Before you begin your Bible study, as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, be sure you have named your sins privately to God the Father.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
(Known, Unknown and Forgotten sins) (1Jn 1:9)
You will then be in fellowship with God, Filled with the Holy Spirit and ready to learn Truth from the Word of God.
"God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and Truth." (John 4:24)
This subject is dedicated to all of those who are worried, or who ever have worried, or whoever will worry!
First of all, let me state that God has never been worried not even once. In all of the billions of years of His existence God has never worried. In fact, it is impossible for God to worry. If you have ever examined the essence of God, you will see that everything in His character adds up to the fact that it is absolutely impossible for God to be worried or in a state of anxiety and I am going to add one, to be concerned. Now, don’t try to get around it concern is worry, although there is a sense in which concern is not worry. We are concerned about our country because of the dangers it faces at the present hour, but this concern can easily become worry.
BECOME IMITATORS OF GOD
(Eph 5:1) says, “Be, (Literally, keep on becoming something you are not) therefore, (In view of what has already been given in Ephesians) followers, (Literally, IMITATORS) of God...” Now, you cannot imitate God and worry. You cannot imitate God and be afraid; you cannot imitate God and be in status quo anxiety. “...As beloved children.” The word “dear” is literally “beloved,” a title used for the Lord Jesus Christ. God the Father loves God the Son with an infinite amount of love, and therefore, He is the object of the Father’s Divine love. When we accept Christ as Savior, we enter into union with Christ, and we are, therefore, beloved children. Now as beloved children, we are to become imitators of God. However, it is only possible to imitate God when we are in fellowship with Him in time.
Since worry is NOT imitating God, whenever a person worries, he is immediately out of fellowship. All worry and all anxiety is not only sin, it is an extremely subtle and evil type of sin. Worry or anxiety is described in many ways. For example, in (Rom 14:23) “...For whatsoever is not from faith [Divine Thinking] is sin.” Worry is nothing more or less than lack of Divine Thinking, and lack of Divine Thinking is sin and evil! We are specifically Commanded in, (Php 4:6) (Literally) to “stop worrying about anything.” A question regarding worry was asked in the Sermon on the Mount: “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?” (Matt 6:27) We would say today, “WHICH OF YOU, BY WORRYING, CAN GROW UP?” Habitual worry is dedication to habitual misery and habitual childhood as far as the Spiritual life is concerned. The issue we face in this life is that WE MUST BECOME IMITATORS
OF GOD, if we are to mature Spiritually. In, (Eph 5:18) we are told HOW to become imitators of God. “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be (Habitually) filled with the Spirit.” The entire mechanics of being filled with God the Holy Spirit begins back at, (Eph 5:14) First, as we have seen, the believer is Commanded to become an imitator of God. But according to, (Eph 5:14) three problems can frustrate the observance of this Command: ignorance, carnality and lack of production. Each of the three phrases of this verse is connected with one of these problems.
MECHANICS OF IMITATING GOD
“For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper...” This is not a Command to wake up from literal sleep, but to rebound and become aware or cognizant of Truth. As long as believers are ignorant of Divine Thinking and do not habitually expose themselves to the teaching of Bible Doctrine, they will worry and be perpetually miserable and perpetually out of fellowship. “Death” in the second phrase refers to temporal death — out of fellowship with God. Therefore, “arise from the dead” means to go from carnality back into Spirituality — in other words, to REBOUND. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1Jn 1:9) Rebound (Confession) is the key to Thinking with Truth, for God the Holy Spirit cannot operate when there is un-confessed sin in the life.
The third Command is the issue of production in the filling of God the Holy Spirit. When we rebound Christ provides production. He provides the light. “Christ shall give you light.” Jesus said to the disciples, recognizing their helplessness, “I am going to leave you, but I am not going to leave you comfortless. I will send the Comforter.” The Comforter is God the Holy Spirit. Here is the “light” which Christ Promised. Now in this passage, “Christ will give you light” means that when we rebound we are filled with God the Holy Spirit, and only in this way can we become productive and the flaming torch we are going to study.
EVERY BELIEVER IS EITHER A SMUDGE POT OR A TORCH
Now what is a smudge pot? In certain parts of California it is very nearly a catastrophe when the temperature drops as low as 32, for the orange industry can be ruined overnight. For this emergency orange growers have thousands of little pots which they light at night in the orange groves. These smudge pots, as they are called, give very little light, but throw out a tremendous smoke. Although the smoke provides protection from damaging frost, it also makes a dark night even darker.
Worrying is “Operation Smudge Pot!” The more you worry, the worse things become. It is like throwing smoke on darkness. Worry means that you are personally confused, and your confusion and worry clouds the issue for everyone who has contact with you. Confusion is a contagious disease. Worry is contagious.
But when we become aware of the Doctrine of rebound and apply it, then Christ shall give us light the filling of God the Holy Spirit. But WHERE THERE IS WORRY, THERE IS NO FILLING OF GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT: there is habitual carnality, misery and childishness. Some believers never never grow up. They remain smudge pots all of their lives. On the other hand, when worry is confessed and Truth is applied, there is light and production.
