NUMBER THE STARS
I Am Your Shield
There are times that success is followed by depression and disappointment. Instead of seeing what God has done and is doing, we can only see the things he has yet to accomplish. Abram had just attacked superior forces and conquered kings, and it may be that fear and regret are setting in as Abram reflects on what he has done. God comes to comfort Abram and appears to him in a vision. The Lord declares that he is Abram's shield and that his reward would be great. However, these words lead to complaining and not praise. It had been ten years, and there was still no true heir. Abram was impatient and sought answers. Patience and waiting are a difficult place to reside. God treats Abram with great tenderness, and he brings him outside with a view of the night sky. Abram is invited to count the vast stars that twinkle and dance against the evening sky. God assures Abram that this would be the reality of his offspring as well and Abram believes God who counted it to him as righteousness. The righteous will live by faith, and without faith, no one can please God. Salvation comes by grace through faith. The still childless patriarch believes that God is faithful and true. God recounts Abram's journey this far. He sought Abram and called him out of Ur of the Chaldeans. God will now give him a sign and seal of his covenant.
The Covenant-Keeping God
God enters into a covenant with Abram. God tells Abram to bring a heifer, a she-goat, and a ram, each of three years old, also a turtledove and a young pigeon. These sacrifices were divided, and the parties were expected to pass between them to show that there would be no division. It seems that Abram was there for some time and had to defend the carcasses against would-be scavengers. The sun began to set, and Abram fell into a deep sleep accompanied by great darkness. God begins to open the future to Abram explaining the circumstances that would accompany the following generations and the affliction that they would endure. His offspring would be servants and suffer for four-hundred years. When the iniquity of the inhabitants of Canaan was complete, his people would return, and he would go to his fathers in peace.
The Promises Of God Are True
In the darkness, a smoking fire pot and a torch appeared. These lights passed between the pieces. God made his covenant with Abram as light enters darkness and the God who declares the beginning from the end accomplishes what only he can and displays his glory. God will keep the covenant because man is unfaithful and he cannot save himself. God gives the specifics concerning the boundaries of the land Abram's offspring would be given. Everything God says will come to pass, and he alone remains faithful. God's faithfulness is an ongoing theme in the story.
Things To Consider:
- Why is it important to remember that God is our shield and our reward?
- Why do we question God's timing so often?
- How are you encouraged by God's patience?
- Are you walking in faith?
- How do you know?
- Why are history lessons important?
- Why is it essential for God to keep his covenants?
- How do you think the revelation of God was received during 400 tears of affliction?
- Why does God judge the nation that they serve?
- What is God's covenant with you in Jesus?
- How does this elevate your heart's affections?