Here’s how Genesis 15 starts:
After these things, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield and your exceedingly great reward.” But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring and a member of my household will be my heir.” And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” … And Abram believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.
After all these things, this word of God came to Abram in a vision: “Don’t be afraid, Abram. I’m your shield. Your reward will be grand!” Abram said, “God, Master, what use are your gifts as long as I’m childless and Eliezer of Damascus is going to inherit everything?” Abram continued, “See, you’ve given me no children, and now a mere house servant is going to get it all.” Then God’s message came: “Don’t worry, he won’t be your heir; a son from your body will be your heir.” … And Abram believed! Believed God! God declared him “Set-right-with-God.”
There is so much we could learn from this passage, but I really just want to point out one thing today. Okay, maybe two, or three…
1.) Abram was honest with God.
God says to Abram, “Don’t be afraid, I’m your reward Abram!”
And Abram essentially responds, “Look God, you’ve already promised me a lot – a great nation with tons of offspring, but I don’t even have one kid. In fact, my wife is unable to have babies. So, while your gifts and rewards might be nice, won’t they be kind of useless if you don’t make good on your promise and my servant Eliezar gets everything?” [fair point.]
Do you ever feel like that? Not so sure about what God has promised you?
I got to wondering… what do I do in that situation?
- Call a best friend.
- Post on social media about it.
- Find a verse about faith.
- Suck it up and force myself to ‘just believe it.’
- Call my mom.
- Complain to my husband.
- Pretend it’s God’s will for me to be miserable in the waiting period.
What did Abram do? He responded to God with honesty… he poured out his heart. He asked God, what the heck is going on?!
2.) God answered him by clarifying the original promise.
I love that God didn’t say, “You know what, Abram. I’m God. Just suck it up, try harder, & believe me already.” He heard Abram’s plea & questioning. Perhaps He knew that Abram wanted to believe God. God is so full of grace for His children. When Abram came to Him, uncertain about how all the details were going to work out, God clarified the promise.
Keep in mind, he’s already appeared to Abram 3 times and given him the promise of a great nation and many offspring. So you’d think Abram wouldn’t be doubting it, or that God would be frustrated with Abram for asking.
I wonder if Abram had started to wonder what God meant when he said, “I shall make of you a great nation… to your offspring I will give this land.” (Gen. 12:2,7) The years are going by, and Abram doesn’t have even 1 son, let alone a whole nation. So he’s starting to wonder. Maybe God meant a figurative nation? If my servant inherits everything and his kids become great, then technically, they are my heirs and my nation.
But God says to Abram, “This other man shall not be your heir. Your very own son shall be your heir.” My Bible has a footnote that the Hebrew here literally translates into, “what will come out of your own loins shall be your heir.”
(Side note: Wouldn’t it be awesome if we still said this? “This is my daughter, Adelyn who came out of my loins.”)
Rather than being frustrated with Abram, God clarified the promise: “Abram, the kid that comes out of your own loins will be your heir.”
How’s that for clarity?
3.) It was good enough for Abram.
Abram asked. God clarified (for the 4th time). And Abram’s response?
He “believed God and God declared him set-right-with-God.”
Now that is a good place to be.
Do you need clarification of a promise from God in your life? Have you tried asking?