Greetings in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. (John 15:7-8)
One day Terah took his son Abram, his daughter-in-law Sarai (his son Abram’s wife), and his grandson Lot (his son Haran’s child) and moved away from Ur of the Chaldeans. He was headed for the land of Canaan, but they stopped at Haran in the middle of the journey and settled there. Terah lived, in fact, till his death in Haran, and Abram became the head of the household.
The LORD had appeared to Abram and said, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:1-3)
Upon hearing God’s voice and his blessing, he led the whole family and left Haran to the Canaan, the promised land. After a long journey, he arrived in Canaan. A severe famine struck the land of Canaan, which forced Abram to go down to Egypt, where he lived as a foreigner. In Egypt, his life was not easy. However, God protected him. When they left Egypt, he actually accumulated more wealth than when he entered Egypt with his family. God blessed him, who promised to Abram even during the duration that he lived as a foreigner in the foreign land.
On the way back to Canaan, there was a fight between the servants of Abram and the servants of Lot, his nephew. Abram decided to let Lot, his family, servants, and belongings go to make him independent. Abram, who was generous in his heart, let Lot choose his land first, and then Abram chose his own. Lot picked a fertile plain of the Jordan Valley, which was good to his eyes (and of course, it must have been good to the eyes of Abram too). Then Abram took his family and moved in the opposite direction. God saw his generosity toward his nephew, and appeared to Abram. God blessed Abram, “Look as far as you can see in every direction—north and south, east and west. I am giving all this land, as far as you can see, to you and your descendants as a permanent possession. And I will give you so many descendants that, like the dust of the earth, they cannot be counted! Go and walk through the land in every direction, for I am giving it to you.” (Genesis 13:14b-17)
Lot went to the land of his choice, and settled near Sodom, where the people were extremely wicked and constantly sinned against God. About the time when Lot moved in, a war broke out in the region. The king of Sodom fled, and the conquerors invaded the city of Sodom, and Lot was became captive. Lot asked help to Abram. Abram brought his own people and rescued Lot, his family and all of his possessions. Again, Abram let Lot, his family and his possessions, go in their way. Abram proved again his generous heart toward his nephew.
Time passed. God appeared to Abram again. At that time, Abram asked “O Sovereign LORD, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son? Since you’ve given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. You have given me no descendants of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir.” (Genesis 15:2-3)
Then the LORD said to him, “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.” Then the LORD took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!” (Genesis 15:4-5)
And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith. (Genesis 15:5)
God loved Abram, who was generous to his nephew (not just once, but he proved again and again), and God came to Abram again. Abram could not be silent any more. With courage, Abram asked how God’s blessing would be fulfilled because he had no son. Abram waited and waited, but there was no baby, because his wife, Sarai, could not have a baby. As we all know, Abram, was so much faithful to God, and followed exactly what was told by God. He left his home land, and moved in the promised land. Then he again moved to Egypt, and lived as a foreigner. His life was not easy, but he was faithful to God throughout his difficult journey of his life. How could he endure the hardships in his life? Abram truly believed God’s blessing: “I will give the land to your descendants as a permanent possession, and I will give you so many descendants that, like the dust of the earth.” However, he had no son. He was not able to reconcile two completely contradicting facts: no son and God’s blessing – his descendants would be numerous and would possess the promised land forever. Abram struggled, and finally he decided to make sense out of God’s promise with his own wisdom. He devised his own solution – designating his head servant as his heir. Abram proposed his solution to God.
Surely, Abram believe God’s promise. He would have never given up. Abram searched everywhere to see even a single slightest hint that God’s promise was on track as God promised. However, all of his searches became futile. Although he believed, he was in agony because he could not see any logical evidence. His heart was divided, and he could not be silent but directly ask to God.
How many times have we had this kind of waiting, and being disappointed? In our eyes, nothing is moving toward God’s promise. We could not see even a slightest glimpse of sign that God’s promise would be soon fulfilled. We searched and search. We even stretched our imaginations by connecting dots that might give us a hint of God’s hand moving toward His promise. But, none was found. Then what was our response?
Abram, when he got into this situation, essentially responded: “Yes, I hold tight on your promise, and waited and waited long time. However, nothing has happened. In the mean time, I had to spend sleepless nights while giving lots of thoughts about your promise and how your promise would be fulfilled in my life. Finally, I’ve got an idea that would be really ends this agony of waiting and not seeing anything close to God’s promise. That is, I have devised a workable solution, and it is really rationale and logical. I am sure this solution will work out because every step by step I have carefully examined while bouncing off against all possible scenarios. This solution is bullet-proof. Now I am fully convinced that this solution will exactly accomplish God’s promise. God, here is my solution: I will make my best, faithful, capable and smart head-servant as my heir. He will surely make your promise come true.“ How God would have felt upon hearing Abram’s suggestion?
God saw Abram’s pain and agony in his heart. God lovingly responded – “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.” Then God reassured Abram by repeating His promise: “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!” (Genesis 15:4-5)
His loving and encouraging voice from God made Abram turned around. Abram regained his faith and believed God again. God was pleased and God counted him as righteous because he believed.
Was Abram successful? He was not. He tried his best, but he miserably failed before God. When he was devising his own solution for God’s promise, he thought that he did God’s work, but it was not what God wanted nor planned to do. Even so God did not blame Abram for lack of his faith in God and not completely trusting God’s promise. Instead, God hold his hand and lifted him up again. God, instead, made Abram look up the sky, and asked him to count the stars. This was the love of God. God love Abram whether he was faithfully in God or go astray into his own way following his own wisdom. God continuously guided Abram no matter how he responded to His promise God was always faithful because not like Abram (and us, any human beings) God does not have a rotating shadow.
The same God is with us and loves us. Most of us have much weaker in faith than Abram. We all remember we have questioned God’s promise because we could not see any hints about God’s promise with our own eyes. Of course, we waited, but in the end, we devised our own solution to make out God’s promise be realized. We missed the target again and again, and this is our offense to God. How many times have we offended God? Even so God has never changed His heart and love toward us. He always loves and is with us as God did to Abram. God exactly knows our own weaknesses and struggles. This is why we can lean on God. God always wants us to come, who is Our True and Ever-Loving Father. His arms are always open and his hands are stretched out fully to grab us. Just come to God, and He will put us in His bosom. Therefore we can sing and praise God — Praise God, and rejoice in Him because God is our Lord and our strength!
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)