Today's Lectionary Text
Genesis 15:4-5Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” He took him 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 was befriended by God and remained ready to walk with him. The vision within the scripture came as an assurance of God’s presence in Abram’s life, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield,[a]your very great reward”
God was everything Abram desired. God had hidden treasures and surprises for Abram. Almighty God was his shield and reward. That sounds powerful knowledge yet Abram questioned the message within the vision. Abram struggled with his problem of not having a child. We are all like Abram. We also have problems oven though our problems might be different. This Lenten period, we may be challenged by our own type of barrenness, sicknesses, lack of provisions, and see all the evil around the world. We ask, “Why God?” Indeed, we are surrounded by problems from all sides.
The promise of a son brought assurance and certainty to Abram. God had packaged his blessings by giving him a son of his own. This great promise elevated Abram’s faith. From fear to a divine promise of having an heir within his lifetime was overwhelming and yet fulfilling. I am amazed by the switching from fear to belief. What made Abram’s faith so strong? He was advanced in age. How could he believe such a persuasive word understanding his own physical limitations which God had enabled?
The precise answer is that Abram did not look at his physical condition or difficulties of the natural order. He focused vertically on the one who had promised. He felt convinced that he could not count the stars in the sky when God said. “Look up at the sky and count the stars -- if indeed you can count them.” How could he scientifically even do that? Impossible right? What was next after the impossibilities? He developed strong faith which reigned throughout the scriptures. He reached a place where he understood that what was thought impossible with man, was possible with God. He even became “A hero of faith.”
Abram’s eyes and ears did not rest on his problems, but upon the Promiser. When he saw the greatness of God, he believed. So, this Lenten season we read the great sentence, “He believed the Lord, and he credited it to him for righteousness. God is also speaking to us as we prepare for Easter in our daily devotions, fasting, praying receive our prayers, bless our preparations. Remind us to be strong and courageous. He says, “Do not be afraid, I am your shield and reward. Why are you afraid? Just believe the Promise Keeper, Way Maker, and Light in the darkness. Amen.
-Rev. Ever Mudambanuki
Nebraska City First UMC
Prayer for Reflection
O God, help us to listen more and fathom your promises in our difficult circumstances. Teach us to have faith when things look so impossible. Amen.
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