Lent 2022 Day 8
Thu 10 Mar
Gen 15:1-6, Gen 17:1-10 God's covenant with Abraham
15 After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:
‘Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.’
2 But Abram said, ‘Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?’ 3 And Abram said, ‘You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.’
4 Then the word of the Lord came to him: ‘This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.’ 5 He took him outside and said, ‘Look up at the sky and count the stars – if indeed you can count them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’
6 Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
God is preparing Abram for a special covenant, one which would extend way into the future, which had the nation of Israel in mind, though Abram didn’t know that yet. Abram is heirless. Don’t you love when God just pushes things to the boundaries of the ridiculous, choosing here a childless man with a barren wife to be the father of a great nation?! It’s no wonder Abram queries God’s promise on the grounds of the current impossible situation. He is not the only one to do that. There is a young girl much later on who gets a visit from the angel Gabriel, and replies to his announcement with a “how can this be?” But Abram believed God, and Isaac was born, as did Mary, and she gave birth to Jesus.
The view of God’s night sky in an unpolluted and unlit atmosphere must have been a nightly delight and wonder to the people of old. Could it be that God “created the stars also” just so that he could have that moment with Abram? He is an extravagant God, after all.
Picture it. Abram sits on the ground. God is beside him. “Look up at my stars, Abram. Have you ever counted them? Try it now, if you like. Do you think you’ll ever get near the total? Here’s some help. There are around 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars (give or take a few orders of millions) and the world population is currently around 8,700,000,000. Perhaps God was simply saying that the number of Abram’s descendants would be uncountable.
Abram heard what God said, and he believed him. The figures are mind-blowing, the probability of Sarai becoming pregnant is minute. Abram believed God. That is why God saw Abram as a righteous man.
When did you last stop to stare at the stars?
How many impossible things do you believe in before breakfast?
Father God, you made this universe. I cannot comprehend its size or its content. If this is the work of your hands, then what can you not do? I lay before you things I consider impossible, for you, Lord, are greater than the cosmos. Amen.
A reminder that God owns the space: