Delivered from bondage
‘And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. 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; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.’ Genesis 15:12–14
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: 1 Kings 8:54–61
The Lord, in this chapter, confirmed his covenant with Abraham by repeated promises and by signs—suited to establish his faith, and likewise for the instruction of his church in succeeding times. A deep sleep fell upon him (his bodily senses were overpowered, but his soul was awake to the visions of God) and a horror of darkness—an emblem of the afflictions his posterity was to meet with and of the dispensations of the law they were to be subject to.
Here Abraham is informed of:
(i) their trouble. They were to possess the land but first they were to suffer in bondage. When the time of the promise drew nigh he found them in misery and slavery—thus he made himself known as their deliverer. So it is with all the Lord’s people. He has appointed them an inheritance, but they are for a season in the enemies’ hands.
(ii) God’s vengeance on their enemies: I will judge them. The Lord will plead his people’s cause and then they shall come forth with victory and honour.
JOHN NEWTON, CLERK,
Once an Infidel and Libertine,
A servant of slaves in Africa,
Was, by the rich mercy of our Lord and Saviour
Preserved, restored, pardoned,
And appointed to preach the Faith
He had long laboured to destroy.
Epitaph, by John Newton
SERMON SERIES: GENESIS, NO. 33 [1/2], GENESIS 15:17