Jump Start # 2624
Genesis 15:5 “And He took him outside and said, ‘Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.’ And He said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’”
Our verse today contains several He and him pronouns. Someone is talking to someone. It is important to know who is in this conversation. The “He” is God. The “him” is Abraham. God is revealing the promise to Abraham of a great nation. He is illustrating how numerous Abraham’s family tree would be.
Something happened behind the scenes here that is not of huge importance, but it reveals the knowledge, power and ways of our Lord. He took him outside, is how our verse begins. God took Abraham outside. They were inside Abraham’s tent and now they go out. God tells Abraham to look skyward and count the stars. That’s how many descendants there would be.
What would have happened if Abraham looked up but it was a cloudy night, no stars could be seen? Or, worse, what if it was a rainy night? God’s whole illustration was based upon having a clear night so the stars could be seen. What if there were some nearby lights and only a couple of stars could be seen? For this illustration to work, God knew or God made a clear night so numerous stars could be seen.
This is similar to the Lord’s illustration about prayer. “Give us this day our daily bread,” is what the Lord told the disciples to pray. Yet, in order for you and I to have bread to eat today, months ago, farmers were planting wheat. The season was productive so the wheat could be harvested. A drought, or too much rain, or bugs, or even a fire, could have destroyed the crop and without that, there would have been no daily bread. The farmer planted and harvested months ago. The grain was sold in the market place. Someone worked it up and baked the bread. And, today we have our daily bread. For you and I, it also means a factory, production lines, delivery trucks, grocery stores, stock people and check out people. Lots of steps to get to our daily bread. The Lord didn’t say anything about all those other steps. Just pray to God for your daily bread. This shows that God was already thinking about you before you even prayed. Months ago God was putting things together for you to have bread today.
Sometimes we can be so into the moment that we forget about all the steps and all the time it took to make things available for today. And, with that, these two Biblical illustrations shows us that God is doing things for us without us even realizing that. God is moving clouds, growing wheat, providing rain, so that you and I can receive His blessings. Abraham looked upward and the sky was full of stars. Lucky night or the hands of God?
The prophet Habakkuk wondered aloud why God wasn’t doing anything. Violence and injustice was filling the air. However, God was doing things. He didn’t know it, see it or realize it. Far away God was shaping up a nation to come and punish Judah. The war clouds were not rising yet and the prophet felt that God was inactive, but that was far from the truth. And, so it is in our lives. We pray and we don’t see anything. We wonder why things continue as they are. We even begin to think that God isn’t doing much, at least, not much for our lives. But miles away, God may very well be bringing people or events into our lives to help us in our spiritual journey with Him.
Not only does God do things that we are not aware of, there are things that He doesn’t tell us. He doesn’t tell us in advance when and how He will answer our prayers. He doesn’t announce that there are people intersecting our lives that He has brought together for us. We look at a lot of these things as simply life. But if we really understood the activity of God behind the scenes and the involvement of God in our lives, we would be amazed. Days when we feel that we are alone, God is there. Days when we really need help, someone reaches our to us. Just a coincidence? Someone just being friendly? Or, the hands of God in our lives?
God took Abraham outside and told him to look up. Abraham could see the stars. Maybe if you and I looked up more, we’d see the promises of God and not the problems of the world.
Our God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there is nothing my God cannot do. That includes making sure the stars are visible on a night He takes us out to see His promises.