 25:8,9; 35:29; 49:29,31; 50:13; Ec 6:3; Jer 8:1,2; ** good. Gen 25:7,8; 1Ch 23:1; 29:28; Job 5:26; 42:17;

(v.16) ** in the. Ex 12:40; ** Amorites. 1Ki 21:26; 2Pe 3:8,9; ** not. Da 8:23; Zec 5:5-11; Mt 23:32-35; 1Th 2:16;

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