So Shall It Be

“After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: ‘Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great…’ And he brought him outside and said, ‘Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them. So shall your offspring be… Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation.” Genesis 15:1,5,13-14,16

God’s covenant promise to Abram was powerful, revealing not only amazing things He would do for this sojourner, but the amazing God He was. That the LORD was his shield and very great reward was arresting enough, but how He would be? Unimaginable! At age 75 this childless man would have numberless descendants? They would be afflicted for 400 years on a foreign land, then returned with great bounty? Because Abram obeyed and worshiped and walked with and knew his LORD, it would be so! “He believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.”  (Genesis 15:6)

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Do I as readily take God at His word? Do I believe His promises for what seems to me impossible– a softened heart or changed attitude, love for the unloveable, restored relationships, good to be worked out of today’s tragedy or disaster, ability to accomplish all He requires, sufficient strength for the day’s calling? Do I trust that exile from loved ones, afflictions of persecution or chronic pain or sorrow, can be used by God over time to bring new wealth of maturity and understanding, an increase in faith, a bounty of growth and grace I would not otherwise know? (Abraham would wait another 25 years before Isaac was born.) (Ezekiel 36:26; Joel 2:25; Zechariah 10:6,8-10; Romans 8:28; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Philippians 4:13,19; James 1:5; 1 Peter 5:10)

Our God orders everything present and future, and though He does not always reveal what is to come, we can rely on Him to act consistently with His character and to fulfill His promises. Seeds of doubt sprout and grow when we get stuck gazing at the mire of impossibilities; seeds of faith take root and blossom when we look up at the Maker and Numberer of the stars, and believe Him. He is trustworthy and true. (Psalm 147:4)

Lord, the sum of Your word is true; may I, like Abram, always believe it and live my days accordingly. May all I do and say give evidence that I know for sure You are God, and that what You say, so shall it be. (Psalm 119:160)

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