Turn in your Bible to, (Gen 15:1) where we have three cures for worrying. First of all, we need to see Abram (Or Abraham, as he is more familiarly known) as he exists in this passage. We know that he is a believer in Jesus Christ. He has been saved for twenty-five years or more. He belongs to Christ and always will. He is under the grace of God forever and cannot lose his Salvation. But when Chapter 15 begins, Abraham is out of fellowship.
Abraham has just had four great victories in, (Gen 14:1-24) the first victory was over mental attitude when he learned that Lot was taken prisoner and was on his way to slavery. Abraham did not say, “I told you so.” He was not vindictive or filled with a happiness built on Lot’s misery; he was not happy at all over the terrible tragedy that had overtaken Lot. Instead, without one “I told you so,” he went immediately to his rescue, ignoring the fact that Lot had maltreated him and made a choice which by right should have been Abraham’s. The result of his victorious mental attitude was a second great victory.
This second victory was a great military, victory. One battalion defeated possibly as many as 100,000 men in a night attack. The third great victory was one of motivation. Abraham had the opportunity of becoming a millionaire many times over by splitting all the spoils of war with the King of Sodom. The King of Sodom made Abraham a proposition. (As Satan’s messenger) He said, “I will take the bodies, you take the money, and we’ll go our separate ways.” This would have made Abraham “secure for life.” This would have given him human security. Abraham was able to refuse the temptation through the Spiritual help of Melchizedek, who gave him the proper motivation for doing so. Melchizedek reminded Abraham that God, “possessor of heaven and earth”; (Gen 14:19) could give him much more security than the King of Sodom. Abraham should wait for the Lord to provide. In this way no one could say that Abraham fought for the base purpose of gaining wealth rather than the Divine noble purpose of delivering Lot. Satan always tries to twist our motivation and thus neutralize our testimony.
The final victory came at the end of Chapter 14. Abraham won the great victory over smug self-righteousness. He did not impose his own high standards of maturity on those who came with him, but insisted that they be compensated for their help. This all adds up to the fact that Abraham was on a lofty mountain top at the end of Chapter 14. But when Chapter 15 begins, he is a different person
Abraham had been victorious, he had been great, and he had been successful as a believer. He had demonstrated some of the highest qualities in the life of a believer. But now, beginning in Chapter 15, we see three words, “After these things.” These three words introduce a change. Abraham is now in a status of anxiety. He is full of worries and doubts and fears, three of which are mentioned at this time.
Why was Abraham worrying? Oh, he wasn’t worrying about the same thing that you are perhaps worrying about today, but the Principle remains the same. After all of these great victories, Abraham got out of fellowship through the temptation of human viewpoint, fear and worry. These mental attitude sins are very subtle, because they blaspheme the character of God and say in effect that God is not capable of taking care of you. Abraham became afraid of violence, retaliation and revenge. Chedorlaomer was still alive, and since he was still the most powerful king of the Middle East, Abraham began to fear that he might come back with another great army and take revenge. He was also afraid of the King of Sodom who might conceivably revenge himself upon Abraham because Abraham had refused his proposition. Secondly, he began to be concerned about loss of human security. He worried whether he would have sufficient wealth, food and shelter after all; and how he would get along in his old age. Businessmen often say, “Every now and then a door opens up which makes the difference between great wealth and just eek-ing out a living.” Abraham had turned down that kind of proposition because he had been reminded of the Spiritual consequences involved. Reflecting on this later, Abraham realized that if he had accepted his portion of the spoils he would have been secure for life. It now brought doubts to his mind as to the wisdom of his decision.
His third worry occurred periodically. He had no heir. God had Promised him that he would have a son from his own loins, but he worried because he was now 83 years old, he had been ten years in the land and still no heir had materialized. (Gen 11:30) continued to be the status quo — Sarai (Sarah) was barren. This was a challenge to believe God, but Abraham was using it as an opportunity for worrying. Abraham was in “panic palace.”
When this chapter opens we have three words, “After these things...” (Gen 15:1) Remember, we are most vulnerable to failure after great success, UNLESS we have the perspective of grace. Abraham did not have the perspective of grace, and therefore, this great and marvelous believer of Chapter 14 is reduced to a squeaking mouse that is afraid of his own shadow in Chapter 15. HE IS WORRIED! He is afraid. He is in status quo anxiety, and when this is prolonged, it leads to neurosis, psychosis, mental illness, and breakdown. It leads to miseries which are almost beyond description. In other words, the believer suddenly finds himself a smudge pot! There is a flicker of light — he is still saved — but out of the feeble flame is coming smoke, smoke, SMOKE.
THREE CATEGORIES OF WORRY
Worries fall into three categories. One, we worry about sin. (The guilt complex) Two, we worry about the problems of this life, and these run the gamut from security to retaliation situations, etc. Then, third, we worry about death and dying about what is beyond the grave. If at some time in your life you have ever worried about how you might die, or what the future holds for you after death; if you have worried about some past sin or failure, or about some pressure or adversity that now exists; if you are worried about the future of this country or the future of your children; if you are worried about your own personal happiness, or if you have ever worried about your Salvation, (Doubting it) or eternal security, then you recognize that the field for worrying is unlimited. Not only is the temptation to worry great, but the opportunity is always present. But in view of the fact that in, (Eph 5:1) we are Commanded to become imitators of God, then as believers we should never worry because God does not worry.
