Summary: Just like Abram, all we need to do is simply believe and trust in God. Yes, we can be confident in the times of uncertainty.
We have been talking about having confidence during certain times in our lives--confidence when fear surrounds us, and confidence during conflicting times. Today I want to look at being confident in times of uncertainty. If anyone knows about uncertainty, it's our world today. You all know what I'm talking about.
The year 2020 started out pleasantly enough. Everything seemed to be going along as usual. But it became the most unsettling year, the year of uncertainty. It seemed our entire world came to a halt. Theaters, professional sporting arenas, schools, shopping malls, churches, restaurants, and even hair salons were among the many businesses that had to close their doors for a season due to the covid-19 pandemic.
As the number of positive cases continued to increase across the country, so did the spread of skepticism and division. The news we heard one day seemed to conflict with the news from the day before. It was hard to know what to believe or what would happen next. On top of the deadly virus, we saw 20/20 at political and racial tensions as well.
The year 2020 created the perfect storm of uncertainty. When things in life seem to be unstable, how do we respond? How can we find confidence when we don't know what is going to happen the next day. Oh, if only our faith were strong enough to overcome the uncertainty of it all. Abram was a man of faith, but that faith didn’t prevent him from experiencing his own season of uncertainty. Let's see if we can learn some lessons from Abram today on having confidence during the times of uncertainty.
Since the time God first called Abram and promised him land, offspring, and blessing, he had encountered a lot. Abram had endured a trip to Egypt to escape a famine, and then was kicked out of Egypt by pharaoh. He had successfully managed relationship tension with his nephew, Lot, and he had defeated invading kings. Still, all of this didn't seem to be leading to the promises God gave Abram. God came to Abram again, this time in a vision. Today we will be using Genesis chapter 15.
Genesis 15:1-5 – “After these events, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield; your reward will be very great.
2 But Abram said, “Lord God, what can you give me, since I am childless and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 Abram continued, “Look, you have given me no offspring, so a slave born in my house will be my heir.”
4 Now the word of the Lord came to him: “This one will not be your heir; instead, one who comes from your own body will be your heir.” 5 He took him outside and said, “Look at the sky and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “Your offspring will be that numerous.”
We are a lot like Abram. When we become overwhelmed with worry, we can foolishly try to attempt to force the hand of God, which never works. Sadly, that's what Abram did. Seeing only the situation in front of him, Abram said, “Lord God, what can you give me, since I am childless and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus."
You see, Abram hadn't yet received the heir that God had promised, so he was probably considering a practice that was common in that day—an adoption to ensure that he would have an heir. But whether or not Abram was going to adopt Eliezer, Abram assumed this servant would inherit all he had. But Abram’s assumption wasn't What God had planned to fulfil His promise.
Uncertainty has a way of making us forgetful. That seemed to be the case here with Abram. God corrected Abram and reminded him of His promise. But notice that God expanded His promise. Earlier, God had promised Abram, “I will make you into a great nation.” Now, he stretched the promise with an impossible math problem to show just how great the nation would be that Abram would father.
I can just picture Abram squinting his eyes and trying to do the impossible when God told him, “Look at the sky and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Of course, even counting the stars would miss the point. God wanted Abram to realize that, in spite of how circumstances seemed at the moment, he would have so many descendants, a great nation, that they couldn't all be counted. Abram could not count them, but God could. And even more so, God would know each one of them by name. That is yet another great promise from God. I am amazed that God knows my name.