Devotional: May 4, 2020
Abram said, “God, Master, what use are your gifts as long as I’m childless and Eliezer of Damascus is going to inherit everything?”
Abram continued, “See, you’ve given me no children, and now a mere house servant is going to get it all.”
Then God’s Message came: “Don’t worry, he won’t be your heir; a son from your body will be your heir.”
Then he took him outside and said, “Look at the sky. Count the stars. Can you do it? Count your descendants! You’re going to have a big family, Abram!”
Genesis 15: 1-5 The Message
The story of Abram reminds us that God can do what is seemingly impossible.
God had promised Abram and his wife Sarai, a new life in a new land. Abram had faithfully followed God’s lead, and moved to that land, the land of Canaan.
The descendants God had promised Abram and his wife Sarai: well, God had not yet delivered on that part of the promise. At least, God had not done so when Abram voices this complaint to the Lord. Abram did hesitate to point this out to God.
There were legitimate reasons for Abram to doubt God’s promise. Neither he nor Sarai were young. This was during the time in the bible when people lived long beyond the years we do now. Remember, Methuselah? He was 969 years old when he died! Even so, Abram and Sarai were at least 80 years old at this point. Thus, Abram’s impatience is understandable. After all, Abram had kept his part of the bargain by following God into a foreign land. Frankly, I think he may have been a bit annoyed with God at this point.
So God did something remarkable. He had Abram go outside, and look up at the stars. Then, he did something mind-blowing! He essentially said, “Abram, you are worried about having one child, to carry on your family line. Well guess what? You will have descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky!”
In the summer, we go to our family cabin in Idaho. It is in the Sawtooth Mountain Range, and there is no “light pollution” there. I always look up at the sky in the dark of night, with the stars are spread across the sky with no end in sight. I’m very sure that Abram had a similar breathtaking moment. Imagine! God’s family through Abram would be like the stars in the sky!
When Abram told Sarai that she would bear a son, she laughed! She thought it was ridiculous at her age. However, God was true to His promise, and Abram and Sarai had a son, whom they named Isaac. The name “Isaac” is a play on words in the original Hebrew translation, which the name sounds like the Hebrew word for laughter.
God changed Abram's name to Abraham, which means, “Father of Many.” He also changed Sarai’s name to Sarah, which means “Noble Woman”. God not only changed their names, but he changed their family tree. Their lineage goes beyond what even they could have imagined.
Not only did Abraham and Sarah have a son, but eventually, their descendants were numerous, like the stars in the sky. The next time you have a chance to go outside at night, wherever you are, try to count the stars. You will be reminded of God’s endless faithfulness!
Lord, You are the God of great beauty and faithfulness. We cannot imagine the sky without the carpet of promises You lay before us. May we remember, even on the darkest of nights, Your promises. They are right there in front of us. Give us the patience of Abraham and Sarah. Help us to remember that you never forget about us. Remind us to trust you and follow You, for You are always with us. We thank you for that promise. We pray this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.