The Command not to worry is reiterated many times and in many ways throughout Scripture. (Php 4:6) says to stop worrying about anything; (And or EVERYTHING) in, (Psa 55:22) we are told to cast our burdens upon the Lord; in, (1Pe 5:7) we are told to cast all of our anxieties upon Him; in, (1Sa 17:47) we are told that “THE BATTLE IS THE LORD’S”; in (Exo 14:13-14) we are told to “STAND STILL and watch the deliverance of the Lord, because the LORD will fight for you today.” It is quite obvious, no matter where you look, no matter what passage of experiential Christianity you are dealing with; you are Commanded never to worry. Worry is the perpetuation of discipline, but this is a discipline which we make for ourselves. (Prov 8:36) Can you imagine a child taking a board, hitting himself on the gluteus maximus and punishing himself? Children are not generally guilty of this, but childish believers do this very thing. Worry and anxiety is self-inflicted misery in the Christian life. Every time we worry we not only sin, but our testimony is clouded, and we add smoke to darkness instead of shining light out, into the darkness.
THE CURE FOR WORRY
There are three solutions to the problem of Abraham’s worry, and three solutions in this passage to the problem of OUR PERSONAL WORRIES. So once again, if you are worried now, if you have worried in the past, or if you will be worried in the future, this passage is dedicated to you. This is in the hopes that you might, even yet, in the remainder of your life on this earth, have that peace, that blessing, that joy, that inner happiness, that dynamic that belongs to you as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ!
The first cure for worry — The Promises of the Word of God. The first solution to the problem of worry is found in, (Gen 15:1-7). “After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying...” (It came to Abram in a vision because the Bible was not yet completed. Any visions you may have today are hallucinations or demon influence. God does not give His information through visions or dreams now that the canon of Scripture is completed, but in those days this was a bona fide system of revelation of the Word of God) “...The word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram...” This actually becomes a Command not to worry, because FEAR IS WORRY. It is the same Concept we have in, (Isa 41:10-13)
'Do not fear, for I Am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I Am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.' "Behold, all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored; Those who contend with you will be as nothing and will perish. "You will seek those who quarrel with you, but will not find them, Those who war with you will be as nothing and non-existent. "For I Am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, 'Do not fear, I will help you!'
Now the fact that God tells Abraham to “not fear ” reveals that Abraham is worried. Even though he had been victorious in the past, he is now a smudge pot. He has gone from a beautiful flaming torch in Chapter 14 to a smoking smudge pot in Chapter 15. He was worried; he was disturbed and upset. Now, what did God offer to Abraham as a cure for his worry? First, a Promise. “I Am your shield.… Are you afraid of revenge? Are you afraid of the vindictiveness and hatred, the antagonism and hostility of Chedorlaomer? Abram, I AM YOUR SHIELD! Chedorlaomer has thousands of troops. He is a powerful king, but you have no need to fear. I have put a shield around you. That’s a Promise; so Abram, stop worrying about revenge. Stop worrying about retaliation from Chedorlaomer. I am your shield. Stop worrying.”
God then adds the second part of the Promise: “I Am your exceeding great reward.” “Abram, are you afraid that in your old age you are going to starve or be in rags, or have to go down and live with Lot? Are you all upset about where your next meal is coming from and what you are going to do for the rest of your life? Well, you can stop it RIGHT NOW! I Am your exceeding great reward. You refused that tremendous wealth. You refused all that money and the millions of dollars’ worth of property, but I Am your reward, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills. My wealth is inexhaustible. All eternity will not reveal the extent of my wealth. So all you have to do is to make up your mind. ARE YOU GOING TO BELIEVE THE WORD? Or are you going to look at this from the human viewpoint? If you look at it from the human viewpoint, you are going to be worried and upset. You are going to be a smoking furnace, a smudge pot. But if you look at this from the Divine Viewpoint, (‘I Am your shield, and your exceeding great reward’) then no matter how much the pressure, no matter how great the adversity, no matter how many armies of the enemy move through this land, no matter how many plots are hatched by the King of Sodom — that evil, vicious, vindictive king — no matter what pressure is brought against you, I WILL PROVIDE YOUR NEEDS. I Am your exceeding great reward! I Am your shield!
Talk about social security. This is social and Spiritual security rolled into one — one marvelous two-part Promise.
Today we have over 7,000 Promises, with many parts, which are found throughout the Word of God. Any one of them can be a sure cure for worry, if we will but THINK WITH THEM! “All right, Abram, what will you do worry or believe the Word? You cannot worry and believe the Promises of God at the same time; they cannot coexist. If you believe the Promises of God, you have peace and inner happiness; if you believe human viewpoint and look at your circumstances from the human viewpoint, you are going to worry yourself into a state of terrible misery.”
