“Abram believed the Lord” (Genesis 15:6).
Let me tell you one of my biggest mistakes. A friend from Louisiana emailed me ten years ago urging me to do podcasts. My books had been helpful to him. He suggested I just put them on podcasts. “Networks are begging for material.” I talked to all my other friends and strangers and no one knew what a podcast was. So I didn’t. Dumb!
When my son got a new smart phone, he gave me his old one and set it so I could use it for podcasts. Then I got a docking station. I’m still trying figure out how to mow the lawn while listening—keep in the ear buds where they belong.
I listen to at least one podcast a day. This morning I was listening to Andy Stanley’s podcast. He preached on elementary faith and talked about Abraham. “Abram believed the Lord.” Once every year or two it hits me how enormous that was. Using Stanley’s words, God had to start somewhere so he picked Abram and told him His plans. This was God’s promise:
“I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great…”
Abram responded, “Here’s my problem. Nation? I don’t even have a son. Nation? Counting my closest servants and a cousin or two there are about twelve of us.” A couple of adventures later, God shows up again—“The Lord came to Abram in a vision…” (15:1) and repeats the promise.
“Abram, let’s go outside. The Lord escorts the nomad out to the canopy of space and says, “Count those stars.” An hour later, Abram says, “I keep losing count.” Yahweh says, “Got the count in mind? So shall your offspring be.” No further evidence is offered. No more words from God. “Abram believed the Lord.” Jack the font size up 40 points to capture this. Abram believed the Lord! Based on nothing but the promise—what God said.
Above all else God wants to be believed and trusted. To His friends, God says all He wants from us is: “Believe me. Trust me. Obey me.” I suspect it was easier for Abram when God said, “Believe me, trust me, obey me—let’s make a kid,” (He was all over that!) but more difficult when God said, “Offer Isaac.” But “Abram believed the Lord.” With nothing more to go on than God’s voice in his head.
The conversation in 15:4ff fleshes out some of the questions but not until after Abram believed God. “And God credited to him as righteousness.” Romans 4:2 argues that nothing Abram could do could place him in a righteous relationship with God, but believing God’s word did.
In Romans 4:16-25 tells us what was going on in the Patriarch’s head and how his outrageous faith delivered a son.
“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him. Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had the power to do what He had promised.”
Hard to get my head around that. It seems to me if God says, “Hey, Dude, let’s go walk outside. Got something for you to count—you won’t need your flashlight,” we may want to turn off the TV and walk, look, listen.
What is God saying to you?
Another outrageous! God is always looking for someone who will believe Him. Someone to whom He can reveal solutions and strategies.
And…Dean believed God. Well, except when Bruce suggested podcasts. That was a God-invitation. I just could not think about being strengthened by the very thing (faith) that seemed so impossible.
Abram was a rich person. In all the world, what did he want most? A son. That is where God spoke and offered. What do you want most? Does a Lamborghini count?
Seek wisdom—not just to archive like a flash drive—but to serve your world, solve, enrich, stimulate, encourage, provide supplies where others hunger. Start there! What do others need that stirs your imagination? That might be the intersection where you begin the journey of seeking wisdom to find the very solution and strategy that will birth a nation, tribe.
©2013 D. Dean Benton