How many times do you think I've read Genesis 15?
A lot of times, that's how many.
While it was still dark outside, I read Genesis 15 as part of my morning devotions. Side note: winter is the worst. My usual 6:30am wake-up call seems so much less traumatic when it's warm outside and the sun is rising. January is the Monday of months. And why is it 21 degrees outside??!! Now back to the story...
To be honest, in some of the earlier books of the Bible, I read mindlessly. I know about Adam and Eve, Noah, etc. Genesis is an easy read and one that's been read to me before I was even able to comprehend the words. I know it all already, right? Wrong.
Genesis 15:11 "The birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away."
One of my favorite things to do while reading the Bible is to pay attention to the "duh" verses, or the "was that really necessary?" verses. To give you a little context, in Genesis 15, God has just finished promising Abram that his descendants would be as many as the stars in the sky (a stretch to believe since Abram was as old as dirt- his wife also- and had no children). Abram believes and ask the Lord how he can be sure that it will come to pass. God instructs him to bring some animals to sacrifice. Abram does as he's told and the Bible describes how he butchers (or doesn't) and arranges the offering, but then it describes something that I found odd and out of place. The Bible tells us that the "birds of prey" come down on the carcasses, but Abram DROVE THEM AWAY.
When I read the verse, I thought, who cares about the vultures in this story? Why does anyone need to know that the birds of prey were interested in eating the other dead animals?
LIGHTBULB! Because the Bible isn't just telling history... I believe the birds of prey are symbolic of what happens in all of our lives when the Lord gives us a promise or a dream. He promises, we believe and then LIFE happens and the Enemy sweeps in to steal that gift before we've realized it. People discourage us or we begin to believe lies about ourselves that we're not capable of accomplishing the goals and dreams that He's set before us. We start to wonder if God is good or faithful and we start to think He may not bring to pass what He promised us. Maybe He forgot? Maybe I did something to make Him angry and He's finished with me? When the birds of prey came to interrupt God's covenant with Abram, Abram Drove. Them. Away. His promise was under attack before the covenant conversation was even over and Abram drove the devourers away. That promise was HIS and no one would steal it!
If the Lord has made you a promise or buried some dreams in your heart, they are NOT fair game for the "birds of prey", for doubt or discouragement, or disbelief. Anything that would come to pick that promise apart should be DRIVEN AWAY. Reject the negative thoughts. Ignore the critical words of others. What He promised, He will bring to fulfillment.
You CAN get healthy. You WILL be a mother in the way and at the time that the Lord has decided. You ARE going to meet the Love of your life. The business that He's given you to run WILL succeed. Your marriage IS going to work. Your child WILL NOT be wayward forever. You CAN train your children in the way they should go. It is NOT too late for you!
Drive away anything and quiet anyone who would nullify God's work or promise in your life and allow Him to accomplish His will... even if it looks nothing like you pictured. Sometimes the greatest joys in life are the dreams that He fulfilled that don't look at all like what you expected.
Stay strong, friends. It's going to be a good year... as soon as it warms up a bit.