You would Think that Abram would say, “Fine, I’m going to trust and Think with the Promises and everything is going to be all right.” But that is not the way it turned out at all. Abram continued to worry. He was just like many believers throughout the world today. They learn how to cast their cares on the Lord, but after about five minutes of casting their cares on Him and after about five minutes of peace, they think of some new solution and they take it back either by some thought and or action. They try something else they go talk to someone; they consult an “authority” on the subject; they think of a new avenue of escape or a new idea for a solution, or they just start thinking in general, and worry, worry, worry. That is a picture of Abram. Abram just did not learn it the first time. Notice (Gen 15:2-3)
“And Abram said, Lord GOD, what will You give me, since I am childless..?” Childlessness, to him, was a hopeless situation. There was absolutely no way that Abraham could have a child from his own loins. This was the great longing of his heart. He wanted a son from his own loins. He wanted the fulfillment of the Promise that out of him would come great nations. Yet there was no human way to have a son. The situation being absolutely hopeless, Abraham began to complain that his heir was not his own son, but Eliezer of Damascus. He said, “...The heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus.” Since Lot left, Abraham had changed his will, leaving everything to Eliezer, his faithful administrator. The word “heir” means an administrator. Abraham added, “Behold, You have given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir...” This is a complaint; this is more worry and more anxiety. So once again, God, in His grace, gave Abram a Promise, which we read in, (Gen 15:4).
Then behold, the Word of the LORD came to him, saying, "This man will not be your heir; but one who will come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir.
Now THAT IS A PROMISE! Abraham can believe what God says and have perfect happiness and perfect inner peace. The situation is still hopeless from the human viewpoint, and as a matter of fact, will remain hopeless for fifteen more years. So for the next fifteen years, if Abraham wants peace and happiness, it will be a matter of believing the Word of God. Do you know what finally happened to Abraham? (Rom 4:20-21) tells us.
“Yet, with respect to the Promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had Promised, He was able also to perform.” (Rom 4:20-21)
The Guarantee Behind The Promise
The Promises in this passage are specifically to Abraham, but the Principle is the same for you and me. Behind every Promise is a Person, You understand that a Promise is no greater than the person who makes the Promise. Perhaps in the past you were Promised things which did not materialize. Perhaps, as a child, you extracted a Promise from your parents which they were unable to fulfill. You were terribly disappointed. Well, a Promise is no stronger than the person or the person’s ability to fulfill the Promise. But we are talking about the Promises of God, and behind every Promise of God is a Person. This Person is the Sovereign, Absolutely Righteous, Just, Loving, Eternal, Omniscient. Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Immutable and True God! When God says He will do something, He keeps his Word! God cannot change. (Heb 13:8) He loves us with an infinite amount of love. These characteristics are the essence of God, and behind every Promise in the Word of God is the essence of God Himself.
Abraham was 85 at the time God made this Promise to him. He will be 100 when the Promise is fulfilled. There were fourteen more years before Abraham, at age 99, received further confirmation of the Promise. And for the next fourteen years, Abraham is going to take the position of being FULLY ASSURED of what God had promised. WHY? For fourteen years he is going to STOP WORRYING and BELIEVE! But since Abraham continued to worry at this point, it became necessary for God to spell it out plainly by three object lessons. In, (Gen 15:3-7) we will see these three pictures, all of which serve to illustrate the point that the One who made the Promise has the ability to keep it. Now, who Promised Abraham? THE LORD GOD, and the Promises are as strong as God is strong. We, as believers, are Commanded to STOP WORRYING because the Promises that come to us have their source in a Perfect Person. These Promises do not depend on what we are. THEY DEPEND ON WHO AND WHAT GOD IS! In GRACE it never depends on what we are, or who we are. It depends on WHO and WHAT GOD IS. God is perfect in His character, and because of this it is impossible for Him not to keep His Promises. THIS IS GRACE, and once you understand the Principle of grace and all its implications, you cannot worry. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE
The Three Object Lessons
(1) The stars. The first object lesson is in, (Gen 15:5) and illustrates the fact that God has the ability to solve Abraham’s problems. You see. He has solved greater problems than Abraham’s. First of all; there are millions and millions of stars in space. They all move at unbelievable rates of speed. They do not collide, but hold their orbit. God has established a traffic pattern in the universe, and He has the power to keep all of these great stars of space in their orbit; consequently, while moving at great speed, millions and billions of stars follow a perfect pattern. This requires knowledge — God has omniscience; this requires power — God has the omnipotence to accomplish it. Immutability is required — God cannot change. If He weakens, the universe collides! So no matter how you look at it, if God has the power to hold the universe together, God has the power to handle any problem you ever had — or ever will have! Verse 5 is not only an illustration, but an analogy as well.
And He took him outside and said, "Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them." And He said to him, "So shall your descendants be.
God is saying, “Take a look at those stars. They remain in their orbits, though moving through space at great speed. I hold them all in My hand.” Yes, Jesus Christ holds the universe together, (Col 1:17) and if He has the power to handle the problem of traffic in the universe, He also has the power to handle your problems.
“Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” (Psa 55:22)
Not only has Abraham been Promised an heir from his own loins, but he is now told that even as the stars are innumerable, so will his seed be.
(2) Salvation. (Gen 15:6) “And he (Had) believed in the Lord: and He (The Lord) counted it to him for righteousness.”
