Scripture for reflection: Genesis Chapter 15
“Some time later, the Lord spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.” Genesis 15:1
We live in a crazy and chaotic world that is full of unpredictable changes. We are fearful of change but change is the catalyst to grow our faith and our love for God. The story of Abraham reveals the humbling truth that our faith is imperfect but God’s faithfulness is perfect. His promises of everlasting love and faithfulness are rooted in the honor of His name.1 Abraham was called by God to leave his father’s family and relatives in Haran at the age of seventy five years to journey to Canaan. God had promised Abraham that he would be famous and be a blessing to all the families of the earth.2 This promise of God has been fulfilled for Abraham is the father of faith of the Jews, the Muslims and the Christians. And the history of the Jewish nation which began with the story of Abraham culminated in the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ:
“He has helped his servant Israel and remembered to be merciful. For He made this promise to our ancestors, to Abraham and his children forever.”3
The ups and downs of the Jewish people provide us with a glimpse of God’s wonderful Story Of Salvation – God will not abandon the people He has chosen as His own because this would dishonor His great name.4 We have been infected by sin and live in a fallen world that is under the dominion of evil. The biblical stories are a dramatic revelation of the incredible plan of God to redeem mankind from sin, to renew the earth and to restore the kingdom of God on earth.
God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.5 This is seen in the story of God’s covenant with Abraham in Genesis, chapter 15. Abraham was asked to make a sacrifice comprising of a heifer, goat, ram, turtledove and a pigeon when he asked God for a confirmation that God will be giving him the land of Canaan. While waiting for God to consume the sacrifice, he fell into a deep sleep and encountered a terrifying darkness. He was given a peek into the future of the Jews – a story of oppression as slaves for 400 years in a foreign land. They would only return to the Promised Land after four generations. God then confirmed the covenant through a smoking firepot and a flaming pot passing between the halves of the carcasses.6 This is to remind us that God is God of the past, present and future.
Earlier, Abraham had successfully rescued Lot from King Kedorlaomer and his allies. Perhaps he was struggling with fears of retribution from King Kedorlaomer when the Lord spoke to him in a vision:
“Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.”7
The life of Abraham is the story of a flawed and fallible human being with an imperfect faith seeking to trust the perfect faithfulness of God. God knows how weak and fragile our human faith can be. God is always waiting to turn our fears and doubts into faith and convictions. When life seems impossible, we can turn to God with a faith as small as a mustard seed to find strength and endurance in the storms of life.
Impossible situations are times to experience the joy and peace of a faith rooted in the perfect faithfulness of God. It is in such times that we see the fruit of our faithful practice of spiritual disciplines to be still in the presence of God.8 Trials and tribulations become opportunities for great joy as we grow in endurance and wisdom.9
Jesus came to bring the kingdom of heaven to earth. We are the true children of Abraham and heirs of God’s kingdom when we belong to Christ.10 Jesus taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” to remind us of our vision and mission as the children of God’s Promise. Through success and sorrow, in our struggles and the storms of life, we are to remember that God’s faithfulness is perfect.
God’s promises are forever. The chaos in the world beckons us to be still and to acknowledge the sovereignty of God. We are tempted to feel that God is absent or that God has forgotten. But God scatters the proud and pull strong rulers from their thrones. He honors the humble and feeds the hungry.11 In times of uncertainty, we have the confident hope that the Holy Spirit is leading us into the unknown future when Jesus is enthroned in our hearts as our Servant King.
We are not called to be successful but to journey through life with growing trust in the perfect faithfulness of God’s everlasting love. It is our failures that awaken us to our need for God’s provision, pardon and protection so that we can be God’s faithful and loving ambassadors of the Kingdom of Heaven. Let us live our lives in a way that proves we belong to God and are living in His kingdom for His glory12 as we declare:
“Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see:
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!”13
Lord, my faith is weak and imperfect. Help me to live as Your child of Promise by putting my trust in Your perfect faithfulness.
- What fears do I encounter when I am successful in life?
- What doubts do I face in times of suffering and sorrow?
- How can I practice being still in God’s presence so that Christ will be my anchor in the storms of life?
Song of Praise
Great Is Thy Faithfulness
- Psalms 138:2, NLT
- Genesis 12:1-3
- Luke 1:54-55, NLT
- 1 Samuel 12:22
- Isaiah 55:8
- Genesis 15: 7-17
- Genesis 14:14-15:1
- Psalms 46:10
- James 1:2-4
- Galatians 3:29, NLT
- Luke 1:51-53
- 1 Thessalonians 2:12. GW
- Great Is Thy Faithfulness, Thomas O. Chisholm