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TEXT: Genesis 15:1-21
MESSAGE: “Our Doubts, God’s Promise”
“On the 24th of July, 2007, God told me that I was going to play Dr. King in this film. The reason I know the date is that it was a real surprise to me. I’m not American, I’m from England, and I’d only just moved from America two months before reading the script. The idea that I would be the one to play Dr. King was, to be honest, a bit shocking to me.  But I do know God’s voice. I became a born-again Christian at the age of 16, and my spirit didn’t doubt it. My flesh was a little more skeptical. I auditioned for the role, and the director who was attached didn’t feel I was right for the role, which kind of surprised me spiritually. But like I say, my soul was like, okay, I understand. I hadn’t done many films, really. But then what went on to happen was a seven-year journey in which God gave me opportunities – from playing a Union soldier in Lincoln, who was basically a kind of pre-incarnate version of Dr. King asking for the vote, opposite Abraham Lincoln; to playing an African American fighter pilot in Red Tails; to playing a preacher in The Help; and then the son of a butler in The Butler, which gave me a sort of educational tour of what it meant to be an African American in this country; and all the way to this divine moment we’re in now, when this film is dropping at a time where we are in the midst of racial unrest in America yet again.” – David Oyelowo
“At the beginning of Genesis 15, Abram appears fresh from his triumph in the two struggles of the previous chapter: he rescued Lot from the power of the invading kings, and he resisted the temptation to seize the Promised Land in his own strength. At that moment, you might think that Abram would have been strong and confident in his faith. Yet when the word of the Lord came to him once again, reiterating the promise, “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great” (15:1), the old questions came flooding back…” — Iain Duguid 
How do we keep moving forward? 
 
In two ways…(1. Seeing our true selves 2. Seeing how it’s accomplished)
1. Seeing our true selves (v.1-8)
After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness. And he said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.” But he said, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?”
“When I get honest, I admit I am a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt, I hope and get discouraged, I love and I hate…I am trusting and suspicious. I am honest and I still play games.” – Brennan Manning
“If ours is an examined faith, we should be unafraid to doubt. If doubt is eventually justified, we were believing what clearly was not worth believing. But if doubt is answered, our faith has grown stronger. It knows God more certainly and it can enjoy God more deeply.” – Os Guinness
 
2. Seeing how it’s accomplished (v.9-18)
He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” 10 And he brought him all these, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other. But he did not cut the birds in half. 11 And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away. 12 As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him. 13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “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. 14 But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. 15 As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. 16 And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” 17 When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. 18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram…”

 

Hebrews 6:13 — For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself…”

 

TAKEAWAYS: How do you keep going when you doubt?
  • Know the character of God
“God is too good to be unkind and He is too wise to be mistaken. And when we cannot trace His hand, we must trust His heart.” – Charles Spurgeon
  • Know that God’s grace is enough
  • Know that it’s going to happen God’s way, not your way
“If we knew what God knows, we would ask exactly for what he gives.” — Timothy Keller
  • Know that it’s ultimately not on your shoulders
Mark 15:33 — “And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.”