Abraham had already believed in the Lord. He had been saved for over twenty-five years. He HAD eternal life. The perfect tense in the Hebrew is a past completed action; an action which was completed many many years ago. The illustration is simply this. “Now, Abraham, take a good look at your Salvation. Look back to the time when you were saved. That was over twenty-five years ago in Ur of the Chaldees. You have believed in the Lord, and at the time you believed, I credited to your account MY righteousness. I PROVIDED EVERYTHING. At the point of Salvation you were a sinner. You were an enemy, and you were DEAD! You had no fellowship with Me. I did the MOST for you at the point of Salvation, providing eternal life and justification. You did not earn or deserve it. Just as with the stars, I do the work. You did not do anything for Salvation, but I, GOD, did the work.” (Rom 8:32) and (Col 1:17) brings this out in the New Testament. “He who did not spare His Own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” God did the most for Abraham (And for us) at the point of Salvation. “Look, Abraham, I did these things for you when your righteousness’s were as filthy rags, (Isa 64:6) when you had sinned and come short of the glory of God, (Rom 3:23) and you were my enemy. (Rom 5:10) Now you are My friend. Now you are My child — what can I do for you now? Can I solve your problems? IF I DID THE MOST FOR YOU AT THE CROSS, WHAT CAN I DO NOW? Much more than the most. Therefore, there is no problem which you can ever have, Abraham, over which I do not have control and a solution. SO STOP WORRYING! You are not growing up by worrying. Do you think you can add one inch to your height by worrying?”
(3) Faithfulness. (Gen 15:7) “And He said to him, "I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess it.” Has God been faithful to you in the past? I wonder if any person could give this testimony, “Since the day that I was saved, I have never had anything but misery. My life has been just one miserable situation after another. I don’t even know why I am here.” Could you say that? You have no right to, for you are alive and breathing, which is indicative that along, the way God has taken care of you. GOD HAS BEEN FAITHFUL. Oh, we have been faithless many times in the past. We have failed Him so often, but do you know, He has never failed us even once! You can look back (Though it is not recommended except to reflect on God’s faithfulness) over past failures, difficulties and problems. God has delivered us from all of them; we are still here! He has been faithful, and He was faithful to Abraham.
Abraham had sinned in many horrible ways since he was saved. He had failed the Lord in Haran. He had failed the Lord in Egypt. He had failed the Lord in the land by worrying. And yet, in spite of all that, God was still faithful to Abraham. So the third illustration is God’s faithfulness to the believer in time.
Now all of these illustrations point to one Person, and that Person is not only God, but GOD THE SON.
(Col 1:16-17) tells us that God the Son is the One who created and holds the universe together. It hangs together by His power. God the Son is the One who went to the cross, and God the Son is the One who provides for us in time. As we saw in, (Eph 5:14) “Christ will shine on you.” Everything depends on WHO and WHAT Christ IS. Understanding the illustrations and hearing the Promises; there is no excuse for Abraham, or any other believer, to worry about ANYTHING!
The second cure for worry — the Doctrine of the Word. This cure is suggested in, (Gen 15:8-11). You see, we often worry because we are ignorant of certain parts of the Word. Abraham expresses ignorance of Divine Thinking in verse 8. “He said, "O Lord GOD, how may I know that I will possess it?” He entertained worries now about the possibility of inheriting the land which God had Promised him. Abraham saw the land occupied by the Amorites, as well as many giants. Not only that, Chedorlaomer and his forces had been moving back and forth throughout the land, threatening to envelop it. He wondered how he could ever hope to inherit this land. Now although it was humanly hopeless, it was not hopeless to God. Abraham was simply ignorant of certain Divine Thoughts which would give him assurance. The answer, therefore, will of necessity be a Doctrinal one.
In verse 9 five different types of, animals are mentioned. First of all we have the heifer, which represented the “rebound” offering in the Levitical system. The she-goat and the ram both spoke of the work of Christ in Salvation. Specifically, the she-goat was the reconciliation offering, while the ram depicted propitiation. The turtle dove and the young pigeon spoke of the Person of Christ and His heavenly origin, the turtle dove portraying His Deity and the pigeon His resurrected humanity. Neither bird was divided, because Deity cannot be divided or killed. Further, Christ is never subject to death again, having risen, and therefore, there will be no dividing or killing of the young pigeon. Now what was God saying to Abraham by bringing these Doctrines of Christ before him?
Through the heifer, or “rebound” offering, He was saying, “Abraham, you need have no worries with regard to your sins because by confessing them you are forgiven and your sins are blotted out. Therefore, there is no place for a guilt complex or for anxiety about past failures. If you are going to have any discipline in the future it will be over future sins. But be sure you offer the heifer, for IT IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY TO REBOUND AND REMEMBER SCRIPTURE BEFORE YOU CAN GET RID OF YOUR WORRY.”
You see, up to now Abraham was still worried. God had given him a Promise, but he was still worried. He received another Promise, and he was STILL worried. What is wrong? He will keep on worrying, no matter if he has a thousand Promises, because he has not used rebound. He has not confessed his sin of worry, and he is therefore out of fellowship! You cannot claim the Promises of God when you are out of fellowship. YOU MUST FIRST CONFESS YOUR SIN OF WORRY! Thus, Abraham offered the heifer, which is the “rebound” offering, because it was necessary to get back in fellowship before he could even claim the Promises of God.
