“Look up at the sky and count the stars–if indeed you can count them.”
When I wrote my book, With Fresh Eyes, I told the story in the chapter, “Stars,” of seeing a star-studded sky the first time after surgery doubled my lifelong vision of less than 20/200 visual acuity. Previously, I was lucky to see the four major stars of the Big Dipper; now, on a dark night, I could see intricate patterns of constellations and the speckled path of the Milky Way. The reality of the stars stood out in stark contrast to my lifelong perceptions that if I couldn’t see the stars, I doubted they existed. I shared in my book this wonderful conclusion: truth is true whether or not I can see it.
But I think, in my enthusiasm for my own story, I missed the point of Abraham’s story. God used the sight of the starry heavens as proof of what He had the power and desire to do for Abraham.
Let’s back up.
Genesis 15 tells the account of how God came to Abraham, promising once again how He would bless him: “I am your shield and very great reward.” (Genesis 15:1)
But Abraham had a problem. He looked at life as it was. He was old. He had no children. Cultural custom said that if a man had no children, the head servant would inherit the wealth. No designated wills in those days!
Abraham had the kind of relationship with God that he felt comfortable in articulating his concerns. “What can you give me?” he asked God. Face the facts. He had no children. Someone else outside his family line would get the inheritance.
Abraham could have so easily thought something like this: “This is an impossible situation, and I don’t see the solution.” But God reassured Abraham by spelling out what he meant. God’s description of His intentions sounds even more impossible. Abraham’s own son, own flesh and blood—not adopted—would become his heir. Then God led Abraham into the night and said, “Look up at the sky.” The star filled sky became an object lesson of God’s promise.
God’s own created cosmos proved His power over the impossible. If God can make 8,000 visible-to-the-naked eye stars and who knows how many beyond that, shouldn’t he be powerful enough to give Abraham a son in his old age? A son, that in generations to come, would create a family dynasty of millions?
If God can make the heavens, he can give Abraham a son. That’s what God can give Abraham.
Here’s the exciting part.
Genesis 15:6 says Abraham believed God. No, not just an “I believe God exists” or even “I believe God is powerful” kind of belief. He embraced the faith that God could and would do what he said. “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” Abraham accepted God’s prophetic promise even though at the time, he could not see how it would be fulfilled.
How can you not look up at the night sky and at least ponder, “How did this get here?”
After my eye surgery, seeing the stars and knowing they stretched far beyond what my naked eye could see convinced me more than anything else of the power, authority, extravagance, creativity, wisdom, and presence of God. Abraham, at that moment, couldn’t see God’s plan to bless him with an heir, but he could see the stars. He could see what God had already done and what was possible for God to do. If God could bring into existence all the starry host, causing an old couple past their prime to have a child was easy. After all, nothing, NOTHING, is too hard for God.
Because, well, because He’s God and He can do anything.
I can envision Abraham standing on a hill looking at those stars, nodding his head and saying, “Yes. Yes. God can do this. This IS possible. And if God says it will happen, I’m good with it.”
Like Abraham, God invites us to accept the promise, trusting that he will be faithful to do all that he said he would do. If God said it, it’s true. It WILL happen.
That’s faith. And according to the rest of the Bible, that’s also righteousness. If you want to get a handle on this “right living” thing, it’s not about following a bunch of rules and regs. Righteousness is accepting and acting on God’s promises because you trust what God has said what He will do. You are doing what is right when you believe and live like you believe that God can and wants to do what seems earthly impossible.
Even in the dark, storm-filled moments of life when waiting gets hard, you trust that His light will break through the clouds and inky dark of night to reveal His best plans for you. You confidently cling to the hope that, in His best time, God will do what He said in His Word that He will do.
What seems impossible to you in your life?
What promises has God made in His Word that apply to what you are facing?
Share your thoughts in the comments or write me.