God’s promises go above and beyond what we can see in our present.
When God visited Abraham in Genesis 15:1, He called Himself Abraham’s shield and great reward. Yet Abraham was discouraged.
Despite years of following God and repeated promises that their offspring would make a great nation, his wife Sarah remained childless! Abraham had no descendents of His own, and it seemed that a random relative would be his heir.
But God restored Abraham’s faith in an astounding way.
God restored Abraham’s faith by giving him a new vision, a new picture of His promise.
"God took [Abraham] outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness." -Genesis 15:5-6
Through the picture of the stars, God gave Abraham a new picture of His promise. He reminded of His power and His purposes for Abraham's life. God not only reaffirmed His previous promises to Abraham, but added more to them.
And with fresh vision came fresh faith. Abraham believed God’s promise once again.
What's interesting about this story is that in the time it took for God to speak to Abraham, nothing in his life had changed. He was still childless. But Abraham believed that God was trustworthy, and therefore His promise would come to pass, despite all the obstacles that still stood in the way.
Abraham chose to focus on the promise, not the present.
What does this reveal about God?
When Abraham grew discouraged regarding the promises of God, the Lord responded by giving him fresh vision. God doesn’t make us feel guilty or condemned when we waver from faith. Rather, He gives us a fresh vision--a new picture of the future or our identity to motivate us.
What does this tell us about our relationship with God?
God is faithful, and His promises are true. Sometimes it feels like we will never see the fruit of God’s promises to us. As time passes and our present circumstances don’t seem to change, we get discouraged. We begin to question, “Did I really hear you God? What am I doing wrong? Have you forgotten about me, or stopped loving me?” But the character of God does not change -- His word is final. Come to Him, and let Him give you fresh vision for the future, like Abraham. Come to Him, and see how He is shaping your character and growing your faith as you wait.
Abraham chose to focus on the promise, not the present. Time doesn’t pass for us like it does for God. He holds all of eternity in His hand, weaving circumstances together for the ideal time and season for His word to manifest. We can rest assured, knowing that His timing in our lives is indeed perfect. The nature of God is often to multiply the blessing in proportion to our obedience and patience. God first came to Abraham promising a new land and offspring -- He came back offering offspring as numerous as the stars, as well as a new nation. As you are waiting, God may be multiplying your blessing.
How does this passage point to Jesus?
In the covenantal ritual, Abraham had to kill birds as a sacrifice. The fact that these birds had to die is a sign that Abraham’s faith alone was not truly sufficient to bridge the gap between man and God. Even with faith, Abraham was still an imperfect human being. The blood of the birds was a symbol, a temporary measure standing in for the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. That’s why when we believe Jesus was the true sacrifice for our imperfection in faith, we can be reconciled to God. The blood has already been shed, the price has already been paid, and like Abraham, our faith in God through Jesus is credited as righteousness!
“In hope [Abraham] believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations... He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead...or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.” -Romans 4:18-21
“It was faith that made Abraham able to become a father, even though he was too old and Sarah herself could not have children. He trusted God to keep his promise. Though Abraham was practically dead, from this one man came as many descendants as there are stars in the sky, as many as the numberless grains of sand on the seashore.” -Hebrews 11:11-12 (GNT)
When Abraham was growing discouraged regarding the promises of God, the Lord responded by giving him fresh vision. Is there an area of your life in which you are growing discouraged regarding the promises of God? Take some time to pray and ask God to give you fresh vision, a new picture, or a timely word to refresh your faith.
Abraham chose to focus on the promise, not the present. Where is your focus? Do you pay more attention to the limitations of today, or the promise of tomorrow? Regardless, pray and ask God to align you with His perspective.
The nature of God is often to multiply the blessing in proportion to our obedience and patience. Is this hard for you to believe? How have you seen God multiply blessings in your life through patience?
God, I thank you that Your promises are true. Nothing You have said will fail to pass. Give us the faith to focus on the promise, not the present. We know that You always make a way. We know that sometimes You call us to be patient and obey in faith, believing that the promise is in front of us. Help us endure in obedience. I confess there are times that I grow discouraged regarding Your promises. I ask for fresh vision to believe. I ask that You would paint me a new picture of your promises. I ask for clarity regarding your vision and path for my life. Align me with Your perspective. Thank You, Jesus, that You are the reason we can stand in faith boldly in front of the Heavenly Father. Amen.