The Lord makes a covenant with Abram - Catholic Courier
The Lord told Abram his descendants would be as numerous as the stars. (illustration by Linda Jeanne Rivers) The Lord told Abram his descendants would be as numerous as the stars. (illustration by Linda Jeanne Rivers)

The Lord makes a covenant with Abram

In this issue:

The Lord makes a covenant with Abram
Bible Accent: The Pentateuch
Saint for Today: St. Tarasius

The Lord spoke to Abram in a dream. “Do not fear, Abram! I am your shield; I will make your reward very great.”

But Abram was discouraged, so he said in reply, “Lord God, what can you give me, if I die childless and have only a servant of my household, Eliezer of Damascus? Look, you have given me no offspring, so a servant of my household will be my heir.”

The Lord answered Abram. “No, that one will not be your heir; your own offspring will be your heir.” Then the Lord brought Abram outside into the night and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can. Just so … will your descendants be.” So Abram believed the words of the Lord and the Lord considered his faith an act of righteousness.

Then the Lord said, “I am the Lord who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as a possession.”

And Abram asked, “Lord God, how will I know that I will possess it?” The Lord instructed Abram to offer certain sacrifices, which Abram obeyed. By that time a full day had passed and the sun was about to set again. Abram fell into a deep sleep and as he did a feeling of dread and fear overtook him.

The Lord spoke to Abram again. “Know for certain that your descendants will reside as aliens in a land not their own, where they shall be enslaved and oppressed for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation they must serve, and after this they will go out with great wealth. You, however, will go to your ancestors in peace; you will be buried at a ripe old age.”

By then the sun had completely set and the sky was very dark. A smoking fire pot appeared in the night, as did a flaming torch. Then the Lord made a covenant with Abram. “To your descendants I give this land.”

The Lord kept his promise to Abram. Even though he and his wife were very old, the Lord blessed them with a son, who was named Isaac.

Genesis 15
1. Why was Abram discouraged?
2. What did the Lord say to Abram about the stars?

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Bible Accent

The first five books of the Old Testament, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, are called the Pentateuch. This is believed to be a reference to the five boxes in which the scrolls for these Scriptures were kept. Genesis tells the stories of some of the earliest of our religious ancestors, including Adam and Eve, Abram, Noah, Jacob and Joseph. Most of Exodus tells the story of Moses, the escape of the Israelites and the giving of the law. Leviticus establishes important laws and religious rituals, and the priests are responsible for seeing the people follow them. Numbers draws its name because of a census that was taken of all the people of Israel. Deuteronomy is an attempt to collect the laws together that had been given previously and gives more details about them.

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Saint for Today: St. Tarasius

Tarasius (730-806) was a layman who was selected to be the patriarch of Constantinople. He felt the position should have gone to a priest. Also, although he had been raised in a family with wealth and political influence, he preferred to live without many of the privileges his family could give him. After the council of Nicea in 787 Tarasius helped to restore holy images and pictures in order to honor the holy men and women who had lived before his time. After Tarasius refused to grant the emperor a divorce, he had to live with the emperor’s resentment and also that of the emperor’s mother, a cruel woman. When Nicephorus took the throne Tarasius was able to live in peace until the time of his death. We honor him on Feb. 25.

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