More Than the Stars

Genesis 15:1-6 He (the Lord) took him outside and said, ‘Look at the heavens and count the stars–if indeed you can count them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’ Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” 

Astronomers tell us that there are over 200 billion billion stars in the universe. Not all of them are visible to the naked eye. If every living soul on earth were to count 50 billion of them, they still wouldn’t all be counted.

God’s point to Abram was clear. He had more descendants planned for Abram than he could even count. And Abram had been worried about getting just one. Sometimes God has plans to make us an oak tree when we had our sights set on becoming a radish. God’s promises assure us of his protection now, and they assure us that the care we receive is generous.

God’s promises had an interesting effect on Abram. They not only settled the situation at hand. They assured Abram of God’s love forever. “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.”

It wasn’t natural for Abram to believe God. The visible evidence would have led him in the opposite direction. Abram was an old man, approaching 85 years old. It had been ten years since God first promised him children. TEN YEARS! But God’s promises have the power to change people. The word for “believe” here is the same word from which we get our word “Amen.” When we finish our prayers, we say “Amen,” “Yes, I believe this,” “This is the way it really is.” God’s promises change us. They give us the faith to respond, “Yes. What God says is true.”

More important than anything Abram had to say was what God had to say about Abram. God credited him with righteousness. God considered Abram a righteous man, free from sin, though Abram would still be plagued with doubts from time to time, though Abram would still be guilty of some glaring sins.

Among all the things Abram received by trusting God’s promises, the greatest is certainly that God forgave his sins. He considered him righteous. In this way he brought Abram close to himself in relationship of trust and love. This was not due to Abram’s great virtue. It was a gift Abram received because his great descendant Jesus Christ gave his life for the sins of the world.

THAT is the promise that not only assures us of God’s protection now. It assures us of his love forever. Nothing stands between us and God anymore. He accepts us as his very own. When we have problems, this promise puts it all in perspective. For Jesus’ sake God has removed all our sins. No matter what happens in this life, we will always be his own, and he will always be ours. We don’t need to be afraid. Our blessings outnumber the stars in the sky.

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