Genesis 15:1-6 paints a general picture of how God desires to relate to us … and at first glance, it may not seem all that attractive. But as we reflect on it, we’ll realize that it frees us to live lives directed by a divine purpose.
Here’s the text in the New Living Translation:
“Some time later, the Lord spoke to Abraham in a vision and said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Abraham, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.’
But Abraham replied, ‘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.’
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 Abraham 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!’
And Abraham believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.”
As I ruminated on these verse and used my imagination to pretend that I was Abraham hearing these words from God, I came away a little bit frustrated. I reacted this way because God wasn’t answering all the questions Abraham had/I would have had. God wasn’t filling in the blanks. In fact, it seems that He was intentionally leaving some basic details out.
It seems to me that God could have immediately clarified the issue for Abraham. He could have elaborated on a step by step process in which Abraham could analyze God’s plan and then ask appropriate questions. Then, there would be no question in Abraham’s mind what the plan was and whether or not it would work.
Yet, God didn’t get specific with Abraham. He was leaving out some major components of the big picture (much like He did when He called Abraham to leave his home in Ur. God simply told him to start heading west and He would tell him when to stop. Why not simply name the country?)
God withheld pertinent information from Abraham because of the principle imbedded in verse 6. “And Abraham believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.” This was what it was all about. It’s as if throughout all of these encounters between God and Abraham, God was essentially asking, “Abraham, do you trust me?”
As Kim and I raise our 3 boys, we have the task of taking three very dependent young men and helping them to grow into independent men. If they hit their late teen years and are still completely dependant upon Kim and me for everything, we will have a very clear sense of failure. We want them to be able to spread their wings and fly, to be able to take life by the horns. They will need to become independent of us to do that.
Yet, as our Heavenly Father relates to us, He sees His task as being the complete opposite. He wants to take independent individuals who rely only upon themselves and make them more dependent upon Him. He wants us to trust Him, to follow Him, to rely upon Him.
This dependence will be characterized by such things as:
- Lack of trust in our limited abilities, insight, etc.
- Growing in fellowship with God and knowing His desires.
- Trusting that He knows what is best … and then obeying wholeheartedly.
Name some specific ways in which you have recently shown that you wholeheartedly trust the Lord. If the list is too short, why not begin compiling a new list today?