Starry Sky reading: Genesis 15:5-6
God shows Abram his future. He promises him directly that He will give him a son and that his son shall grow into a nation so large they are as numerous as the stars.
This is the first formal covenant God makes with Abram. He made him a promise when He first called him from Haran but this time there is action on Abram’s part beyond stepping out. God told Abram exactly what to bring to enter into a blood covenant with Him.
Abram brought the animals specified by God, cut them in half and arranged them, then waited. He sat all day. He watched over the sacrifice and drove the birds away that tried to take of it. When night came, God caused him to fall into a deep sleep. During that sleep Abram received the formal promise of God. His descendants would inherit this land he was living in.
Did you notice that God told Abram that He called him out of the land of Ur? This means that Tera’s initially leaving with his family was part of the journey for Abram. I wonder why God didn’t call Abram directly from Ur but had his father ‘bring him part way’ to the place where he would settle. Was Abram not ready at that point? Did he need time to grow in his faith first? Did he need to learn to listen to the voice of the Lord?
Something my aunt commented to me regarding Abram being called is that the voice of the Lord isn’t talked about since Noah. How did Abram recognize it? Did he wonder if he was going crazy? What made him follow that voice?
This covenant God made with Abram follows a very important act in Abram’s life. It follows the rescue of Lot and Abram’s paying a tithe to Melchizedek. Abram could have claimed the spoils of this battle and none would have challenged him. Instead he took only what his men ate. He gave a tenth of the spoils first to Melchizedek for the Lord. Of the rest he kept his hands clean. He had made a promise to the Lord regarding the spoils and he kept it.
Abram was in the right frame of mind to enter into this covenant with God. His heart was in a good place. It wasn’t the end of his struggles or even his sins, but he was ready to take his relationship with God to ‘the next level.’
God didn’t sugar coat his promise either. He told Abram that his descendants were going to be slaves for 400 years. The promise on the other side of that though was glorious! I wonder what I would willingly and knowingly walk through for the promise on the other side. Did the 400 years of bondage TRULY register with Abram? Or was it so far removed that he couldn’t grasp it? It reminds me of how I thought about labor and delivery when I was trying to conceive. The initial joy overshadowed everything that would come later.
This promise was so vivid that each night when Abram looked at the stars he could remember God’s words and feel His presence. I LOVE that kind of experience!
Father God, thank You for Your promises! Thank You that I can trust each one to be fulfilled completely. You NEVER go back on Your word. Thank You also for giving Abram something he could hang onto beyond words. Thank You for pointing it out for me too so I can hold onto it.
I was thinking about the fact that the Hebrew race was numbered MANY times. The stars in the sky can’t be numbered because there are so many of them and you don’t see them all, all the time. Then I realized it is not Abram’s Hebrew family that will be without number but Abram’s spiritual family. There is no way to accurately number those who call You Lord. Only You know that number. I’m glad I’m one of those stars that YOU are counting. I pray there are MANY more to come!