Summary: Being Honest to God no matter how hard the questions, Opens the door for God’s gracious response.
Passage: Genesis (14:17-24) 15:1-6
When Abram returned from defeating those many kings in war, and after he had met with Melchizedek, and after he had refused to accept the reward money from the king of Sodom, God came to Abram to make him a promise. This aging man had just risked his life to save his nephews life. And he had just turned away all the wealth of Sodom because he didn’t want the king of sinners to say he made the founder of faith rich.
And God comes to Abram, perhaps as he was thinking to himself, "I should have taken the money.... Why didn’t I take the money? Because I knew God wouldn’t have liked it." But I believe that the more Abram thought of it, the more he began to wonder if God was really going to fulfill his earlier promises to make him into a great nation.
In chapter 12 God had first come to Abram and promised him that he would be a great nation, and that through him all the nations of the earth would be blessed. He had promised blessings to those who blessed him, and cursing to those that cursed him. Then again part way through chapter 12, God had again appeared to Abram and told him that the land he was living in would one day be his. Wonderful promises to be sure, but that was years ago, and what had Abram seen of them? Nothing.
Then in chapter 13, after sending Lot away, God again comes to Abram and promises him, that all the land he could see would be his. Now, here he is again, living as a stranger in a strange land. Having just given up a huge cash reward. Having no place to really call HOME, and having no children with whom to share what little blessings he did have.
Now, Just before he begins to despair, here comes God again appearing to him in Chapter 15, and verse 1.
Notice How God met Abraham’s current situation. He had just given up the reward money, and God says to him, "Abram, I AM YOUR SHIELD, I protected you in that battle, and I will protect you in the future. And as for your reward? Your reward will be very great indeed!"
I’m not sure how Abram felt about that promise, but I’m sure it answered the first questions in his mind. But Abram moves on to the real problem that’s been bothering him. He’s an old man, with no children.
His name means "exalted father" and he hasn’t got any children. What does Abram want with great rewards? What does an old man want with financial security when he hasn’t got a child to give it to?
Abram sighed, and bowed his head, and said, "O Lord God, what will you give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus? Since you have given no offspring to me, [a servant] born in my house is my heir."
I wonder if you can note how deeply Abram is hurting, God’s been making promise after promise to him, and he has seen very little of their fulfillment. Abram is getting depressed.
He has plenty of livestock, and plenty of servants, but what he really wants is a son. Where is the son that God had promised him before?
But God is merciful and gentle. God doesn’t chastise Abram for doubting. Neither does he blast Abram for asking the hard question that was on his heart. Instead, he answers Abram’s deep need.
That’s what Abram Got was another promise, but this promise wasn’t like the others. This promise came with an object lesson. God told Abram that an actual SON, not a servant would be his heir, then God took him outside.
Pulling back the tent flap and stepping into the cool night air, Abram was compelled by God to look up into the night sky. There scattered out before him in a dazzling display were thousands and thousands of stars. Some of them bright and clearly seen, many more of them, hazy and far off. Some of them large and bright white, others nearly invisible and milky.
"Count the stars Abram!" That’s how many descendants you’re going to have.
You see, Abram couldn’t count those stars, Abram couldn’t even begin to catalog them. The stars there were numerous, too numerous to count, and in fact we know, that many of them couldn’t even be seen with the naked eye. But for all the stars that Abram saw, this is the lesson that he understood.
Those stars had been laid out there by God. The Lord himself had hung them all in place. In fact, in a time when there was no stars, no heaven and no earth. God had done the impossible and he had spoken and by the very power of his command, he had caused all of these things to begin.