Here is why this is so subtle. Some people confess certain sins to God with which they are familiar, and then five minutes later they begin to worry. They cannot understand why they are not filled with the Spirit and why they cannot Think with the Promises of God. The reason is that worry has put them out of fellowship, and they don’t even know it. They cannot do anything because they are not in fellowship. SMUDGE POT! Throwing out a lot of smoke; (Smoke screen) adding confusion. People see these smudge pots and they say, “That person claims to be a Christian, but look at him; tantrums, worry, anxiety, nervous breakdown, falling apart, and neurotic, psychotic, unstable, implacable, vindictive and revengeful!” And it all stems from this one root; worry, worry, worry! Never acknowledging being out of fellowship! No wonder there is so much confusion concerning Christianity!
Worry is a terrible sin. And this was Abraham’s problem. You would think that after he understood the problem he would be all right. HE WAS NOT. In, (Gen 15:2-3) he even made God a patsy. He told God that the reason he was all upset was because God had not given him anything! And God was waiting to give him these things just waiting, trying to give them to him. So first of all Abraham had to confess his sins.
In, (Gen 15:10) we read, “Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two...” Abraham first divided the heifer, then the she-goat. Now if Jesus Christ provided reconciliation, (The removal of the barrier between God and man) can He not meet our problems in time? HE CAN. Therefore, STOP WORRYING!
The ram was the propitiation offering. If God the Son, hanging on the cross, satisfied God the Father, and all of the Father’s claims against us, Jesus Christ did it all on the cross, can He not handle our problems in time? WE CAN therefore, stop worrying!
The turtle dove spoke of the Deity of Christ. Jesus Christ is God; Deity. He is always faithful, (Immutable) He always keeps His Word, (Veracity) He keeps on loving us and He is eternal in nature. Can a Person like that solve my problems? HE CAN — therefore, stop worrying!
The young pigeon represented the resurrected humanity of Christ, which is seated at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us. Now if the humanity of Christ is thus engaged on our behalf, He can certainly meet our needs in time. Therefore, STOP WORRYING.
Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, and laid each half opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds. (Gen 15:10)
As soon as Abraham divided, or cut the heifer in half, we know he had rebounded. When he walked between the pieces of the heifer, he was saying in effect, “I have confessed my sins.” When he killed the other animals, it was analogous to being under the blood of Christ, and or in union with Christ. Truth is vitally important in our lives, as believers; and when we are worried, IT IS BECAUSE WE ARE NOT THINKING WITH THE WORD. (And believing the Promises of God and mixing them with our faith! (Heb 4:2)
Emissaries of the Devil
(Gen 15:11) “And when the fowls came down upon the carcasses, Abraham drove them away.” Oh, Abraham, now that you have rebounded, the devil is going to get after you! And that is exactly what we have in verse 11. The devil counterattacked. As soon as you stop worrying, as soon as you learn how to claim Promises and Think with them, you are going to have more things about which you could worry. You are going to have greater temptations to worry. You will undoubtedly be tested in some other ways.
Now what were these fowls? They are described for us in, (Matt 13:4; Matt 13:19). They are the emissaries of Satan. It is a part of the devil’s plan to get us to worry. (1Pe 5:7-11) “...Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” And what is this roaring and this devouring? The roaring is something to make us worry, and the devouring is when we start to worry. Many of us are in the lion’s mouth through worry. Paul said he was delivered from the mouth of the lion. Paul was not in any lion’s mouth literally, but he was delivered from worry by what God had provided. (2Ti 4:13-18)
Now the emissaries of the devil attacked these carcasses, and the attacking of them was the temptation to start worrying all over again. But “Abram drove them away.” For the first time, Abraham had stopped worrying. To drive them away means that he had perfect peace; he was no longer worried. He stood on the Promises of God; he applied Truth to experience and had victory in his life. However, Abraham’s victorious experience lasted only until nighttime, for after he retired for the night, a new type of worry troubled him and it produced a nightmare! On the surface everything was fine. Thinking with the Promises of God, he went to bed with peace, but in the darkness of the night he woke up, all upset. He fell back on his emotions, disturbed, panic stricken and in a state of hysteria! There is a cure for this, too, but Abraham had to find it out the hard way.
(Gen 15:12) “Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, terror and great darkness fell upon him.” Darkness here speaks of pressure. ALL of us have pressure. You cannot grow up without pressure! God provides pressure, adversity and suffering so that we will learn to Think with His Promises and use the SPIRITUAL THINKING of the Word; so that we will BE flaming torches. “And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram. Why? BECAUSE HE HAD THOUGHT WITH THE WORD. Because he was standing on the Promises of God and knew that “the battle is the Lord’s”; because he was standing still to watch the deliverance of the Lord; because he knew TRUTH. He knew the Divine essence of God, and he knew that the Lord would never let him down. He understood immutability and its relationship to faithfulness. He understood veracity; he understood love and eternal life. He understood righteousness — that God must be fair to Himself, and therefore, being fair to Himself, He CANNOT be unfair to us. He cannot treat us any way except in grace!
