The Lord's covenant with Abram
1After this, the Lord spoke to Abram in a dream. God said, ‘Do not be afraid Abram. I will keep you safe. I myself will give you many good gifts.’
2But Abram said, ‘Almighty Lord, there is one gift that I want. I still have no children. When I die, Eliezer of Damascus will receive everything that I have. 3Because you have not given me any children, understand this: Everything that I have will one day belong to a servant in my house.’ #15:3 Eliezer of Damascus was Abram's servant. Abram did not have any children. When Abram died, there was no son to continue the family.
4The Lord gave Abram this message: ‘No! Eliezer will not be the one who receives your things. You will have your own son. He will be the one who receives everything that you have.’
5The Lord took Abram outside. He said to Abram, ‘Look up at the sky. Count the stars. They are too many for you to count!’ Then God said, ‘That is how many descendants you will have.’
6Abram believed the Lord. As a result, the Lord accepted Abram as right with him.
7The Lord also said to Abram, ‘I am the Lord. I brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to bring you to this land. I am giving it to you. It will belong to you.’ 8But Abram said, ‘Almighty Lord, how can I be sure that this land will belong to me?’
9The Lord said to Abram, ‘Bring a young cow, a goat and a male sheep to offer them to me. Each animal must be three years old. Also bring a dove and a young pigeon.’
10Abram brought the three animals and the two birds to offer to God. Abram cut each animal in two pieces. He put the halves opposite each other. But he did not cut the birds in two pieces. 11Some birds flew down to eat the animals' dead bodies. But Abram sent them away.
12When the sun was going down, Abram started to sleep. Suddenly he became very afraid because it was dark all around him. 13Then the Lord said to Abram, ‘Be sure of this: Your descendants will live in a foreign country. They will be strangers there. People will do bad things to them and they will become slaves. This will continue for 400 years. 14But I will punish the people of that country who give them trouble. After this, your descendants will leave that country. They will take many valuable things with them. 15But as for you, Abram, you will have a long life. When you die, you will have peace in your mind. 16After four generations, your descendants will come back here to Canaan. At that time, I will punish the Amorites because they do very bad things. But the time has not yet arrived that I will punish them.’ #15:16 The Amorites lived in Canaan. They did not worship the Lord God. They worshipped false gods. They killed children and gave them as sacrifices to these gods. God told Abram that when his descendants returned to Canaan, he would punish the Amorites at that time.
17Then the sun went down and it became dark. Abram saw a pot that had coals in it. The coals were burning and making smoke. There was also a branch that burned with bright fire. These passed between the halves of the animals that Abram had cut in two pieces. #15:17 The fire showed that God was passing between the halves of the animals. This showed that he was making a covenant with Abram.
18On that day, the Lord made a covenant with Abram. The Lord promised, ‘I give this land to your descendants. The land starts from the river of Egypt and continues as far as the River Euphrates. 19These people live in the land: Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 21Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.’ #15:21 These are the people who lived in the land of Canaan that God was giving to Abram and his descendants. Abram's descendants would win against these people. Then they would take the land for themselves to live in, because God had given it to them.
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God promised to give Abram a son
1Later on, after Abram saved Lot, Abram had a dream, and God talked to him in that dream. God said, “Abram, don’t be frightened, I will always keep you safe, so that nobody can ever hurt you, and I am going to give you lots of good things.”
2-3But Abram said, “Yes, God, you are very powerful. But look, I’ve got no son, so it doesn’t matter what you give me. You haven’t given me the one thing I really want. You haven’t given me any kids. So when I die, one of my work-men will get all my things. His name is Eliyezer. He is from Damascus.”
4Then Abram heard God talk to him again. God said, “I tell you, that work-man will not get all your things after you die. I am going to give you a son, and he will get all your things after you die.”
5Then God took Abram outside and said, “Look up at the sky and try to count all those stars. There are a lot of stars. You can’t count them all. Well, you will have a son, and later on lots of people will be born into his family, and later on they will be a real big family. And just like nobody can count the stars, nobody will be able to count all your family.”#Romans 4:18; Hebrews 11:12
6And Abram believed what God said, so God was really happy with him, and told him, “You believe me, so now I’m saying you are properly good, like you never did anything wrong.”#Romans 4:3, 9, 22; Galatians 3:6; Hebrews 11:11; James 2:23
God did a ceremony to make Abram sure about his promises
7Then God said to Abram, “I am your God. I am the one that brought you out of your home country, from the town called Ur, in Chaldia country. And I am going to give you this country here. It will be yours. You will own all this country.”
8Abram said, “I know you are very powerful, God, but how can I be really sure that I will get all this country?”
9So God said to Abram, “Bring me a cow that hasn’t had a baby, and a female goat, and a male sheep. All those animals have to be 3 years old. And I want you to bring me 2 different sorts of pigeons too.”
10Then Abram did what God told him. He killed those animals and birds, and he cut the animals in half. He put the halves of each animal on the ground in 2 lines facing each other. But he didn’t cut the birds in half. 11Then some hawks flew down and tried to eat the animals, but Abram chased them away.
12While the sun was going down, Abram went to sleep. It was a strong deep sleep. Then Abram had something like a dream. It was really dark for him, and he felt really frightened.#Job 4:13-14 13-15God said to Abram, “I want you to know for sure what will happen after you get really old. You don’t have to worry about anything. You see, you will live to be a very old man, and then, when you are dying, you will feel good inside, and your family will bury you right here, in this country. But I have to tell you something. After you die, your family will leave this country and move to another country that belongs to other people. Your family will live in that country, and later on, the other people in that country will make your family like prisoners, and your family will have to work very hard for them. Those people will do really bad things to your family for 400 years. After that, I will save your family from that hard time, and I will punish those people for doing bad things to your family. Then your family will leave that country, and they will take a lot of animals and things with them. They will be really rich.#Exodus 1:1-14; Acts 7:6 16And I will bring your family back here to this country. You see, the Amor tribe that are here in this country now, they do really bad things, and they are getting worse and worse. But I will not punish them yet. I will punish them later, after your grand-kids grow up and have grand-kids. Then I will do payback to the mob in this country for the bad things that they do. I will take their country from them, and I will give it to your family.” That’s what God told Abram.
17After the sun went down and it was dark, Abram saw a bucket full of fire, with smoke coming out of it, and he saw a burning stick with it. That bucket and stick moved along between the halves of those animals that Abram killed. 18-21That’s how God showed Abram that he was really going to do everything that he promised. God said to him again, “I am going to give your family all this country, from the river in Egypt in the south, right up to the big river called Euphrates in the north.
These are the tribes in this country now,
– the Ken tribe,
– the Keniz tribe,
– the Kadmon tribe,
– the Heth tribe,
– the Periz tribe,
– the Refa tribe,
– the Amor tribe,
– the Canaan tribe,
– the Girgash tribe,
– the Jebus tribe.
I will take this country away from all those tribes, and I will give it to your family.” God promised that to Abram.#Acts 7:5
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