Scripture: Genesis 15: 1-11, 17-21
Key verses: (5-6) “ . . . “look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then God said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed the LORD; and the LORD reckoned it to him as righteousness.”
Reflection: Today’s passage describes the covenant God made with Abram and Sarah. The covenant ceremony is very strange to us, but this ancient tradition was how binding promises were made and sealed between God and humans at that time. Abram and Sarah took a great risk leaving their country and moving out into the larger world. This is the beginning of the history of Israel. Since Abram and Sarah were older and didn’t have any children, what God was promising seemed unlikely. How was an elderly couple going to start a family? Why would they leave all that was familiar, at their age, to go out into the unknown? It was a leap of faith founded in deep human need and faith in God. The LORD promised to be with them every step of the way. But, even with this promise, they had moments of doubt.
When God calls us to do something in the world, the typical response is usually a combination of resistance and willingness. We need reassurance. Yet, there is always that moment when we have to make a decision without knowing for sure what the outcome will be. We can plan and ponder; we can collect information and review the facts, but in the end there is that leap when our faith is tested. It’s scary and exhilarating. Abram and Sarah made this leap based on their trust in God. Of course, if you continue to read the story, there were times along the way when they doubted and tried to speed up God’s agenda. This is human nature. Our fear and worry can get the best of us and we take matters into our own hands. Ultimately, God is faithful, continually showing us the way we are to go. Following God can be a challenge. Life takes many twists and turns and there are times we want to have more control than is possible. But, the LORD is right here with us, promising to be with us no matter what might happen; strengthening us when we are weak and lifting us up when we fail or fall. In Jesus Christ, God has made a promise to us as binding as the one God made to Abram and Sarah. The LORD we meet in the Old Testament is the same God we meet in Jesus. Remember this when the doubts come and the way isn’t clear. “Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield . . .” These same words are offered to us, as we move out into world offering hope and mercy to all people.
Prayer: O Lord God, we are grateful for your patience with us. You remain close when we are hesitant and afraid. Thank you for your call to action and your steadfast love that will sustain us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].