And understanding all of these things, Abraham should get a little sleep that night. But the sun went down, and what happened in the middle of the night? A NIGHTMARE. “...And behold, terror and great darkness fell upon him.” Subconsciously, he was still worried about one thing. Do you know what that was? “How can I ever get all of this land, northward, southward, eastward and westward, as God Promised it to me.” God had said to him, “Look to the south, look to the east, look to the north and to the west. It’s all YOURS. Walk up and down in it and enjoy it. It belongs to you!”
“But everywhere I walk I see Amorites; I see Canaanites; I see all of these armies moving up and down. How can I ever get it? It’s humanly hopeless!” And Abraham had a nightmare about it, waking up with “a horror of great darkness upon him.”
The third answer to the problem of worry is the knowledge of Prophecy. Did you ever stop to realize how practical Prophecy Is — a knowledge of the future? PROPHECY, of all things! Here is a Prophecy of Israel’s future. Here is the Prophecy of how Israel is going to inherit the land some 600 years later. And this Prophecy is going to answer all of Abraham’s questions. It applies to us today as well. You will not sleep peacefully until you know what you are going to have after death and apply it to your life now. If God can provide for you a resurrection body, if He is going to give you a mansion in heaven, if He is going to provide an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, if you are going to have no more sorrow, no more tears, no more pain, no more death in eternity and many other marvelous things, you have no right to worry now. You have no right to nightmares. Here is the Principle: knowledge of the future gives the believer assurance in the present.
We now have knowledge of the future brought out. The question had been asked in, (Gen 15:8) “O Lord GOD, how may I know that I will possess it?” Before God could give Abraham his final answer, he first had to teach him some Truth. The problem of ignorance had to be disposed of. God had to postpone His answer to teach Abraham, by the offerings and sacrifices, the importance of knowing the Spiritual Thoughts pertaining to Christ and His constant provision for Abraham. Now that Abraham understood these things and applied the Doctrine of rebound to the situation, God supplies the clinching answer to Abraham’s worry.
(Gen 15:13) “God said to Abram, “Know for certain... “In this phrase there is a very interesting Hebrew syntactical development. The word “to know” is given twice, once as a participle and then as a finite verb: “Knowing, you will know,” literally. The first time the word “know” occurs, it is the process of getting the Doctrine of Prophecy in the frontal lobe. The repetition of it the second time, “you will know,” means to Think with it so that you have assurance. So we would translate, “Know with assurance.” Now “knowing with assurance” means freedom from worry, freedom from anxiety, freedom from fear, no matter what the circumstances of life may be. “...Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years.”
The first Prophecy begins with the Egyptian bondage. For four hundred years the Jews will be in slavery. During this bondage they will have a tendency to be discouraged and to give up, but (Abraham is told) “You pass on this Divine Reality, and when they are in the four hundred years of bondage they will Think with this Truth and have meaning in life. Not only can YOU stop having nightmares now, but for four hundred years Jews in Egyptian slavery will not need to have nightmares. They will be able to live quiet, normal lives under tremendous pressure. Even though the lash of the taskmaster will bite deep, and even though many will be
Tortured and slain, they are going to live normal lives for four hundred years under intense pressure. How? Thinking with Prophecy, Doctrines and Promises.”
Accurately Prophesied, the Jews were in slavery four hundred years. That is enough to destroy any race, BUT IT DID NOT DESTROY THEM — IT MADE THEM! Under the pressures of slavery they became a powerful nation. How could they do it? I’ll tell you exactly how they did it. For four hundred years some of the Jews stopped worrying! For four hundred years they Thought with the Promises of God and had no anxiety or fear, even though the pressure was great. How was this possible? THEY HAD GOD'S THINKING IN THEIR MINDS. They had Prophecy, just as we have Prophecy today — the Tribulation, the Second Advent of Christ, the Millennium and all of its aspects.
I have heard people say, (And it is a tragedy when preachers say this) “I don’t care about Prophecy. My job is to win souls.” That sounds great on the surface, and people say, “Amen, just win souls.” But you cannot win souls when you are a smudge pot! And there are areas of anxiety and fear which can only be handled through a knowledge of Prophecy. So if you do not know Prophecy, you are going to have NIGHTMARES. And as long as you have nightmares you are making your own misery by your ignorance of the Word of God! So take your choice. Maybe you will have to burn the midnight oil and learn a little Prophecy, but it is better to do that than to wake up with a nightmare.
(Gen 15:14) adds the prophecy of the Exodus. “But I will also judge the nation (Egypt) whom they will serve...” This judgment is the ten plagues, including the killing of the firstborn ‘of Egypt. These ten plagues are found in, (Exo 8:12-32) All of these plagues formed the judgment against Egypt. “And afterward they will come out with many possessions.” This was fulfilled in, (Exo 12:33-36) where the Jews took the wealth of Egypt as they departed. Actually, it was given to them as four hundred years’ wages. (Prov 16:7; Prov 21:1)
In, (Gen 15:15) Abraham’s death is Prophesied. Apparently part of his nightmare was dreams of horrible ways in which he might die, perhaps at the hands of his enemies. But his fears are quenched with a personal Prophecy; and he is assured, “As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace...” This “peace” is that of dying grace. You can have peace while you are dying. Even though you may die a most horrible death, God will provide inner peace during every second of it. That is dying grace and it is a Promise to Abraham as well as to every believer. We do not know how he died, but we know it was peaceful. Die in peace live in hilarity in the presence of God!
