Abram did what any sane, intelligent, experienced human would do. He doubted God. Even though God had promised him an heir, he continued to doubt, even challenging God. He had no children of his own – how could he have descendants or even a single heir? He was getting old – how could an old man sire children with a barren old woman? Experience dictates that old men with no children do not become fathers of nations. But God had a plan, and God’s plan included a vision beyond what Abram could at that time see.
God took Abram out on a starry night and showed him just how prolific he would become. Even with an image as simple as the stars, Abram couldn’t see it. Oh, if I had a dollar for every time God showed me a vision for my own future and I resisted the truth of it! Many times God has called me to do something crazy (like going into ministry – can you relate?), and I could even see the vision for how to get there, but I didn’t want to believe it. I have heard many call stories that took years to percolate because the called wouldn’t or couldn’t believe. What might your community of faith be on the verge of doing, but are hesitating because the vision seems unreachable? If it is God’s vision for you, how could you cultivate the courage to move forward?
After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, “Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”
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, “You have given me no offspring, and so a slave born in my house is to be my heir.” But the word of the Lord came to him, “This man shall not be your heir; no one but your very own issue shall be your heir.” He brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.