“...You will be buried at a good old age.” In other words, Abraham was Promised a long life. In the meantime there is a great deal to do, and worrying will not get it done!
Finally, we have the Prophecy of Israel’s return to the land. (Gen 15:16) “Then in the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.” At this time Abraham was a missionary, and a very successful one. There was a great revival in the land of Canaan, and it would be more than five hundred years before the effects of this revival would be seen, and for the Amorites to reach that point of degradation where God would remove them from the earth before they destroyed the human race.
Many people ask the question “Isn’t the God of the Old Testament a bloodthirsty God to Command all of these killings?” NOT AT ALL! The people whom God Commanded to be killed were so decadent and demon controlled, that if they had been permitted to live it would have completely corrupted the human race. You have to be terribly degenerate and corrupt to sacrifice your children in a fire and remain indifferent to it while you watch them burn to death and listen to the screams! But that was the iniquity of the Canaanites. This iniquity of the Canaanites, or Amorites, would not reach its peak so that God would have to judge them for at least another five hundred years. In the meantime, Abraham won some of them to the Lord.
(Gen 15:17) “And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down...” The previous night Abraham had a nightmare. As a result, he had learned the third cure for worrying. First, the Promises of the Word; secondly, the Doctrines of the Word, such as Christology and Soteriology; and thirdly, the Prophecies of the Word. GOD'S REVEALED THOUGHTS THAT WE ARE TO THINK WITH!
THE SECOND TEST OF PRESSURE
“Now, Abraham, the sun is going to go down again, and there is going to be pressure — the pressure of darkness. You will have to face it again. Are you going to have peace, inner happiness and power? Or are you going to have nightmares?” What will he do?
“It came about when the sun had set, that it was very dark....” The darkness again is not only literal darkness, but it also stands for pressures. In other words, God does not cure worry by REMOVING pressures! GOD CURES WORRY THROUGH HIS WORD, through Promises, through Doctrines, through Prophecies but He does not take pressures away. As long as you live you are going to have pressures. As long as you live you are going to have periods of darkness followed by periods of light, and then periods of darkness again, but you can have the same happiness in darkness as you have in daylight! So darkness came again. The issue for Abraham is the same for every person who is born again — the smoking furnace or the burning lamp. “...There appeared a smoking oven and a flaming torch which passed between these pieces.” The pieces are those of the heifer offering. When the heifer was offered, Abraham had to pass between the pieces. Passing between the pieces, he had rebounded his sins were forgiven and blotted out. He was definitely in fellowship again. Now, back in fellowship, he can do one of two things: get out of fellowship again through worry and become a smoking oven, or stop worrying and become a burning lamp.
As a boy, I used to love to go to my grandmother’s house. She had a fireplace with a beautiful hearth, and I invariably had the desire to build a fire in it. At last one night, mustering up my courage, I asked her if I could start a fire, and she gave permission. I put in paper and kindling, finally lighting it in one or two spots, and very soon I was rewarded by a great blazing fire for just a minute! As I was standing in front of the fire, excited by its flame, suddenly there was a gush of smoke. The flames were all but extinguished as smoke began to pour out, filling the room. I coughed and hacked, for it also began to fill me. As I ran from the room, the smoke followed me down the hall! You know what was wrong, don’t you? I had failed to open the flue. It quickly became a smoking furnace! Everyone loves a nice fire in the grate, but no one likes to be overcome and blinded by smoke! Smoke just confuses the situation.
The phrase “burning lamp” is literally a “flaming torch.” You see, darkness represents pressure and difficulty. Any adversity in the life is represented by darkness. What does smoke do? Smoke makes the darkness darker and adds confusion to confusion. But what does a flaming torch do? It puts light in the darkness. The darkness is still there, but the light goes through and makes the issue clear. The flaming torch is the believer who has stopped worrying! It is the believer who uses Promises, Doctrines and Prophecies, the believer who has the inner peace, inner power, inner beauty, and the inner blessing that comes from the cessation of worrying. But the smoking oven is the believer who is upset — about business, upset about social life, upset about the future, upset and disturbed and adding confusion to confusion. Not only is he himself hurt, but he is sharing his confusion with all whom he contacts. This then is the great issue: are you a smudge pot, or are you a burning, flaming torch? Have you fulfilled the Principle of confession of sin, turning back ignorance and the issue of, (Eph 5:14) — imitating God through the filling of God the Holy Spirit, Virtue love and Thinking with His Thoughts!
WORRYING IS A SIN. WORRYING IS LEGALISM. Worrying is YOU doing the work INSTEAD OF GOD. Every moment that you worry you have a POOR TESTIMONY for the Lord. You are a smoking oven, you are a smudge pot. You are miserable and you make everyone around you miserable. What is worse, there is no burning testimony for the Lord. There is no glorifying of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ” (Php 4:6-7)